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Alhambra Guitars: reviews of the best Alhambra Guitars

Alhambra for beginners

Alhambra-2C-200
Alhambra 2C

Alhambra for the initiated

Alhambra-5P-200
Alhambra 5P CT E2

Alhambra for professionals

ALhambra-11p-200
Alhambra 11 P

Luxury Alhambra

Fotografía Alhambra Vilaplana Excellence
Alhambra Vilaplana Excellence

Which Alhambra guitar to buy? Comparison of the best Alhambra guitars for beginners, intermediate and advanced level.

An Alhambra guitar evokes Francisco Tárrega and transports us to the city of Granada. Its hallmarks? Tradition and technology. Alhambra guitars, with more than fifty years of experience behind them, are still handmade with the best quality materials and following the highest manufacturing standards. For this reason, it is said that they are the duende of the classical, flamenco and acoustic guitar.

Buying an Alhambra guitar is a great decision. For this reason, we have selected the best Alhambra classical guitars and those with the best value for money so that you have all the information. Taking advantage of the occasion, we tell you a little about the history of this house and everything you need to know to make the right decision.

History of the Alhambra guitar

In the 1960s, the world saw the emergence of some of the greatest electric guitar players, such as Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Frank Zappa and many others. While this was happening, one of the best classical guitar brands was taking its first steps in Spain: Alhambra. From the association between Francisco Martínez Clavel, Ricardo Llorens and José María Vilaplana Vilaplana, the first prototype of an Alhambra Spanish guitar was born.

After having perfected this first model, the three partners created “Manufacturas Jachi”. However, a few years later, in 1965, the company was re-founded with other members and with the name that we all recognize today: “Manufacturas Alhambra, S. A.”. Over the years, this company has earned a special place in the market of Spanish and classical guitars, thanks to its love for tradition and also to the utilization of the best woods in the world.

Woods used in Alhambra guitars

Traditionally, each company has sought to develop its own quality standards for the classification of its components in order to take full advantage of the virtues of the materials. This is an inescapable reality in the Alhambra family. Despite using the same types of wood as the rest of the luthiers, this brand has created its own classification method to use and enhance each of the materials in a sustainable way.

The classification system for Alhambra guitars is as follows:

  • Beginners: Class A and A+ woods
  • Intermediate level: Class AA and AA+ woods.
  • Advanced level: AA+, AAA and AAA+ woods.
  • Exotics: They use AAA, AAA+ class woods of Pacific red cedar, Canadian spruce, olive, white ebony, Indian rosewood, river rosewood, pink peroba, cocobolo, samanguila, among other exotic species. For this reason, they are the most expensive guitars and the most difficult to acquire.

The most common woods used in these Spanish guitars are:

  • Top: Solid cedar and spruce are the most used.
  • Back and sides: Sapelli, Indian rosewood, olive, white ebony, cocobolo, pink peroba, river rosewood.
  • Handle: Samanguila, cedar, ebony reinforcements.
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood, ebony.

Thanks to this classification, every user of an Alhambra guitar can be completely sure of the quality of its woods and also of the company’s ecological commitment. The company has strict controls for the felling, reforestation and optimal sawing of the trees from which it obtains its raw material.

Alhambra Flamenco and Classical Guitars

The Spanish classical guitar is the specialty of the Alhambra brand. All their guitars are made with a solid top, but designs and materials vary depending on the needs of beginner (studio), intermediate (conservatory) and advanced (concert) guitarists.

Alhambra also has an extensive catalog of black and white flamenco guitars that provide the traditional sound that flamenco guitarists are looking for. To achieve this, they use the best quality woods, such as cypress, sycamore, Indian rosewood, olive and others, as well as cedar or German spruce for the top. In addition to its concert, conservatory and studio models, the catalog includes three Alhambra flamenco guitars made to the specifications of guitarist Carlos Piñana.

The firm’s wide range of options also includes Alhambra acoustic guitars, cutaway models of classical and flamenco guitars, left-handed guitars and other stringed instruments such as bandurrias and lutes.

Alhambra competitions for guitarists

In 1990, to celebrate its 25th anniversary, Alhambra created a contest in which musicians from all over the world apply and make an appointment to be recognized as the brand’s number one for two years. In addition to the honor of this recognition, the winner receives a monetary prize of 14,000 euros, the production of a CD, concerts and exclusive artistic diffusion by Alhambra.

