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Vincente Amigo's flamenco guitar recordings - How can I get that sound?
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GuitarRuss
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26th June 2007
Old 26th June 2007
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Question Vincente Amigo's flamenco guitar recordings - How can I get that sound?

I've been listening to "De Mi Corazon al Aire" and I have to say the guitar is absolutely astounding in terms of playing, touch, timing, musicality, emotion and the recording captures the nuances of his guitar and tone so well. I much prefer his style, songwriting and recordings to Paco De Lucia's. If you haven't heard him, check it out - in my opinion his playing is breathtaking.

A lot of Flamenco guitar recordings sound really dry and boring to me. The purist thing just doesn't do it for me. If you take a flamenco guitar into a room with a nice wood floor and some reflective surfaces it sounds amazing. A lot of recordings sound like the session was recorded inside a giant pillow.

My questions are:

A.) Does anyone know how this album was recorded? What mics, positioning, reverb, etc. Also, which guitar was he playing at this time - he's got quite a few.

B.) Any recommendations for getting something close to his recorded sound with mics under $1000?

Please don't tell me, "It's all in the hands..." because I've heard other recordings of this same player that sound flat to me. The recording captures every detail of what he does, I just want the same dimensionality clarity and space to my recordings. Of course, his style is in his hands - but the recording of it, isn't.

Thanks
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26th June 2007
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Check out some of Miroslav Tadik's recordings on the MA label. He has one done in a stone church in Yugoslavia and it's very alive. Some are done in a wooden concert hall.

I have done very good nylon string recordings in small pillowy places before. The trick is to not pick up the recording space if it sucks. Close micing with omni's can help in that regard.

In those situations the concert hall patches on my 224XL really help sell the recording's sense of space.

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26th June 2007
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Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Check out some of Miroslav Tadik's recordings on the MA label. He has one done in a stone church in Yugoslavia and it's very alive. Some are done in a wooden concert hall.

I have done very good nylon string recordings in small pillowy places before. The trick is to not pick up the recording space if it sucks. Close micing with omni's can help in that regard.

In those situations the concert hall patches on my 224XL really help sell the recording's sense of space.

Jim Williams
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I'll have to check those out. I love the sound of the acoustic spaces that were created to be an extension of an instrument/s not an afterthought. Right now I'm recording in a medium sized concrete room with a wood floor and a large window. I have a few bookshelves and such that cut out just enough reflections and I'm surprised by how good the guitars sound in the room. A well-made guitar, played properly, is very dimensional and that seems to be the first thing lost. My old classical teacher played me both of his CDs that were recorded at fairly expensive studios and the sound was extremely 2-D and boring despite the fact that his guitars and playing were first rate.

What mics and techniques do you use for Nylon String? Blumlein, XY, ortf, MS?
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26th June 2007
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I'll have to check those out. I love the sound of the acoustic spaces that were created to be an extension of an instrument/s not an afterthought. Right now I'm recording in a medium sized concrete room with a wood floor and a large window. I have a few bookshelves and such that cut out just enough reflections and I'm surprised by how good the guitars sound in the room. A well-made guitar, played properly, is very dimensional and that seems to be the first thing lost. My old classical teacher played me both of his CDs that were recorded at fairly expensive studios and the sound was extremely 2-D and boring despite the fact that his guitars and playing were first rate.

What mics and techniques do you use for Nylon String? Blumlein, XY, ortf, MS?
Spaced omni's. Position is determined by the player, instument, room. No rules, just make it right. Experiment.

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26th June 2007
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Well, the guitar can make a big difference.

I'm not familiar with the recording you mention, but if you have a great room to record in, a pair of flat SDC's is usually the way to go (just like they probably used in the pillow recordings). The trick is to move them back a bit and play with the positioning in the room.

Personally, I like the Earthworks mics, but you might find a pair of AKG D-200's second hand (these are the most phenominal dynamic mic's I've ever used). Other suspects are the offerings from DPA, Gefell, and AKG. On the lower-end new, Oktava mk-012 and Shure SM-81 are worth a try.




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26th June 2007
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Originally Posted by GuitarRuss View Post
I've been listening to "De Mi Corazon al Aire" and I have to say the guitar is absolutely astounding in terms of playing, touch, timing, musicality, emotion and the recording captures the nuances of his guitar and tone so well. I much prefer his style, songwriting and recordings to Paco De Lucia's. If you haven't heard him, check it out - in my opinion his playing is breathtaking.

