1994 Gerard Gilet

Body: Cocobolo and spruce, French polish, arched, unbraced back, solid linings. Gilet has just published a book with Trevor Gore on the science of harmonics, or “transfer vibration,” which posits the notion kerfed linings (the notched chord that runs the perimeter of the guitar outline, joining top and back to sides) are guilty of absorbing a fair portion of the available energy that resonates the top, creating volume and sustain. His use of the solid lining is to resist that transference, to create a block more impervious to absorbing vibration, better containing it in the top. Further, his sides and top are machined to exact the maximum resonance the sound box creates.

Top: spruce with radial bracing, French polished. He emphasizes a sturdy harmonic transom, the beam that runs cross wise under the end of the fingerboard, in front of the sound hole, to prevent the bellying in this area that causes slight collapse on many guitars and creeping string height.  This is a twenty year old guitar with an original neck angle and saddle height.

Scale: 650mm, string height 4mm bass and 3.5mm treble at 12th fret. The nut is wide, at 54mm, helping to prevent the high e from slipping off the fingerboard. String e to e spacing is 45mm, perhaps one mm wider than most I compare to.

Condition: French polish is nearly perfect, showing no signs of failing. Two marks of about one inch, one each on lower bouts, visible on close examination. Stray nicks here and there and light string dings below bridge. Some fret wear. Back and sides in like new condition. This guitar has been well cared for and obviously humidified properly.

Comments: the radial bracing pattern on this guitar supports a very thin top  and produces the extraordinary sustain which I hope comes through in the sound samples. It has a clean brightness and a warm voice. No other guitar I’ve seen has such a thin neck profile, which belies the need for a blocky neck under your thumb. It gives the player a sense of ease in establishing one’s left hand over the fingerboard. All told, this is a superb instrument, still in its prime, and rare.

 

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