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Early on, I had the opportunity to work on a handful of French gypsy guitars from the 50s and 60s with very flexible backs, no bracing, or just one.    Half a dozen were by Jacques Castelluccia.   One was thought to be a music store Busato.  On others, the builders names have been lost.   Most were unsigned and originally sold through music stores who put their own labels in them.   Most of these guitars sounded great.  Loud and responsive with a singing tone.   While the lack of braces on the back was probably done in the name of cost efficiency and is contrary to other acoustic guitars and  most string instruments for that matter, these guitars have a unique tonal signature.    The sound is dry and fundamental, but with excellent attack, response, clarity, volume and sustain.  The lows are solid and woody, the highs are bright and loud and the mids make you want hang out there all day.    Overall tonality is bright but full bodied.

In keeping with this old school, gypsy mystery theme, the guitar is very light 3.5 lbs.   The top is thermally aged torrefied Sitka spruce.   The back and sides are laminated mahogany.  The back has a vaulted back with a single center brace.   Finish is shellac with minimal grain fill for a low gloss luster.   White bindings, retro tuners and tail.

Not all is old school with this guitar however.   Studying old guitars, one learns what works and what doesn’t.   Many of these old guitars had all kinds of neck problems, funky neck joints, inferior frets set in inaccurate slots, dyed pear fingerboards which crumble with age, caved tops due to insufficient bracing under the fingerboard.    The neck on this (and all my guitars) follows the best in modern practice.   The best woods for the neck shaft sealed with epoxy to reduce changes due to humidity, Ebano fingerboard for stability, stainless steel Jester frets set in slots cut with a CNC machined template, a strong bolt on neck joint, and a double action adjustable truss rod.   The fingerboard and frets are carefully worked, the action is set up at 2.4mm and is highly playable.    The top is carefully braced to provide the highest possible response and volume but capable of withstanding the structural demands over time.

 

One Comment

  1. a beautiful instrument; as is the lefty!


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