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The Flamenco Guitar Golpeador (or Pickguard)

The Golpeador is used in flamenco guitar to protect your instrument when using techniques such as the golpe. Let's take a brief look...

by Michael & Rafael

Rafael has taught and performed flamenco guitar for over 40 years, including many famous stars – from EOB (Radiohead) to Jack Peñate (recorded with Adele).

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A golpeador (in the context of flamenco guitar) is a protective plate or pickguard that is placed on the guitar's soundboard, specifically under the soundhole. Its primary purpose is to protect the guitar's wooden top from damage caused by the rhythmic tapping, or "golpe," that is an integral part of flamenco guitar playing. The golpe is often used in palos such as the buleria, which without protection, would damage a wooden guitar. For an example, see Rafael playing below...

Having a golpeador is often a major difference between the build of a flamenco guitar and a classical guitar.

The guard is typically made of materials like plastic or transparent material to minimize interference with the guitar's tone while providing the necessary protection. It helps prolong the life of the guitar and maintain its resonance despite the percussive playing style of flamenco music.

{learn-flamenco} The choice of material can affect both the protection it offers and the guitar's tone. Clear plastic is popular for minimal tonal interference, while traditional materials like tortoiseshell may have a unique aesthetic, as used by some 'popular' guitarists.

Size and Shape: Golpeadores come in different shapes and sizes. Ensure the golpeador you choose is suitable for the size and shape of your guitar's soundboard. It should cover the area where you usually perform the golpe without obstructing the soundhole.

Adhesive Type: Golpeadores are typically attached to the guitar's top using adhesive. Consider the type of adhesive used and its strength. Some golpeadores come with self-adhesive backing, making installation easier. Ensure that the adhesive won't damage your guitar's finish over time.

Aesthetics: The golpeador is also a visual element of your guitar. Choose one that complements your guitar's overall look and style. Some golpeadores are transparent, allowing the wood grain to show through, while others may have decorative designs.

Thickness: The thickness of the golpeador can influence the sound of your guitar. Thicker golpeadores may have a more noticeable impact on tone, so consider how much tonal alteration you're comfortable with.

Tired of playing the same chords over and over?

A new course for flamenco guitar beginners. Join thousands of other students taught by Rafael Lloyd Iglesias.