A lot of Flamenco guitar recordings sound really dry and boring to me. The purist thing just doesn't do it for me. If you take a flamenco guitar into a room with a nice wood floor and some reflective surfaces it sounds amazing. A lot of recordings sound like the session was recorded inside a giant pillow.

My questions are:

A.) Does anyone know how this album was recorded? What mics, positioning, reverb, etc. Also, which guitar was he playing at this time - he's got quite a few.

B.) Any recommendations for getting something close to his recorded sound with mics under $1000?

Please don't tell me, "It's all in the hands..." because I've heard other recordings of this same player that sound flat to me. The recording captures every detail of what he does, I just want the same dimensionality clarity and space to my recordings. Of course, his style is in his hands - but the recording of it, isn't.

Thanks

Hey Guitaruss. Never thought I'd find another Vicente fan on here. I'm a huge fan of his... (as well as a fan of Paco, Canizares, Tomatito, not to mention Camaron and Duquende, etc.) But Vicente is in a class all by himself (especially when it comes to the way his records sound). He is a true maestro, in every sense of the word. I've been friends with Paco for 20+ years as well... No need to state the obvious about how great he is also.

I actually don't have any direct knowledge of how Vicente records his guitars. Sorry... But being a Flamenco guitarist myself (amongst other things), I've been around Flamenco recording for a while. Vicente plays a Manuel Reyes guitar (made of Cypress), with D'Addario strings. Recording-wise, I think you can't go wrong with an AKG 451 (pointed at the 12th fret), through a Neve 1073 (or 1084), through Apogee converters. Personally, I practically never compress a Flamenco guitar... (maybe just a bit of limiting, if necessary). And maybe add a bit of Lexicon Rich Plate would sound great on that as well. Obviously, the room you're in will have a great impact on the sound as well.

Wish I could help more. Good luck!
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27th June 2007
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Hey Guitaruss. Never thought I'd find another Vicente fan on here. I'm a huge fan of his... (as well as a fan of Paco, Canizares, Tomatito, not to mention Camaron and Duquende, etc.) But Vicente is in a class all by himself (especially when it comes to the way his records sound). He is a true maestro, in every sense of the word. I've been friends with Paco for 20+ years as well... No need to state the obvious about how great he is also.

I actually don't have any direct knowledge of how Vicente records his guitars. Sorry... But being a Flamenco guitarist myself (amongst other things), I've been around Flamenco recording for a while. Vicente plays a Manuel Reyes guitar (made of Cypress), with D'Addario strings. Recording-wise, I think you can't go wrong with an AKG 451 (pointed at the 12th fret), through a Neve 1073 (or 1084), through Apogee converters. Personally, I practically never compress a Flamenco guitar... (maybe just a bit of limiting, if necessary). And maybe add a bit of Lexicon Rich Plate would sound great on that as well. Obviously, the room you're in will have a great impact on the sound as well.

Wish I could help more. Good luck!
Thanks for the advice. I really like the attack he gets, but without a lot of clicky nail attack - very well balanced. The 451 would be bright but smooth and the Neve would add some darkness and warmth, sounds like a nice mix. I've been impressed by the sound of 451's on steel strings but haven't had a chance to try them on Nylon strings yet. I'm envious you get to hang out with some of those guys... any one of the top one hundred flamenco players in the world is an absolutely unbelievable player because the standard is so high - but when you get into the very highest levels, those guys are mind-blowing!
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I´m sorry but the only way to get that sound is to be Vicente. I don´t know now but a couple of years ago he was using an U87ai and a Earthworks further away ( don´t know the model ). Also I have seen him use a B&K 4011 thru a Millennia HV3-D and sounded great.

I´ve been working on sessions with some of the best flamenco guitar players and the most usual mics that we have used were U67, U87 and B&K 4011. Also Schoeps work well. Favourite preamps are Avalon M5 and Millennia HV3-D.
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Originally Posted by espasonico View Post
I´m sorry but the only way to get that sound is to be Vicente. I don´t know now but a couple of years ago he was using an U87ai and a Earthworks further away ( don´t know the model ). Also I have seen him use a B&K 4011 thru a Millennia HV3-D and sounded great.