Currently the Alhambra Guitar Competition has fourteen dates celebrated, in which guitarists from all over the world have gathered in Spain to compete and demonstrate their skills as interpreters of the Spanish guitar. This universality of entries and winners reflects the fact that this house is known and praised all over the world.

The best Alhambra guitars for beginners:

  1. Alhambra 2C
  2. Alhambra 3F Flamenco

The best Alhambra guitars for intermediate players:

  1. Alhambra 5P CT E2
  2. Alhambra 7P Classic

The best Alhambra guitar for advanced musicians:

  1. Alhambra 11 P

The best luxury Alhambra guitar:

  1. Alhambra Vilaplana Excellence

The best Alhambra guitars for beginners

Every beginner guitarist needs to have an instrument that meets their most basic needs in terms of ergonomics, sound quality and ease of tuning. For this reason, we have selected what we consider to be the two best Spanish Alhambra guitars for beginners.

Alhambra 2C

guitarra Alhambra 2C
Pros

Excellent value for money.

Cons

It lacks harmonics, although all Alhambra studio guitars (low end) are deficient in harmonics.

Technical Characteristics:

  • Woods: solid cedar, sapelli, rosewood, type A.
  • Scale: 65 cm.
  • Sound: high volume and few harmonics.
  • Weight: 2.08 kg

The Alhambra 2C is one of the most popular student guitars of the brand. This is due to the middle ground in which it is located, both in performance and price. The 2C differs from the Z-Nature series and the Alhambra 1C in that it has a gentler feel with the fingers. It is also more appreciated than the Alhambra 3C series, because it uses the same woods and the feel is similar, but it is cheaper.

Wood:

The Alhambra 2C, like all Alhambra studio guitars, uses both cedar and German spruce. These woods have a great resistance to fractures and an excellent sonorous capacity. Another of the woods used in this guitar is Sapelli in the sides, back and neck. This material has a bending strength of 1,150 kg per cm2, which provides a full guarantee of strength.

On the other hand, the fingerboard and bridge are made of a variety of rosewood known as albergia Latifolia. This is a wood from India and has the highest strength in its family.

Design:

This guitarhas the standard size of a classical guitar. A scale, as a rule, should measure 650 mm, while the height of the strings varies from 4 to 5 mm. In the Alhambra C2, the height is 4 mm, unlike the Alhambra C1 which has 5 mm.

The tuning keys are basic, nickel-plated with white knobs. Its finish shows the natural color of the wood with a glossy polyurethane coating.

Ergonomics:

Also, this cheap Alhambra guitar has a softer and gentler feel than its sisters, the Alhambra Z-Nature and the Alhambra C1. The chords are no more demanding than other student guitars and the arpeggios at the top of the frets require little force. However, this becomes more difficult as you play frets five through ten.

Phrasing is no problem, whether you are playing from frets 1 to 5 or from 5 to 12. But as expected, everything is complicated from the 12th to the 19th fret and this is always the case with guitars that do not have acutaway.

Sound:

The sound is round, full-bodied and well balanced. The drones are expressed without being metallic and the transition between them and the middle/high notes has a good richness of nuances.

The strumming is very good and powerful, but reaching an optimal execution of compositions in the style of “Capricho Arabe” and “La Catedral” will be difficult because the volume, touch and especially the harmonics will not help much.

Regarding the latter, we must admit that this proposal (as all the cheap Alhambra guitars of this series) lacks harmonics and the few that are perceived have little volume. However, this is common to all entry-level student guitars.

Otherwise, this guitar has a modern sound and is great for ballads. If your thing is not classical, but something more bluesy, the Alhambra C2 will also suit you very well.

Conclusion:

From our perspective this is the best guitar in the series for studio because it has superior characteristics to the Alhambra Z-Nature and C1. It also has a similar balance to the Alhambra C3 and C4, although it does not reach the level of the Iberia Ziricote, which features AA woods and is a transition to the conservatory series.

We recommend it for all beginners and intermediate students who need to buy a cheap Alhambra guitar on a tight budget. Find the best price at thomann.

Alhambra 3F Flamenco

guitarra alhambra 3F
Pros

AA woods and MRF reinforcement, soft touch, good sound.

Cons

It lacks some volume.

