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Rene Gerome

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  • NavajoNavajo Italy
    Posts: 2
    ..as a note to the classical shaped models, do NOT throw away the tailpiece, no matter the condition...you'll never find another. I've looked.

    Gerome was primarily a mandolin maker initially. The tailpiece and bracing on many is like a mandolin. I could not find another tailpiece like it anywhere! As oxidated and ugly as it is, it is worth restoring.

    Fortunately I was able to dig it out of the trash, on the street like a hobo!
    FWIW
    indigocat
  • indigocatindigocat Santiago, ChileNew Modified classical Vizcaya with custom f-hole top, Kohno-style
    Posts: 6
    A client brought an oval-hole model, a tad beat up; it had already received a new fingerboard, but the original bridge had some intonation problems, so we decided to solve it from scratch. I made a custom bridge with compensated saddles (the kind Stefan Hahl uses on his Gitano line), and decorative mustaches following the guitar's shapes and proportions.

    At a 636mm super-short scale, setting up the bridge was a quite a bit of work, but the intonation woes are finally gone for good. Sacrificing a bit of the original look for better functionality did work out, in the end.

    Buco
  • indigocatindigocat Santiago, ChileNew Modified classical Vizcaya with custom f-hole top, Kohno-style
    edited August 2016 Posts: 6
    Today, the same client brought another Gérome, this time a rare Castelluccia-inspired f-hole I had never seen before.

    Same Di Mauro-esque shape, heat-arched top and back, very simple bracing (this time, longitudinally parallel), archtop-like adjustable bridge. This time, only fret-leveling and bridge-fitting will be done.

    How does it sound?

    As dry as the Sahara.

    Edit: reason I had never seen one like this?
    It was actually a rare Favino modèle 2a (at least rare over here).
    Caught me off-guard, the laminated neck and headstock shape were a dead giveaway :p
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    Posts: 393
    At a 636mm super-short scale, setting up the bridge was a quite a bit of work, but the intonation woes are finally gone for good. Sacrificing a bit of the original look for better functionality did work out, in the end.

    Beautiful work! Is the bridge made of rosewood and the saddlepieces ebony? This is exactly what I have been thinking of lately. I've only seen bone saddles but why not use wood? What would the difference be, sound wise?

    Also, are short scale guitars more difficult to intonate than long scale ones? Somehow I thought it was the opposite. Then again, short wind instruments, like soprano saxes, are more difficult to play in tune than longer ones. Maybe I've just been unlucky with long scale Selmer style guitars and lucky with my current short scale model?
    indigocat
  • edited August 2016 Posts: 2
    Here is an old lefty f hole Gérôme (center) maple, very light, sounds dry, short scale and easy to play. Top and back are arched a lot and bracing are minimal.
    indigocatGene Rawe
  • indigocatindigocat Santiago, ChileNew Modified classical Vizcaya with custom f-hole top, Kohno-style
    Posts: 6
    Matteo wrote: »
    At a 636mm super-short scale, setting up the bridge was a quite a bit of work, but the intonation woes are finally gone for good. Sacrificing a bit of the original look for better functionality did work out, in the end.

    Beautiful work! Is the bridge made of rosewood and the saddlepieces ebony? This is exactly what I have been thinking of lately. I've only seen bone saddles but why not use wood? What would the difference be, sound wise?

    Also, are short scale guitars more difficult to intonate than long scale ones? Somehow I thought it was the opposite. Then again, short wind instruments, like soprano saxes, are more difficult to play in tune than longer ones. Maybe I've just been unlucky with long scale Selmer style guitars and lucky with my current short scale model?

    Thanks :)

    It is indeed rosewood with ebony saddles; the guitar was a tad bright, so hardwood could absorb a bit of vibrations in comparison to bone, to a better effect. Replaceable saddles also give the customer the choice of using bone saddles, for looks or sound, and give me the fine-tuning control while making them.

    Short scale guitars are indeed harder to intonate, as every fraction of a millimeter is a higher % of the total length; therefore, tolerances are more delicate. 0,2 mm may not matter too much at a 670mm scale, but at 636mm it turns the pitch audibly sharp or flat.

