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dinsdag 10 juni 2008

Juan da Montagne




This is most likely ment as a flamenco guitar regarding the cypress
back and sides. Though for a flamenco guitar quite heavy, I'm always
triggered in how such a guitar sounds for the classical guitar pieces
of Spanish composers. It has to be repaired at first as the head is
showing a crack. This looks more severe to non-luthiers as even a 
broken head can be fixed satisfactory. This guitar has been built
with a traditional 7 fan Torres bracing and no closing ribs.
Ebony fingerboard and bridge. The scale is 650 mm.


Nice pieces of figured cypress have been used for the back 
and also a lot of attention was dedicated to the bindings.
Typical for a real flamenco model the soundbox is less deep
than compared to a classical model. Jan van den Heuvel
was able to buy his woods in Germany as the Egmond
(Alpha) company had good contacts there. Scale 65 cm.


On this picture you are able to see the bindings better and
also the "reinforcement" layer in the neck.


In fact derived from a Torres head as well. Juan da Montagne
(or in Dutch: Jan van den Heuvel) often visited Spain in order
to learn from the famous guitarreros there. In the head itself
the French lily has been engraved also known as the "Fleur de
 Lis". The tuners are most likely from the German factory 
KOLB. Anyway good working and hand engraved and 
they work very well and smooth.


The tuners with, very strange, plastic knobs. But those knobs
made it possible to conclude these tuners to be from Kolb. As
mostly is the case with cheap plastic buttons: They are showing
a seam. These knobs are an exception, so no seam here!


A very tasteful rosette and an ebony bridge are making
this guitar a very nice instrument. Another feature is the doomed
top what makes it possible to construct with a thinner top
Question remains wether if this instrument has been built for 
the Egmond company for which van den Heuvel was an advisor 
or in his own workshop in Geldrop (The Netherlands).
His son claims this to be from his fathers own workshop.


A close up from the rosette. Regarding the traditional 7 fan bracing of
the top chances are big that Jan van den Heuvel was closely involved
in the design of the Alpha classical guitars that had a serie of 6 models.
These guitars were a big success on the Dutch market but being too
expensive to produce in a workshop with disabled people the selling 
price had to be lower than costs for producing these guitars and that
ment the end for the Alpha guitars and the former Egmond company.


The label says: Juan Reinier da Montagne: Modelo 23F.
Besides that the addition of a number: 701125 and most
likely a signature can be studied in the lower right corner
by clicking on this picture. The first two digits could mean
the year of production: 1970 but I'm not sure yet. All
these features have been added to the label in ink so it
could be as well that this was the 23th instrument van
den Heuvel has produced already moved from Australia
to the Netherlands back again with wife and kids.
Jan van den Heuvel died 15 years ago (around 2000)


The damage to the headstock has been repaired here and
in order to make things like new I've refinished the whole
neck. The outer ends of the frets were treated with a file 
that damaged the fretboard. Things are now the way they
should be again. This guitar produces a very even sound 
thorough the different frequency registers. Maybe not
the absolute top for which it misses a bit of character but
very well and neatly built and now again ready to serve
a player for probably a lifetime! This example definitely
is better suited for classical music as the sustain resembles
that of a classical guitar and the higher notes are sounding
very "rounded". And not the attack and immediate 

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