Technical Characteristics:

  • Woods: solid German spruce, sycamore, sapele, rosewood, all class AA.
  • Scale: 650 mm.
  • Sound: powerful, balanced and with good ammonics.
  • Weight: 2.4 kg.

The Alhambra 3F is in the first step of the Alhambra flamenco guitars. It is superior to the 2F in feel and sound, but reaches levels comparable to those of the conservatory type, albeit with a better quality/price ratio. It is for this reason that we will describe it in this review.

Timber:

The Alhambra 3F has a German spruce top, even though thomann’s description states that it is spruce. This error may perhaps be due to the fact that Norway spruce is also known as false “spruce”, although a “false” wood can never be considered as class AA.

One of the impressive features of this solid German spruce top is its ability to vibrate, with a modulus of elasticity of approximately 110,000 kg/cm2. Indeed, timbers from Germany, a country with an average annual temperature of 9°C, become more elastic when moved to regions with warmer climates such as Spain.

The sides and back are made of sycamore (ficus sycomorus), an Egyptian wood that is of higher quality than European and Californian sycamore, more resistant and with better acoustic capacity. It was Paco de Lucia who popularized this wood when he realized its great sound potential.

The neck of this Alhambra guitar is made of sapele, a porous and very hard wood, which contributes to its durability and sound. It also incorporates the characteristic Indian rosewood (dalbergia latifolia). This material is traditionally used in the construction of guitars for its hardness and acoustic capacity.

Design:

This Alhambra flamenco guitar has a 650 mm scale, which is the typical measurement for both classical and flamenco guitars, and the same goes for the nut width, which is 52 mm. Nevertheless, as a flamenca, it has a soundboard with a width of 9.3 cm at the widest part, while at the neck part it has 9 cm. This means that the case is smaller compared to classical Spanish guitars.

The height of the strings is also significantly different. They are 3.8 mm high, which produces that lisp that a flamenco guitar should have. However, the company incorporates with the purchase two saddles for the guitarist to choose between 3.8 mm or 4 mm in height.

The hardware is silver colored and the tuning keys have white knobs. One feature that the manufacturers emphasize in this guitar is the “MRF” bracing. This refers to the arrangement of the bars under the soundboard, a detail that we do not give importance to. In fact, laboratory sound tests have proven that the arrangement of the bars does not affect the sound at all.

Ergonomics:

This is a surprisingly smooth guitar, whether you use the 3.8 or 4 mm saddle. The phrases in the first few frets require almost no strength and are ideal for a beginner, but as we go down, more strength is required. However, this is not significant and the formation of typical calluses on the fingers will not affect you.

The same applies to chords: both in the first frets and in the frets closest to the soundboard, since they are very easy to play. Weight is a factor we love. Weighs only 2.4 kg. This weight does not affect the moment we hold it in our hands, whether we are sitting or standing.

Sound:

Thanks to the German spruce, this guitar has a good brightness power. In addition, and thanks to the change in temperature, the vibration contributes to a greater reverb that is perceived more clearly on the bass strings.

Phrases anywhere on the frets are full-bodied and particularly beautiful from the 8th to the 19th fret, while the rasgueados have a volume that many flamenco guitars envy. Its vibration can be felt in each of the chords and frets.

We love the barbed wire pickup the most. In the basses you can feel that metallic sound that a flamenco guitar should have, the power of the sound helps a lot and every student will be grateful for it. The harmonics are a sonorous party and this is the most important thing in this type of instrument. You should always check that the harmonics work well on a guitar and on the Alhambra 3F they all sound great.

Conclusion:

This is a guitar for beginners but with mid-level features and whose price is the cheapest of all. The woods are AA type, with a beautiful color and grain, and the same happens with the sound, it is powerful and with harmonics that we love.

For this reason we recommend it for all learning levels. If you are a beginner you will have a guitar that will be useful for the conservatory and if you are an intermediate, this guitar can continue to be used when you are a professional, because its sound is well worth it. Find the best price at thomann.

The best Alhambra guitars for intermediate players

These intermediate level guitars are what Alhambra classifies as “conservatory” and are designed for musicians with aspirations to perfect their technique and become professionals. This is why they incorporate higher quality woods, a choice of two types of soundboards and more precise hardware.

Alhambra offers seven guitars in the conservatory range, but culturasonora has chosen two that, in our opinion, are the best.

Alhambra 5P CT E2

guitarra Alhambra 5P
Pros

The sides and back are made of Indian rosewood, very soft to the touch.