I´ve been working on sessions with some of the best flamenco guitar players and the most usual mics that we have used were U67, U87 and B&K 4011. Also Schoeps work well. Favourite preamps are Avalon M5 and Millennia HV3-D.
Yeah, the most a mic can do is capture what is happening in the room, so there is no magic combination that will make you into a better player. His touch combined with his guitar creates a fantastic depth. On the other hand, there are lots of players who sound phenomenal in the room, who aren't having that translated into their recordings. I'm not in the same league as any of those guys but I do really like my tone and sound in the room and want to figure out how to not lose that in the recording process. The best example I can think of for this is Vicente. I've heard a ton of recordings that sound pretty flat to my ears - all by guys I would consider guitar gods and be honored to even be in the same room with.

The instrument does make a huge difference too. My guitar only cost $1500 but has great tone, however, I went to a collectors house recently and played three nylon string guitars all valuing around $5000 and brought mine for comparison. All three made me sound that much better - and a better player will be able to take even more advantage of the nuances available in tone and color and volume in a better instrument.

How are you using those mics - stereo, xy, close and room?
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Originally Posted by GuitarRuss View Post
How are you using those mics - stereo, xy, close and room?
It depends but mostly close and room or "stereo" with one mic at the neck and the other at the bridge panned left/right. I prefer to use "stereo" when making a "falseta" track ( we call falseta to something like lick fills or something like that ). For rythm one mic works well.

Some people here like to record with two mics ( neck and bridge ) but with a mono aproach for the rytmn guitars but I never like that because I think that the right mic at the right place must sound great.
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Another fan of Vicente here.

I don't know for sure, but what you wonder about his sound, is what I've wondered too. And having listened very carefully to his records, and with my experiencies with mics and pres, if I would have to bet a leg in getting the closest to it, I would bet for a DPA mic (4011 is the cardioid) into a very balanced and clean preamp (kind of millennia).
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28th June 2007
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Another fan of Vicente here.

I don't know for sure, but what you wonder about his sound, is what I've wondered too. And having listened very carefully to his records, and with my experiencies with mics and pres, if I would have to bet a leg in getting the closest to it, I would bet for a DPA mic (4011 is the cardioid) into a very balanced and clean preamp (kind of millennia).
Those DPA mics have quite the pedigree and the pricetag to match. Wish I had that kind of money to spend... What would get me close to that sound for a lot less money? I will be recording into a Mackie Onyx and I currently have a Fathead (arriving soon), 4033 and a few 57's. I'm looking at making my next big mic purchase.

I've been thinking about:

Sputnik - it sounds really nice on steel string and compares in a few blind tests to much more expensive mics.

A pair of used 451's

Shure KSM 44

a used km 184.

Some of you guys have a lot of experience recording nylon strings. There aren't any shootouts that I've heard, so I have to rely on advice. I would love to find a great match for my guitar. Thanks
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29th June 2007
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the 184 is gonna accentuate all the clicky nail stuff you're looking to minimize.

earthworks or schoeps are a better bet, and for a pre my short list would be either a fearn or martech. huge but not hyped, detailed but not clinical, musical but not colored.

from there, it's all you, the guitar, and the space. mostly, it's you.


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the 184 is gonna accentuate all the clicky nail stuff you're looking to minimize.

earthworks or schoeps are a better bet
.
Thanks for the advise about the 184, detail is important, but nail click really gets me. Eq'ing it out can be tricky and cause some loss of quality. I'll check out the Earthworks and Schoeps (I assume SDC's). Are there any of them that are highly recommended in my price range?

Quote:
from there, it's all you, the guitar, and the space. mostly, it's you.
Well said... I like my sound and my style and just want to be able to hear that same thing coming out of the speakers. I've gotten it now with electric and steel string recordings - and I've gotten good sounds out of the Nylon string but not as dimensional as I would like. Although I admit sometimes I wish there was a Vicente button on my guitar though! In my opinion the best nylon string player I've ever heard.
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27th December 2007
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Originally Posted by GuitarRuss View Post
Those DPA mics have quite the pedigree and the pricetag to match. Wish I had that kind of money to spend... What would get me close to that sound for a lot less money? I will be recording into a Mackie Onyx and I currently have a Fathead (arriving soon), 4033 and a few 57's. I'm looking at making my next big mic purchase.

I've been thinking about:

Sputnik - it sounds really nice on steel string and compares in a few blind tests to much more expensive mics.

A pair of used 451's

Shure KSM 44

a used km 184.

