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Lehmann guitars - who has played? Comparison to others?

Hi,

Has anyone had the opportunity to play Lehmann Manouche or Eclipse models, and had the opportunity to compare them to other guitars? I think his guitars look wonderful, but would be interested in hearing the opinions of those who have actually been able to play them.

Whad did (or do) you like about the guitar?
Are there any things you would change about the guitar?
If you had the opportunity to compare the guitar against other gypsy jazz guitars, what did you like or dislike about the Lehmann?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts,
John

Comments

  • BobFaillaBobFailla Jersey City, NJ✭✭
    Posts: 13
    It just so happens, that I played a Lehmann Eclipse last week at Mandolin Bros. He was described to me as an "eclectic" builder from upstate NY. The sound was fine, great midrange and good treble. Good volume overall. The neck fit my hand well and was comfortable. Really no complaints sound-wise. What I didn;t like was some of the aesthetics. The pickup was cut into the soundboard right behind the end of the fretboard and a round volume control was cut in just below it. There was an oval cutout in the side of the guitar, about two by one inches, which faces you as you play, and this was described as a sort of monitor, so you can hear yourself play. Buscarino also does this on his classical guitars with a fleur de lis pattern. You can see all the inside of the instrument through it also. Pick removal is very easy. Again though, this was a really good sounding instrument.
    I also played two Dell'arte models and a Michael Dunn Belleville. I set my sights on either of the Dell'arte's, for overall sound and comfort of the neck. The Dunn was great looking and sounding, but the neck was a bit wide to me. Hope this helps.
    Regards,
    Bob
  • BobFaillaBobFailla Jersey City, NJ✭✭
    Posts: 13
    It just so happens, that I played a Lehmann Eclipse last week at Mandolin Bros. He was described to me as an "eclectic" builder from upstate NY. The sound was fine, great midrange and good treble. Good volume overall. The neck fit my hand well and was comfortable. Really no complaints sound-wise. What I didn;t like was some of the aesthetics. The pickup was cut into the soundboard right behind the end of the fretboard and a round volume control was cut in just below it. There was an oval cutout in the side of the guitar, about two by one inches, which faces you as you play, and this was described as a sort of monitor, so you can hear yourself play. Buscarino also does this on his classical guitars with a fleur de lis pattern. You can see all the inside of the instrument through it also. Pick removal is very easy. Again though, this was a really good sounding instrument.
    I also played two Dell'arte models and a Michael Dunn Belleville. I set my sights on either of the Dell'arte's, for overall sound and comfort of the neck. The Dunn was great looking and sounding, but the neck was a bit wide to me. Hope this helps.
    Regards,
    Bob
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    Hi John,

    I replied to this on the UK forum also, but thought I'd mention something here as well. The gist of my first reply was that I think the Lehmanns are great guitars, but not necessarily the best instrument if you're looking for a guitar just for Gypsy Jazz. The aesthetics that Bob mentions could surely be changed if you were special ordering an instrument, but for the money you'd spend I've heard what I think are better instruments for Django style playing.

    I should mention that Bernie notes on his site that his 'gypsy' guitars are offered with "either traditional bracing or contemporary bracing". I assume 'traditional' means Selmer-style. I can't say which version I played...

    Best,
    Jack.
  • bbwood_98bbwood_98 Brooklyn, NyProdigy Vladimir music! Les Effes. . Its the best!
    Posts: 421
    Hi fellas,
    I was recently in bernies shop (while doing some gigs with Duane andrews at the Rochester Jazz fest). He builds a great, though very much not traditional gypsy jazz guitar. The astetic things that you disliked could be changed with a phone call- thats what luthier built guitars are all about. I personally like the side soundhole; though I wish he built in a way to close them off . . . The guitars are loud, and as already mentioned have a great midrange punch. Very cool.
    You can check out a photo of us at Bernie's shop at http://www.lehmannstrings.com/headstocknews.htm
    Cheers,
    B.
  • BobFaillaBobFailla Jersey City, NJ✭✭
    Posts: 13
    Hello again! Thanks for the website B, it got my interest. Nice to know about the modifications, Mandolin Brothers only had that one model.
    Regards,
    Bob
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,243
    Bernie's "contemporary" bracing is X bracing. X bracing allows you to have (among other things) stability in multiple vectors with fewer braces... more of the soundboard is free to do its thing. His guitars (the 4 or so I've played) were loud and had a pleasant dry "brap" to them without being abrasive. I liked them and was amazed that they weren't selling out quickly - maybe the X bracing throws people. It's a legit way to brace a top though - it's been around for a long time and is fairly well understood. I found the tone to be fine - a little richer than a really dry sounding old-school European rig, but not a detriment.

    I like the secondary soundhole - it is the shiznit. Not only is it a monitor - it tunes the guitar lower. If you tap the top and cover/uncover that sound hole, the tone goes up/down almost two full tones which adds a weight/authority to the sound. You retain most to all of the bite of a Petite Bouche - and you gain a Big'ol Grande Bouche voice.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • pmh425pmh425 Middle Island, NY✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 86
    I tried a number at a guitar show in NY (Long Island) last year and again in the spring and was very impressed with them. They sounded wonderful (and loud) and some have a sound port that not only helps the player hear the guitar better but also 'opens' up the sound. Bernie Lehmann was there and was happy to explain his approach. They are not (nor meant to be) an exact copy of a Selmer style instrument but, that said, I would buy one in a second if I had the funds.

    Wonderful instruments.
    -Peter
  • John BJohn B New
    Posts: 3
    Thanks for all of your responses!
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