How important is the quality of the guitar for a student’s study and progress?

by Antony Hadjion, leading Australian flamenco guitar player and teacher

This is an interesting story that Antony Hadjion put together some time ago, that gives his perspective on the importance of a quality guitar to a student's development. 

The history is even more interesting - as Antony's student is ME and out of this story, GuitarsOnline was born!!  

How important is the quality of the guitar for a student’s study and progress?

by Antony Hadjion, leading Australian flamenco guitar player and teacher

I heard a interesting story the other week from Pierre Herrero, manager of “Guitars Online”.

He told me that when he was one of my Flamenco Guitar students, something I said changed his life!

After a few months of studying with me, he was still struggling with some of flamenco techniques – like Rasgeado.

It just didn’t sound right on his guitar – which was made in Japan.

Then one night during a lesson, having left the room for a moment, Pierre picked up my Spanish made guitar and played it.

To his amazement, suddenly everything worked! The guitar was much easier to play having that typical “fast” action of a flamenco guitar plus the sound was crisp, dry and percussive when strummed – unlike that “muddy” sound he got out of his guitar.

When I returned he asked me: “How come your guitar sounds so much better?” “What gives?”

My subtle reply was “Well you’re playing a ‘fruit box’!”

And that was it!

As there wasn’t much available when it came to Spanish made Flamenco or Classical Guitars, he decided to go to Spain and import them himself.

And thus ‘GuitarsOnline’ was born!

Finally professional and student guitarists had a source for buying Classical and Flamenco Guitars. A virtual treasure trove!

As a teacher of Flamenco guitar for over 45 years, it is important for me that my students have a quality guitar.

This fact cannot be overstated.

Although you can learn the basics on a cheap guitar (I started on a $45 plywood Yamaha!) still there is nothing quite like the inspiration you get when playing a guitar of quality.

When it comes to a Flamenco Guitar – you need a guitar with a lower action to the fingerboard than a Classical Guitar, making the action very fast, at the cost of some buzzing.

The strings are also closer to the body on Flamenco Guitars to facilitate Rasgeado technique, thumb work and tapping.

Flamenco Guitars are generally made with Spruce tops and Cypress for the back and sides to enhance volume.

The Flamenco Guitar is designed to cut though the sound of dancers stamping their feet.

The sound is a bit more percussive than a Classical Guitar, with a loud sonic burst, followed by a swift decay.

With a cheap guitar, especially applicable to plywood, it would be impossible to achieve this sound or fast action.

I think it is the teacher’s duty to encourage their students to purchase a quality guitar that will facilitate their playing, inspire them musically and give them all the right sounds required.

Only then will they be able to realise their full potential.


Listen to Antony Hadgion in action


About Antony Hadjion

Antony has been performing and teaching Flamenco and Classical Guitar for over 45 years. He studied Classical guitar with Jochen Schubert in Melbourne and then with Alexandre Lagoya in France. His first Flamenco guitar teacher was Joaquín Gomez in Melbourne with whom He had a few lessons. Joaquín was the real author of the famous Flamenco Guitar Method by Ivor Mairants from the 1950's. Later he studied extensively in Spain on three separate trips from 1975 - 1995 ( in 1990 receiving a grant from the West Australian Dept. for the Arts) with teachers such as Juan Maya "Marote", Paco Pena, Antonio Sanchez (father of Paco de Lucia), Pedro del Valle, El Entri, and others.

Antony has performed with Spanish Dance Companies in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth as well as performing overseas in India, Greece, Japan and New Caledonia. He has arranged music for theatre productions, performed at various festivals and has played with "Her Majesty's Theatre Orchestra" as well as with the "West Australian Symphony Orchestra".

He has written a simple book in tab with a cd covering the basics of Flamenco Guitar and a few pieces.

For intermediate and advanced players he has arranged and transcribed many flamenco pieces in both music and tab.

 Contact Antony Hadjion for classes on 9386 2122 0r via email