Cons

It is expensive, varnish coatings are not our favorite.

Technical Characteristics:

  • Woods: cedar or spruce, Indian rosewood, mahogany and ebony.
  • Scale: 650 mm.
  • Sound: warm, sweet, powerful.
  • Weight: 2 .17 kg.

The Alhambra 5P CT guitar is one of the best rated guitars by guitar masters as it has great value features. In this series, Alhambra offers a choice of two types of soundboards: cedar or solid spruce. It also offers a choice of two sizes: the standard size of 650 mm, and the lady size of 636 mm, which is ideal for children. Likewise, you can choose between amplified or unamplified.

Wood:

The Alhambra 5P CT E2 guitar incorporates a solid cedar top type AA. As we have already mentioned, it is a wood with great resistance to fractures and also provides a great acoustic capacity.

The sides and back are made of rosewood or Indian rosewood. It is not at all common to find this type of wood in an intermediate level instrument, although its price justifies it. This wood is dense, one of the hardest woods that can be used for guitar construction, but it also provides impressive acoustic properties due to its vibratory capacity.

The neck is almost indestructible because it is made of mahogany and there are almost no woods that can compete with it in resistance. Likewise, both the fingerboard and the bridge are made of ebony, the only wood that can compete with mahogany in terms of hardness.

The rest of the materials used are: brass for the hardware and mother-of-pearl plastic for the knobs of the tuning keys.

Design:

This is not the typical classical guitar because it has a cutaway that facilitates access to the last frets. Not only that, but it also has a narrower, smaller and lighter body than other classical guitars. This aspect not only adds aesthetic beauty and modernity, but also gives a special nuance to its sound.

The chosen scale is the common 650 mm with a 50 mm saddle. The latter is smaller than the one typically used, as is the thickness of the body, which is only about 65 mm. But if the cutaway and the narrow body is modern, then the Fishman “Prefix Pro Blend” preamp is the icing on the cake, because it has the potential to bring jazz, folk and blues nuances to the sound.

Regarding the finish, this guitar has four coats of varnish. We are not very fond of paint on guitars and other types of instruments. But, because of the modernity of this proposal, we welcome it.

Ergonomics:

This guitar is soft, it is the softest and with the most delicate touch of all Alhambra’s proposals. The phrases in any part of the guitar are delicate, with an enviable touch, and the same happens with the chords. You’ll never have a problem making chords with capo because it’s a delight to the touch.

The 65 mm wide body makes this Alhambra guitar completely comfortable to play standing up. It is easy to hold and not very heavy. However, you have the option to order it in “miss” size, which is smaller, more comfortable and lighter, while the sound quality is the same.

Sound:

As we have said, this Alhambra guitar is modern and all its potential is projected in the sound. Thanks to its woods, the response in the mids is rich in nuances, with a great balance. The transitions between low and high frequencies are what a jazz guitarist is looking for.

The Fishman preamp comes equipped with three knobs: one for volume, one for frequency leveling and the third is a filter to reduce the possibility of feedback and avoid unwanted feedbacks. It also has four sliders: one for mixing, one for brightness, one for bass and the fourth for stabilizing sound frequencies.

This guitar by itself has a good sustain, but when you connect it to a sound amplifier, with the help of equalizers, you can improve it exponentially and its versatility is greater. Finally, the harmonics on this guitar are very good, just what an instrument in this price range should offer.

Conclusion:

There are really few guitars that meet our expectations in terms of build quality, design, sound and versatility, at least few have surprised us as much as this Alhambra 5P CT E2. It is a great instrument that has delighted us visually and aurally. Although it is a “conservatory” guitar, we recommend it for all levels of learning because its quality has no analogues in the market. Interested? Find the best price at thomann.

Alhambra 7P Classic

Fender-cn-60s guitarra espanola nivel intermedio
Pros

All wood is solid.

Cons

It is somewhat expensive, the touch is not so soft.

Technical Characteristics:

  • Woods: cedar, rosewood, sapele, ebony.
  • Scale: 650 mm.
  • Sound: beautiful, classic, traditional, wonderful.
  • Weight:  2.6 kg.

The Alhambra 7P Spanish guitar has a design inspired by the past and is made in the old style, but has been designed for the future. In many ways it is what almost every expert guitarist would have wished to have in their early days and in this review you can learn about all its features.

