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jaredjames uoltercarlos

Question about bracing for original grande bouche Selmacs

I'd read somewhere that Maccaferri's first grande bouche guitars were actually meant to be classical guitars. If this is true, then the original bracing was for nylon strings. Correct?

Do the more recent grande bouche guitars (such as my Gitane D-500) have a bracing like the original design?

I know that putting nylons on a normal steel-string guitar doesn't get the greatest results (though I know some who do it and enjoy the results) -- but if the original design was for nylons ... then shouldn't we be putting nylons on our grande bouche Selmacs?

Does this make any sense?
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Comments

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,249
    Your D500 is meant for steel strings and with its short scale length actually will do better with heavier stings (like Argie reds). There is some disagreement over the exact series of events that led up to the production of the first Mac Grande Bouche Steel string model, so I'm going to leave the answer to that question alone - but suffice it to say that the bracing on a Maccaferri 6 string steel (Grande Bouche 12 fret) and the bracing on a Selmer Classical (Grande Bouche also, but meant for gut) are different. The bracing for the classicals was a 7-strut radial fan on an essentially flat top - which is pretty much what you'd expect to see on a classical or gut stringed guitar. The steel string Macs were ladder braced and arched at the Bombe (or some say Pliage - though I guess technically they're not interchangeable terms) "Pliage" means fold and refers to the creased-top designs you might see on an old Selmer - and "Bombe" is intended to refer to the belly-like arch such as you might see on an old Favino or Busato.

    Mario Maccaferri was a classical guitarist though - that's what got him started in the guitar business. He loved performing and did so throughout his time with the Selmer company. I've heard two recordings of him and have to say - the old guy was pretty darned good.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • DjazzerDjazzer New
    Posts: 20
    I know that putting nylons on a normal steel-string guitar doesn't get the greatest results (though I know some who do it and enjoy the results)

    Does this make any sense?[/quote]
    Only if their sheer black and 15 denier.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,249
    Denier is a unit of measurement usually employed in the materials science world to describe the density of fabric - basically its how much a certain length of fiber would weigh. I'm not familiar with it as a unit of measurement for guitar strings though - and 15 denier would be positively microscopic if I understand scale of measurement for denier properly... normal nylon cloth is measured in the hundreds...

    But bottom line, he's probably trying to tell you the size of strings to use. Given that the tension for classical strings is lower - my "part educated guess and pard wild assed guess" is that the guy is trying to tell you to use larger ones or higher tension ones to get the tension up enough to load the top properly. As for the sheer black - he must believe the clear treble strings don't sound the same. I've heard people say the same thing about Wegen picks - preferring the White or the Black. I prefer the white ones but its because I don't lose them as readily. If Wegen made flourescent orange picks I'd buy those instead of the white ones... but my guess is that Wegen doesn't mind if we lose picks from time to time so I'm not holding my breath waiting on those orange ones ;)
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Posts: 597
    Ok, great responses so far. Thanks for the input.

    I don't think I'd want to put nylons on my Gitane. I guess it'd be a cool experiment (guess I'd have to widen the slots on the nut and find some ball-ended nylons--or just tie a really good knot).

    I wish someone would make a grande bouche classical in the Cigano budget area. Most seem to be $1K+!
  • Posts: 16
    ...I wish someone would make a grande bouche classical in the Cigano budget area...

    Me too. I would snag one of those in a heartbeat. Frankly, if I could buy a Saga Gitane nylon-string guitar at the same price and quality as the DG-300 I'd dive right in.
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 265
    Jeez, you guys need to put down your guitars for a few minutes. Djazzer was referring to these kind of nylons:

    48dupontnylon.jpg

    I'll let someone else make the Dupont joke.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,249
    The basic bracing and soundboard of a mac classical is pretty much what you're going to get on any classical instrument. It may differ in the number and bounding and placement of the struts - but it's the same basic concept - it's not like the steel stringed gypsy guitars where the design is really different to achieve a radically different sound (as in... highly arched ladder braced gypsy instrument vs. flat topped X braced instrument)

    So I guess what I'm saying - is if you want a cheap classical guitar... just go get one - like a Cordoba C5. They're not great, but they're not horrible. They're probably about as good for a classical guitar as a Cigano is for a gypsy guitar.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Posts: 597
    Bob Holo wrote:
    So I guess what I'm saying - is if you want a cheap classical guitar... just go get one - like a Cordoba C5. They're not great, but they're not horrible. They're probably about as good for a classical guitar as a Cigano is for a gypsy guitar.

    No, no -- I want a cheap grande bouche nylon-string guitar. I've already got the cheap gut boxes! :wink:
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    this whole thing about django just using argentines might not be true. from what i know, silk and steel strings were much more popular back then with acoustic guitar players who wanted a louder sound than classical.

    and, i know from my own experience with silk and steel strings, that it is a lot easier to get the sound with the rest stroke technique.
    Www.alexsimonmusic.com
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
    http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,249
    OK, I get it - you want the visual vibe as part of the package... yes, D-holes have a wonderful look.

    OH - as for strings - yes, depending on the instrument - I do like silk & steel and/or nickel - but mostly I use Argies. I like their sound even despite all their warts (ie. they don't last long & you have to twist them backward when you install them to make sure they aren't dead from the get-go.)
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
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