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A new definition of flamenco guitar as an instrument


(November 2018)

Prof. Ruben Diaz, Ph.D. Contemporary Harmony and Composition

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Part 12

Flamenco double cut away guitars with access the whole fret board (optional with 24 frets)

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First of all we should clear what is the difference between a regular cut away guitar and those extraordinary double cut away guitars of AG, to get there please watch the following video:
I started playing a double cut away guitar in 2017 because I got tired of not getting much of a challenge, otherwise, been inside my zone of comfort. I mean, playing in the full body guitar, that zone of what I strived so much to master. Nonetheless, influenced by some friends who own themselves guitars like:
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another example is:
and another example is

I got the intuition that it might actually be very productive for me to try, as well as it could give me a valuable experience one way or the other. Remembering what I've learned from maestro Kenny Werner:
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The next is his web site, there is a valuable book of himthat I recommend to any musician  

 Kenny really stroke me when he said  “in music the only way to be comfortable is to step out of your zone of comfort”,  thus I was encouraged in that way last year (2017).  I finally got the determination to get my first double cut away guitar:

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So I happily started an adventure, as I forced myself to play -no matter what- only with this specific guitar all the time for about 4 months which I did. I realized that indeed it can be very useful for any player practice with such guitars, especially those people who are used to play with full body guitars all the time. Therefore even if that were not your main instrument  as it was my case you can still derive a great benefit from it.  At present I am still learning to play the double cut away and it is so much fun, as you can see on the next video  with the advantage of been able to play standing, which I never did in the past.
Based on the satisfying results I got from recordings like the following (on that fragment I played two double cut away guitars):
My conclusion is that playing it, even if it's just for certain periods of time in your practice plan, you can be sure that- if properly done and through this specific guitar model-
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You can actually learn more about the full body guitar itself, this is -by far- the most surprising thing about my undertaking with double cut away guitars. The logic behind it is that it lets you easily explore zones of the guitar which one wouldn’t  do at all while playing a full body guitar. This will broaden in no time your whole perception of the fretboard in a new holistic manner so to say, and even more so with a 24 frets one like this here:
The idea is that through this study you will be able to expand furthermore all what you can play with a full body guitar. At present, I am still studying inside those cryptic realms there, I am motivated to continue exploring that because I am discovering many concealed possibilities , I mean many otherwise unnoticeable things there which now revealed themselves as very valuable possibility assets every time I come back to play again with the full body guitar  which is my main instrument.
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Every instrument has an effect on us, even if you sometimes can't notice that. Sometimes one realizes it suddenly when one see oneself playing better and, I feel that, thanks to this double cut away guitar, now I can actually play better both guitars.

I should say that 20 years ago I would never imagine myself playing this kind of guitars, first of all because there was no such a suitable flamenco cut away to play back then, but also due to following -by inertia (without a second thought)- a rather generalized narrow-mindedness in the flamenco community which inoculated us from trying newer different things and barred the sudden impulse to act contrary to the majority of players around. Unfortunately, many nice things were lost that way, including questioning about the benefits of possible changes in gear:
and  about the use of those “unusual” vehicles which may become the fertile ground to explore new exiting ways to play, or at least to have the joy of trying to go in a different and more exiting direction yourself.

It's interesting to mention that in Paco de Lucia’s technique (which is what I generally teach on Skye) we use our sense of touch as a reference to orient ourselves while playing on the fingerboard. To know what I mean please watch the following video:
Also inside our line of studies (my students and I) we follow Paco’s  advise to also practice certain things with a blindfold:

This -if learn in the right context- can make music much more exiting to you. Apart from learning all this aspects via Skype, twice a year people from all over the world reunites here in Málaga to explore these specific areas and in the near future I plan to continue with this research also relating to the mastering of the fretboard with a double cut away guitar as well.



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Ruben Díaz 2018