Did everybody receive the last newsletter from Michael mentioning the new guitars from Manouche, including the 14 fret Orchestre? As it turns out, I have one, the only one in the U.S. actually. I haven't even had it a week. So here is my impression of the new addition to my guitar family.
First off, the guitar is the loudest acoustic I've ever owned. I had a chance to play it in a non-amped/mic-ed duet gig this weekend with my fiddle player. My other guitars have no chance keeping up with the acoustic volume of a piercing violin. But this gig was different because of the Manouche. I was heard clearly, even when soloing, all the way to the back.
Second, tone. Strikingly, this guitar has an amazing deep dark, rich tone. When soloing, using the proper gypsy picking technique and a 3mm pick, it comes alive without buzz. When playing 'le pompe' rhythm style it achieves a nice sharp attack with a big envelope of tone that follows.
Third, craftsmanship. Manouche guitars are nothing short of pretty and the 14 is no exception. The wood used, especially the rosewood back and sides is some of the best I've seen. Take a look at the detailed images here: http://manouchenorthamerica.com/
So, if you are interested in having a dark D-hole counterpart to your bright oval-hole while still keeping the 14 fret mobility and versatility this is a guitar worth checking out.
Lovingly, Johnny 'One Tear' Sandlin
of Le Chat Lunatique, mangy jazz and gypsy swing