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Couesnon bracing

in FAQ Posts: 28

Hi there need some advice re bracing. I recently purchased a 1950's Couesnon GJ guitar as a basket case to restore for regular playing. Just got the back off and it is very lightly braced. Only two on the top (above sound hole and behind bridge) and two on the back the same. Its construction is thin spruce top, solid maple sides, two ply maple and mahogany back. Problem is that the top (flat) is concave around the sound hole due to back coming away from neck block and the fingerboard diving into sound hole, the lower bout behind the bridge has bowed up eg pivoting on the single lower bout brace and splitting the top at the lower bout extremities. I can restore it all back to factory spec. But should i? Im worried that the design has some inherent weakness when strung up the force on the bridge will pivot the top again which will no doubt have some residual weakness. Should i add in more bracing? Even very thin. Vertical either side of sound hole? Or more? My restoration experience is all archtops and flat tops. Never seen such light bracing! Thought GJ guitars had more bracing than the rest. Dont want to kill the unique GJ sound


wimBuco
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Comments

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,319

    Interesting project. I'm not a repair guy so no clue but please keep us posted on how it goes. Thx

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2020 Posts: 872

    I am not a repair guy either but own a Couesnon F-hole GJ guitar and it is extremely light with light bracing. I have a Hahl which is built like a tank so I think it depends on maker and era. My biggest concern is the top will drop one day as the guitar feels fragile but have had it yrs and it seems fine.

  • Posts: 28

    Thanks for your comments. Scoredog how does the light Couesnon sound in relation to the heavier guitar. Is light a good thing?

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 872

    All guitars appear to be different...the Couesnon is a pure simple tone, sometimes that's perfect sometimes I want something else, that said I love the sound of my guitar. Was thinking of selling it after quite a few yrs of owning but will keep it. I have played light guitars that are really loud and some that are softer...most heavy guitars I have played have not been loud but my Hahl projects fairly well.


    here is an example of my Couesnon guitar...



    BucoMarkA
  • Posts: 28

    Sounds lovely thanks for that. I notice some have zero frets and other Couesnons dont from the same era. Is that the original fret board?

  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc et.al. // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    Posts: 600

    here's a couple of 'back-off' pics from my Rene Gerome's restoration (another 1950's Mirecourt guitar, like your Couesnon) - one pic shows the location of original 'minimal' bracing, the second after I'd instructed my repairman to add in some Selmer style H style bracing directly under the bridge feet: I felt lack of support under the bridge had contributed to the lateral cracks in the top. To my ears it still sounds great.



  • Posts: 28

    Andy

    Thanks very useful. I think a similar approach is for me, if for no other reason than future proofing, once i get the top flat it will need some help to stay there! The trick i guess is to keep it all light bracing. Good to see they all attended the same Mirecourt school of cleating! Although i think mine left the factory like that.

    AndyW
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 872
  • Posts: 28

    The finished restoration. Has turned out ok. It has a hint of that nasal terse sound but is often quite clean sounding. Well mannered not raucous like the Sicilian ones ive got.


    rudolfochristBucoScoredogbillyshakesmac63000
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,319

    Pretty. What finish material did you use? Nitro?

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