Wood:

The top of this guitar is solid cedar, with beautiful, uniform grain and a 1 mm space between each one. The sides and back are a pleasant surprise as they are made of solid rosewood, a wood that is almost reserved for the higher ranges, but which Alhambra has incorporated in a “conservatory” guitar. It is undoubtedly AAA grade.

The neck is made of sapelli, known as false mahogany, but it is the only wood that comes close to mahogany in hardness. It differs in that it has better vibration and acoustic stability. The manufacturers have reinforced the neck with ebony wood, the only wood superior to mahogany in terms of resistance. This wood is just about the most anyone can aspire to have in their guitar neck. The fingerboard and bridge are made of ebony, for our pleasure.

Design:

This Alhambra guitar is designed with the 1970s in mind and is just what a master of that golden era would consider a guitar for professionals. The body is aesthetic, measuring 102 mm at the widest part of the soundboard and 95 mm near the neck, just like a classic guitar of that era.

The scale is 650 mm and the nut width is 52 mm, as traditional as can be expected. However, the rosette has a design that has caught our attention because it reminds us of the guitars of the great Sabicas.

The tuning keys are precision gold-plated with white knobs, easy to move and maintain the tuning for a long time. The design of this guitar is a journey through time.

Ergonomics:

Regarding the feel, it is a tribute to the guitars of the seventies, since the string height is 4.2 mm at the 12th fret. This is a little high, but thanks to the factory medium tension strings, it overcomes any hardness issues.

The feel in the sentences is friendly, not as smooth as in others, but it is good. The capo chords are a bit hard, but as this is an intermediate level guitar it should not be a problem for the player.

The weight is a bit uncomfortable as it is as heavy as a concert guitar. But this is due to the high quality of its woods and is totally natural in an instrument with these materials.

Sound:

The sound has great volume and projection. You can play in a good medium sized auditorium completely full without amplification. The sustain is enveloping and lets you hear all the nuances of the woods, especially the harmonics, which are of a high level. This guitar has a distance to height ratio that is top notch and that’s where the good sound comes from.

The phrases sound great, have a good volume when played on the first frets and increases when used from the 10th fret onwards. As far as the bass frequencies are concerned, they present a balanced transition towards the middle notes and the brightness is powerful. But that’s not all, as it can be ordered with a Fishman preamp.

We recommend keeping the same type of strings whenever you need to replace them. Although you can also read our article about guitar strings, where we recommend you some Savarez Alliance HT 540J strings that would be great for you.

Conclusion:

This guitar is a jewel camouflaged as a conservatory guitar. We love it for its traditional design and construction, its woods and the great sound it has. We recommend it for intermediate and professional guitarists because it has nothing to envy to the high ranges of the competition. It is a dream instrument. Follow this link for the best price at thomann.

Editor’s recommendation:

We have no hesitation in recommending both guitars because they are worlds apart. While the 5P is modern in its design and sound, the 7P is traditional in the purest old school style. If you are looking for an instrument for your jazz sessions, the 5P is ideal, but if you want to buy an Alhambra guitar that evokes the greats of the 70’s, then the 7P is the instrument par excellence.

The best Alhambra guitar for advanced musicians

Alhambra has four proposals at the advanced level, which are classified as “concert” type guitars. The woods of these instruments are AA+, AAA and AAA+ grade, all solid and with certain aspects considered luxury. However, we have selected one of them that seems to us the best for several reasons that we will specify in its description.

Alhambra 11 P

Alhambra-11P guitarra espanola nivel avanzado
Pros

All woods are solid.

Cons

It is expensive, its sound is not very versatile.

Technical Characteristics:

  • Woods: Cedar, Indian rosewood, ebony.
  • Scale: 650 mm.
  • Sound: Beautiful, bright, with great volume, ideal for chamber music.
  • Weight: 2 .6 kg.

The Alhambra 11P is the last of its sisters in the “concert” series, and in it we find the best of the three previous models, but with advances in design and sound improvements. It is undoubtedly a high-end instrument that also represents the last barrier to advance towards the Alhambra signature range. It has nothing to envy to custom guitars because with its design and sound it has everything to be among the best Alhambra guitars and the market in general.

Wood:

The top of the Alhambra 11 P is made of Pacific red cedar (thuja plicata), an AA+ solid wood. It is less dense than other types of cedar as its breaking strength is about 310 kg/cm2. So why is this wood type AA+? The answer lies in the veins. These grains are more uniform than in other woods and this characteristic gives it better acoustic properties than other more resistant woods.