    Besides, it felt nice to retrofit a contemporary idea (Takamine and Stefan Hahl have been doing this for a while) into an old guitar to breathe new life into it.
    This Gérome came in wearing a solid "ebony boomerang" as bridge, done by someone who looked at the pictures but never saw a manouche guitar before.
    At a 40g+ weight, it was too heavy. Mine is 9g, plus 3g for the mustaches.

    The difference is sound.
    (pun intended)
  • indigocatindigocat Santiago, ChileNew Modified classical Vizcaya with custom f-hole top, Kohno-style
    Posts: 6
    Here is an old lefty f hole Gérôme (center) maple, very light, sounds dry, short scale and easy to play. Top and back are arched a lot and bracing are minimal.

    I had the chance to inspect the bracing, it's incredibly simple: 2 transverse braces (above and below soundhole / f's), and one longitudinal after the 2nd transverse brace, along the arch, to the tail block.

    Gérome kept it reaaally simple, and the guitars are loud and dry enough, with just a bit of reverberance. I'm currently making templates for the body and headstock, to replicate one by February. Lovely guitars, comfortable to play, ideal for beginners and seasoned players alike :)
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    Posts: 393
    Thanks again @indigocat. It's most helpful to see what can be done if you've got the skills and knowledge.

    About intonation, you could also say that relatively small adjustments can sort out intonation problems a short scale guitar. But on a large scale guitar you may need to move the resting point at the bridge a reletively large distance for certain strings. Right?

    Anyway, that's true to my experiences. I had a compensated bridge made for a large scale Selmer style guitar many years ago. The compensation for the B string and one of the bass strings were almost frightening. The bridge of my current short scale Maccaferri style guitar only has a slight diagonal slant and the intonation is terrific.
    indigocat
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    It's your guitar, but may I suggest leaving the bridge alone? I have seen so many vintage guitars ruined by people who should know better changing the original bridge out for a Selmer-style bridge. Trust that the builder knew what he was doing and chose that bridge as an integral part of the sound of the guitar.

    For example, I have seen/played a lot of Joseph di Mauro's heart-hole guitars, but besides mine, I have only seen one other with the original bridge and tailpiece, and those are the only two that sound great. When Craig Bumgarner and I hatched the idea of his making copies of my di Mauro, I emphasized to him the importance of replicating that spindly little di Mauro bridge and using a thinner tailpiece. Craig copied it exactly, and his guitars sound fabulous...and really close to the original!

    An original bridge adds value to a vintage guitar, and it guarantees it will sound as intended. Selmer bridges sound great...on Selmer style guitars. On other guitars, the ruin the tone more often than they help it. You have a nice find there. I hope you can respect it for what it is.

    Does you "Busato" have a label? No disrespect, but I think that guitar is far more likely to have been sold in Busato's shop than to have been made by him. Not trying to start a firestorm here, but somewhere along the way, just about any Italian-made guitar without a label started being called a "Busato-made" guitar. Busato did sell other guitars in his stores, but that doesn't mean they were made by him. Somewhere I have an old Busato catalog, and nothing like any of the many "Busato-made" guitars are listed in it anywhere.


    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • indigocatindigocat Santiago, ChileNew Modified classical Vizcaya with custom f-hole top, Kohno-style
    edited August 2016 Posts: 6
    Matteo wrote: »
    Thanks again @indigocat. It's most helpful to see what can be done if you've got the skills and knowledge.

    About intonation, you could also say that relatively small adjustments can sort out intonation problems a short scale guitar. But on a large scale guitar you may need to move the resting point at the bridge a reletively large distance for certain strings. Right?

    Anyway, that's true to my experiences. I had a compensated bridge made for a large scale Selmer style guitar many years ago. The compensation for the B string and one of the bass strings were almost frightening. The bridge of my current short scale Maccaferri style guitar only has a slight diagonal slant and the intonation is terrific.

    That's right; small adjustments have bold effects on short-scale guitars, and long-scales need more drastic work done. However, it's easier to fine-tune a long-scale than a short-scale, where just a file rub on a saddle can make a difference (if you measure with precision tools).

    And I agree with @Michael Bauer on original bridges; they were designed like that for a good reason, and it's wise to stick to them and do the necessary repairs, unless that's no longer an option.
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