-- Museum of Musical Instruments
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   The demarcation between classical and flamenco guitars was formerly much less clear than it is today. In Spain a player simply purchased the best affordable instrument. For the Gypsies who played flamenco music this was typically a guitar made from indigenous cypress wood, with old-fashioned wood tuning pegs rather than state-of-the-art metal-geared tuners. Over time these specifications gradually became codified as features particular to the flamenco guitar, although there are frequent exceptions among modern instruments. Performers, however, still recognize that lightweight cypress wood provides a lively tonal response that is well suited to the percussive qualities of flamenco playing. Santos Hernandez was the most respected maker of flamenco guitars in the early twentieth century. His instruments were in great demand, and good examples are now very difficult to find because players have virtually worn them out. The thin plastic plates applied along each side of the soundhole on this guitar, called golpeadores (tap plates), protect the softwood top from the rhythmic drumming of the player's fingers, a feature unique to flamenco guitar music.

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