Don’t worry about the strength of the red cedar, because it is strong enough to have a harmonic top for years. In addition, this is a high-end guitar, for professionals who already know the importance of taking care of an instrument and the value of a better acoustic response.

The sides and back are made of solid AA+ Indian rosewood for superior strength and maximum acoustics. One of the pleasant variants in this guitar is the neck made of cedar, a high-end material reserved for making the best necks. It is the only wood that surpasses mahogany in strength and of course is superior in acoustic quality.

The fretboard is designed in ebony wood (diospyros crassiora) which represents a significant improvement over the traditional Indian rosewood used in this part of the guitar. In short, we are dealing with a guitar whose woods are of high-end classification.

The frets are made of alpaca, one of the most resistant materials. The tuning keys (tuning pegs) are handmade nickel silver with riveted knobs for better grip and durability.

Design:

This Alhambra guitar has a traditional design. It is a concert guitar with a 650 mm scale and the nut width is 52 mm, as traditional as you can expect from a classical guitar.

In terms of color, the manufacturer has opted for the natural color of the woods and with a glossy nitrocellulose finish, which is very elegant and distinguished. It is what is expected from a guitar to play chamber music.

On the tuning keys, the designers have decided to continue with the black color of the knobs that is characteristic of high-end guitars. This time they are riveted, a very nice detail that is appreciated not only for aesthetics but also for durability. The manufacturers include a hard case with a custom design by Alhambra.

Ergonomics:

The Alhambra 11 P has a traditional 650 mm scale with a string height of 4 mm. It also incorporates another capo so that the player can go up to 4.2 mm and have more options.

The touch does feel comfortable, although there are other brands that have a better feel in ranges of this type. But, being a concert guitar, it is just what it should be and so it delivers. Capo chords are the ones that are usually difficult if you are a beginner. But this is a guitar for professionals and therefore you should have no problems with the fingering.

Its weight is also normal for this type of guitars that are used seated. That is why the professional will have no problem, since the ergonomic characteristics of this guitar are the common denominator within this range.

Sound:

This is the real novelty in the Alhambra 11P guitar, because its sound is round and everything in it is balanced.

In our article on acoustic guitars we explained that one of the biggest problems in guitar construction is the G string. This string naturally presents a natural imbalance in the sound and is very difficult to harmonize. But in this Alhambra guitar there is no such problem.

Also, as is to be expected in a guitar of this type, the distance to height ratio is ideal and the harmonics are evidence of this. We can say that each note is a rain of beautiful harmonics that delight our auditory sense.

The volume is ideal, it has power but without being too loud. It has a reverb that few guitars reach, even in the higher ranges.

Now, we can’t say it’s a versatile guitar because it’s not. Its sound is for chamber music, it’s not modern, it doesn’t have punch and you won’t feel sparkles when bending. But it does cover all the sound requirements that chamber music demands. Great volume, balance in the transition of notes, rich sustain and very stable harmonics. This is the classic sound of the Alhambra 11P guitar.

Conclusion:

This manufacturer has four models in this range, but we believe that the Alhambra 11P is the best because its woods are excellent and its sound is superior in several aspects. We recommend it for professional musicians, for those dedicated to chamber music and who want one of the richest sounds in harmonics and sustain that can be found in the professional guitar market,

The best part? has a much lower price than other similar guitars such as the Bros and Felipe Conde. Find it at thomann.

The best luxury Alhambra guitar

The Alhambra company has not been satisfied with manufacturing high-end guitars, but also ventures into custom guitars in order to cover all the possible demand in the market. These instruments stand out for having the most exotic woods you can find in the world, and therefore their sound is different, sublime in several aspects, reason that leads us to consider one of their models.

Alhambra Vilaplana Excellence

guitarra Alhambra de lujo
Pros

AAA class woods, totally exotic, excellent and versatile sound, soft touch.

Cons

It is expensive.

Technical Characteristics:

  • Woods: cedar, pink peroba, rosewood, cedar and ebony.
  • Scale: 650 mm
  • Sound: sublime.
  • Weight: 2 .8 kg.

The luthier José María Vilaplana is the creator of this guitar, which shares a place of honor with ten other models, but which, in our opinion, is the one that best describes the years of experience and innovation of a company like Alhambra. Villaplana Excellence is perhaps the seal of excellence of this company with more than fifty years of experience.

