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2013 Francois Baudemont Petite Bouche
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Signed and dated by the builder: 2013, inscribed under soundboard
Body size at lower bout: 15 3/4" (400mm). Scale length: 26 3/8" (670mm) Nut Width: 1 11/16" (43mm) Neck depth: .93/ .99, 1st/10th frets
Materials: Bookmatched solid red cedar top; solid flame maple back and sides; solid walnut neck; solid ebony fingerboard; purpleheart headstock facing and body binding.
Hardware: Original gold hardware includes RM Selmer style tailpiece, 3 on a plate tuners, solid ebony bridge; double acting truss rod; clear scratchplate.
Notes: The village of Montaut is located in the historic Occitane region of southern France, near the spectacular medieval city of Carcassonne. Perhaps the best known of the 46 residents of this rustic commune is the luthier Francois Baudemont, who crafts an impressive array of gypsy guitars in a wide variety of styles and materials.
This guitar is a particularly handsome example of Baudemont's Modele Petite Bouche. Built in the style of the classic Selmer Modele Jazz, this long scale design is renowned as the instrument of choice for lead guitarists in the Manouche tradition, including the legendary Django Reinhardt himself. Built of all solid tonewoods, this striking instrument shows deep flame figure in its curly maple body, with a soundboard of lightweight bookmatched red cedar, a neck of solid black walnut, and dramatic purpleheart trim.
At just 3lb 14oz (1.8kg), the guitar is notably light in weight and resonant, with a vintage style hand-applied French polish finish. Laborious and time-intensive, this traditional varnish finish is feather light, allowing the soundboard to vibrate with a minimum of interference.
The guitar has smooth low action over a fresh high-precision setup on the flattened D profile neck, with a solid ebony fingerboard. The vintage look is completed with an RM Selmer style tailpiece, and the adjustable double-acting truss rod offers precise adjustability for the contemporary player. This fine example is in all original condition, without buckle or thumb or fingerboard wear, and showing only some typical pickwear around the clear scratchplate.
The voice is bright and forward, with excellent clarity and focus, ideal for biting leads and aggressive comping. A video clip of the builder demonstrating this instrument himself is posted here. Truly a best buy in a genuine handbuilt French gypsy jazz guitar. One only: call now.
Setup: This instrument is strung with light gauge (.10) silvered steel strings, and will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference.
Case: Original arched black plush lined hardshell case.