Some of you guys have a lot of experience recording nylon strings. There aren't any shootouts that I've heard, so I have to rely on advice. I would love to find a great match for my guitar. Thanks
Well...its true...Vicente and any great flamenco guitarrist have his own sound...then the guitar itself could be the most important part...but, i dunno, maybe you are going to find the sound of the onyx too thin...and sometimes harsh...the mic and the pre...they are an important part of the game too...Vicente can sound as himself, good, genius thru any pre...but his sound is awesome because his sonic chain have nice elements such a good mic and pre...
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Wow, flamenco fans at Gearslutz!!!

Though living in Italy, I'm spaniard, from Madrid. I (video-) recorded my share of flamenco artists some years ago while still in Spain. Nice times...

I think the "clue" about flamenco artists is their attitude. They are cool and funny. The "duende" is in their blood...

There are flamenco CDs that sound WONDERFUL, unfortunately I can't even name a spanish recording engineer!!! I hate when I hear new flamenco and guitars have a lot of reverb!!!

My favorist new artist is David Dorantes, a great pianist and composer and his first album Orobroy.
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29th December 2007
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Viva Flamenco!! The Royer Sf series mics work great for flamenco guitar (and voice), for detail and warmth.
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29th December 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
Spaced omni's. Position is determined by the player, instument, room. No rules, just make it right. Experiment.

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I have to agree. I just followed a discussion of omnis on another board which went into the differences between free field and diffuse field omnis and when each would be appropriate. The choice of the omni, its response curve and its axial sensitivities are all important. More so than just spaced omnis or ORTF as while both of these patterns work well, each has to be fitted to the situation.

I have found that the Michael Williams article on "Stereophonic Zoom" is excellent and a help making the appropriate choice as to spacing. The characteristics of the individual mics still have to be considered.

Williams article: http://www.rycote.com/assets/documen...nic%20Zoom.pdf


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7th March 2008
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well, I only know his second album was recorded in a studio (musitron?) where the engineer has as main compressor a summit. I almost sure it has been used in that album. Now, Vicente has a pro tool at home and he record there and mix outside probably.
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I have to agree. I just followed a discussion of omnis on another board which went into the differences between free field and diffuse field omnis and when each would be appropriate. The choice of the omni, its response curve and its axial sensitivities are all important. More so than just spaced omnis or ORTF as while both of these patterns work well, each has to be fitted to the situation.

I have found that the Michael Williams article on "Stereophonic Zoom" is excellent and a help making the appropriate choice as to spacing. The characteristics of the individual mics still have to be considered.

Williams article: http://www.rycote.com/assets/documen...nic%20Zoom.pdf


Cheers
Thanks for that info, I always like more info on mic placement.

I have a method of testing it that I find works: I set up the mics and press record, then I speak into the mics and describe each set up briefly and play a short passage from the piece I'm going to record. For example: "Mic directly facing 12th fret 12 inches away" and then change the mic or my guitar placement, without pressing stop and describe the new placement "Mic facing 12th fret, 12 inches away, angled towards soundhole by 45 degrees" etc. I'll be able to quickly go through 8-10 different spacings on a 3 minute track.

I then take the split tool and split the wave file into individual files and then normalize them for comparison purposes. This is very important because the closer ones always sound better because they are louder, but when you bring them to the same level you get a more accurate picture. I quickly delete the non-contenders and have a few that I'm left with for close listening.

I've found this to work and it's sometimes surprised me which mic placement sounded better. Whenever I find myself saying, "This mic placement looks good..." I give myself a mental kick in the butt, because I realize how ridiculous it is to think that way. I don't know why, but it is so tempting to use the eyes when placing mics, when ears are the only important factor.
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15th March 2008
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I'm sorry but here, in Andalucia, en expecially at Granada University of Flamenco, Vicente is considered only a commercial phenomenon that likes to the women (but not at me).
The experts of Flamenco say that he is a mediocre guitarist and with scarce Flamenco technique. Its technique is very more similar to that of a normal electric guitarist. In the world of the Flamenco, the real Flamenco, he doesn't have any consideration. There are many Flamenco guitarist very good and few famous but we all know very well how the market works.
However, that sound (that few or nothing has of Flamenco) is gotten in post production with great EQing, limiting and Reveberation.

Here to the center you study the professors ( and all ) say that Vicente is "el capuyo"


Sonia
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15th March 2008
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Wow, Sonia:

What don't you tell us what you really think?

Kind of heavy handed, aren't you?

With that said, please give us a few of your favorite Flamenco guitarists and recordings.