Wood:

The first thing we notice in this guitar is a very common wood: solid cedar. The novelty in this guitar is that the cedar is not only high-end, but also AAA class. The reason for this classification is that the best part of the tree is used to create this harmonic top. It has the most uniform grain, has fewer nodules or imperfections, is more resistant to breakage and therefore offers the best acoustic response.

The sides are made of pink peroba and the back of rosewood . Pink peroba is often confused with dalbergia latifolia and both are part of the same class, but not of the same family or species. The hardness of pink peroba is twice that of its distant cousins, it has fewer imperfections, the range of shades in its color is more varied and it has the best acoustic response. The river rosewood is also of the same class as the Indian peroba and palorosa, but of a different species, with different hardness and acoustic response.

The neck of the Alhambra Vilaplana Excellence is made of cedar reinforced with ebony, something reserved for high-end guitars. The hardware is made of nickel silver and the tuning keys have white knobs.

Design:

Its measurements follow the traditional characteristics: a 650 mm scale, a nut with a neck width of 52 mm, and a body of 10.6 cm at the widest part and 10 cm at the narrowest and closest to the neck. These aspects make it an instrument for chamber music.

In terms of appearance, this Alhambra classical guitar has very beautiful aesthetic elements. For example, the carving on the blade and bridge are very nice and give it an air of modernity. Also the rosette and the lines that run through the guitar have an unusual shape and we love them, they are beautiful.

The headstock is the Alhambra white and gold series, with engravings that stand out for their delicacy and beauty.

Ergonomics:

Despite having a traditional scale and measurements, this instrument has a different, soft touch, is elegant and gives it a certain air of modernity. The fingering in the phrases is very fluid, capo chords feel smooth from the first to the last fret. The strumming has excellent response and is sensitive to force. For this reason, if you press too hard, the pitch may vary slightly.

This guitar is heavy, the heaviest of all the guitars described in our top. But that is normal in a guitar with solid wood, AAA class, signature and exotic.

Sound:

The sound on this guitar is completely different. It is novel, warm and modern, in short: a delight. The Class AAA red cedar top provides high frequencies that are exquisite and give the harmonics a lot of body and brilliance.

The river rosewood back produces a bass that is powerful and enhances the sound of the bass strings. You can feel that metallic sound that sounds like flamenco. On the other hand, the pink peroba provides the necessary balance in the sound frequencies of the top and bottom.

As for the volume, it is impressive in both phrases and rasgueados. You can feel the wood vibrating and it feels like a lion marking its territory. The sustain pads all the notes this guitar emits and the reverb floods everything around it.

The versatility of this guitar is unquestionable. Due to its design and woods, it can be said that it is a classical guitar. But it would be a mistake to pigeonhole his sound, because it can be great for playing flamenco and it is very similar to Tomatito’s jazz-like playing.

Conclusion:

The Alhambra Vilaplana Excellence guitar is an instrument of the highest category, with woods that have a whole story to tell. They are rugged yet flexible, exotic and have an exquisite acoustic response. Its sound is the result of the experience of the luthier José María Vilaplana, but even more of the configuration of its woods. These are the Alhambra footprints, with an indisputable Spanish stamp.

We recommend you to check our culturasonora page. There you will find articles about the best instruments on the market and any kind of accessories, such as guitar strings, guitar straps, capos, etc.

Technical Characteristics of Alhambra Guitars

MODELS

WeightMaterialsScaleSound
Alhambra 2C2.08 kgSolid Cedar, Sapelli, Rosewood65cmHigh volume and low harmonics
Alhambra 3F Flamenco2.4 kgSolid German Spruce, Sycamore, Sapele, Rosewood65cmPowerful, balanced and with good ammonics
Alhambra 5P CT E22.17 kgCedar o spruce, indian palisander, mahogany and ebony65cmWarm, sweet, powerful
Alhambra 7P Classic2.6 kgCedar, palisander, sapelli, ebony65cmBeautiful, classic, traditional, wonderful
Alhambra 11 P2.6 kgCedar, indian palisander, ebony65cmBright, with great volume, ideal for chamber music
Alhambra Vilaplana Excellence2.8 kgCedar, pink peroba, rosewood, river rosewood, cedar, and ebony65cmSublime

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