Cypress Blanca and Rosewood Negra
If you play a variety of styles such as Jazz, Latin, Classical and Flamenco, the most versatile guitar probably is a flamenco negra guitar, a kind of a hybrid between a classical and flamenco guitar. Flamenco guitars traditionally were built using cypress for back and sides and spruce for the top. Classical guitars usually are made with rosewood back and sides. In recent years, a high-bred between a classical and flamenco guitar has emerged, the so called "flamenca negra" which has its back and sides made of rosewood, but is otherwise built like a blanca flamenco guitar.
For the sides and backs of a traditional flamenco or blanca guitar, guitar makers use several types of thin, light colored Cypress such as Cypress Royal, Cypress Violetta or Cypress Coral. Cypress is light and because of its stability, cypress can be worked very thin, projecting a percussive, bright and clear, crispy sound with plenty of flamenco bite in the trebles. When Antonio Torres (1817–1892) defined the classical and flamenco guitar construction at the end of the 19th century, Spanish cypress wood was very popular among luthiers because of local availability and low cost. Therefore Spanish Cypress was generally used for flamenco guitars. Even some of Torres his most famous classical guitars were constructed with Spanish cypress. At these times also wooden tuning pegs were less expensive than tuners and therefore became associated with the flamenco guitar. Today, however, the cost of cypress from Spain and Italy is two to four times that of Indian rosewood, approaching the cost of the expensive Brazilian rosewood.
For the sides and backs of a modern flamenco or negra guitar, guitar makers mainly use thin rosewoods from East India, Rio or Cocobolo. Rosewoods are denser giving the guitar more sustain, more depth of tone, sounding slightly mellower and richer. For the neck flamenco guitar makers use cedar, for the fingerboard ebony and for the bracing spruce or cedar. The Spanish guitarist, Paco de Lucia, made the flamenco negra very popular. The use of denser rosewood give a negra flamenco guitars this fuller and richer tone, approaching that of classical guitars. However, if a guitarist has a strong attack, with a low action and low bridge, the rosewood negra still projects the familiar flamenco sound and attack.