Thank you in advance.
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15th March 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoniA View Post
I'm sorry but here, in Andalucia, en expecially at Granada University of Flamenco, Vicente is considered only a commercial phenomenon that likes to the women (but not at me).
The experts of Flamenco say that he is a mediocre guitarist and with scarce Flamenco technique. Its technique is very more similar to that of a normal electric guitarist. In the world of the Flamenco, the real Flamenco, he doesn't have any consideration. There are many Flamenco guitarist very good and few famous but we all know very well how the market works.
However, that sound (that few or nothing has of Flamenco) is gotten in post production with great EQing, limiting and Reveberation.

Here to the center you study the professors ( and all ) say that Vicente is "el capuyo"


Sonia


Ouch!
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15th March 2008
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I would recommend recording with a stereo mic straight to sony dat... Be very careful adding verb and dynamics
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15th March 2008
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I did live sound for vicent amigo and i have to say that he is very good. flamenco is a very difficult thing to master as there is no "classroom" style learning. its more of a oraL , passed down from guy to guy. so i guess artist like vicente amigo can develop its own style. there are many artist in spain that do the flamencation of pop music or convert flamenco into mainstream stuff.
like ...-and sonia will probably laugh at me- the band estopa which i like (mainly teen girl fowlloing) but they made good songs with a lots of flamenco "feling"


well, funny thing for me is that in vicente concert the band is in a semi circle and one dude on the side looked mentally distured while he was sitting down (like all of them) and facing down just clapping. i said, cool just one guy clapping. what a gig. "im the clapper.". whatever u know. then suddenly he stands in middle of the song and starts screaming "flamenco" style but i 1st it just sounded like he went crazy or something. he didnt have microfone . only the guitar and cajon had. so the bold guy dressed in white screamed for a while until many realized thats part of the song.

sure thing, the next song was much better and the guy really sang freakin amazing. very hard to get that vocal sound.
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15th March 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoniA View Post
I'm sorry but here, in Andalucia, en expecially at Granada University of Flamenco, Vicente is considered only a commercial phenomenon that likes to the women (but not at me).
The experts of Flamenco say that he is a mediocre guitarist and with scarce Flamenco technique. Its technique is very more similar to that of a normal electric guitarist. In the world of the Flamenco, the real Flamenco, he doesn't have any consideration. There are many Flamenco guitarist very good and few famous but we all know very well how the market works.
However, that sound (that few or nothing has of Flamenco) is gotten in post production with great EQing, limiting and Reveberation.

Here to the center you study the professors ( and all ) say that Vicente is "el capuyo"


Sonia
You're a complete idiot, did you know that??

Do the names Manolo Sanlucar, or Paco De Lucia ring a bell??
Crawl back in your cave.
#27
16th March 2008
Old 16th March 2008
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Dear Todd... I'm sorry but I have born into Flamenco and live into Flamenco, the "real" Flamenco. Not the flamenco for tourists. If you don't like the reality, you can not to change it by insulting me
If you lived here, you would have read these things on the local newspapers.

For us, Flamenco purists, there is only one Flamenco: the Flamenco.
Vicente play music flamencoized : aflamencada. The style that he play isn't Flamenco. It is him personal style that is a mix of electric guitar style and a little bit of elementary Flamenco style as his bad and very flabby picado (muy flojo y nada de duende), timid rasgueo and almost nothing of character into pulgar.

The teachers bring as example Vicente to explain what it is not good for the Flamenco...

The juice is: Vicente you cannot call Flamenco what is not Flamenco.
People: if you like the music by Vicente it's right but you have to know that it is not true Flamenco and Vicente isn't a great guitarist that not-spanish people believe.

Sonia
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16th March 2008
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Flamenco is very near to spanish gipsies, gipsy culture is a very rigid one and they didn't enjoy Paco de Lucia for many many years too... So Sonya has a point, the one defended by traditional flamenco experts.

Of course there's great and terrible music, flamenco or not!

I personally don't mind too much about the flamenco level, I prefer the music that "connect" with me and Vicente Amigo does.
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16th March 2008
Old 16th March 2008
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Good point of view

The Gypsy flamenco is a popular and simplified version of real Flamenco. The roots of the original Flamenco are very complex. Paco de Lucia is surely the best Flamenco guitarist and he is who have brought the most greater and best innovations to this style in the modern era.

Sonia
#30
17th March 2008
Old 17th March 2008
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my former teacher Grisha Goryachev (Grigory Goryachev: News) plays paco's peices with better tecnique and sound, take a listen.

The king is still Augustin Sabicas...Not Paco!
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