Regular visitors to the Grouse Guitars website will already know that I hold Gerard Gilet in the highest esteem amongst Australian luthiers.
This delightful classical guitar (a "flamenca negra" type), made by Gerard in 1998, is a classic (classical?) example of why I have the opinion I do of Gerard's guitars! Beautiful tonewoods (solid, fine-grained, bookmatched German Spruce top, with solid Indian Rosewood back and sides, Spanish Cedar neck with an Ebony fingerboard, and a beautiful Brazilian Rosewood face on the headstock and Amazon Rosewood bridge), combined with flawless workmanship combine to produce a guitar that looks just as elegant and beautiful as it sounds. Wikipedea describes the Flamenco Negra guitar as "Some modern flamenco guitars (flamenca negra), use similar materials to high-end classical guitars. These guitars hope to capture some of the sustain achieved by concert calibre classical guitars while retaining the volume and attack associated with flamenco."
This Gilet guitar was previously owned (from new) by a well-known Sydney-based musician who has apparently retired (he's two years younger than me!), so it shows some play wear (a little fingernail marking underneath the strings and more just outside the treble strings, and a small indentation or abrasion here and there), but overall has been very well cared for. The guitar had been fitted by the previous owner with removable clear golpeadores (tap plates) on the treble and bass sides of the top, but I removed these as they were added well into the guitar's life (the fingernail marks outside the treble strings were underneath the golpeadores - where the marks were completely invisible - showing that the golpeadores were a later addition). I have obtained new golpeadore sheets from Gerard Gilet, and these are included with the guitar, so the new owner can cut and fit them to their own preferences.
Like all of Gerard's guitars, the sound is fantastic, with the typical generous character which is still well-balanced across the spectrum. This is no doubt to some extent due to the bracing system, which is a radial bracing pattern. Gilet made many guitars with this bracing pattern starting in the early 90's up to around 2003, and is the same bracing used by Simon Marty. I have taken a couple of internal photographs of the guitar, looking back from underneath the soundhole, and these can be seen at the bottom of the 'more pictures' link below. Apologies for their quality!
Fingerboard width is 53mm at the nut, and 62mm at the 12th fret/body join. Action is typically low Flamenco (under 3mm on both treble and bass sides at the 12th fret), so the guitar has some of the typical flamenco buzz when played enthusiastically. Wikipedea explains the action on a Flamenco guitar thus; "The action or the height of the strings above the fingerboard is generally lower (<3mm at the 12th fret) than that of a classical guitar. This aids faster playing, especially during fast picado passages, but can lead to some fret buzz-also a frequent feature of the traditional ‘flamenco’ sound. Also, the lower string height greatly helps reduce fatigue of the left hand over lengthy performances."
The saddle is generously high (a good 4mm proud of the bridge), resulting in a good break angle and strong tone. For a player wishing to use the guitar more as a Classical than a Flamenco, they could shim the saddle or install a taller saddle to increase the action slightly. Body dimensions are; depth 3 13/16", upper bout 11", waist 9 1/2", lower bout 14 1/2".
The guitar comes with a high quality Canadian-made arch-topped plush-lined hard shell case.
The selling price represents a substantial saving on the price of a similar handmade Gilet guitar today, with the benefit of a decade of ageing and sensitive playing to bring out the full potential of this beautiful Australian-built guitar.
Sold to lucky Sydney buyer