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woensdag 2 juli 2008

German Parlor Guitar / D. Julian Gomez Ramirez

Presented here is a German Parlor guitar with its'
neck loose from the body so no one was interested
in it. There were many of these guitars made in
Germany around 1900 but this one showed some nice 
woods e.g. rosewood sides and back and a narrow
grained top and for less than 100 Euro's you can
give it a try.

In fact I was further in the process here as at first it
was my goal to release the neck from the body that
had some give when moving forth and backwards.
Injecting water in the glue surfaces after having
removed the fingerboard from the twelfth fret on
made it possible to do so.

The lacquer used on a lot of these factory produced instruments
is quite heavy and that is resulting in white traces once damaged.
That was the case on the whole instrument so a lacquer remover
was the next step.

It has lasted quite while since the paint companies did overcome
the problems with a new process for making lacquer remover as
some ingredients were no longer allowed. The newer versions
are working again as can be seen here.

A close up from the spot where the neck had some play.

Maybe not visible in this picture but this bridge was cracked
and the black painted wood is a bit of a cheap move on an
otherwise very decent instrument.

On this picture one can see I made a new bridge out of
Madagascar rosewood, one of those woods that
sometimes do resemble Brazilian rosewood a bit.

I made this shot for investigators on wood as I found the same
quality and sort of rosewood on a very nice guitar, most likely
made by Edgar Monch, a bit a forgotten luthier that moved for 
a while to Canada and it is known that he produced guitars
for the local music shops in Germany later on.

Regluing and outlining the fingerboard is a next step but
after the frets have been (re)placed. Leveling the two 
parts of this fingerboard is hardly necessary when you
try to get as close as possible before replacing the outer
end of the fretboard. A kind of a herringbone inlay
around the sound hole and at the edges German luthiers
are known for. Germany exported these strips before 
world war II to factories like Martin but stopped during
the war and afterwards.

Then the relaquering of the front and apart from that:
Sides and back though I switch continuously as you
need more than one layer. About 8 thin layers give a
good result and of course polishing between every 
layer. The neck hasn't been refinished up until now.

The typical thing that I also discovered on other German 
parlor guitars is that the back often has been made out of 
one piece of wood. The Germans have always been good 
woodworkers and chances are that they treated the outside
only to make it look like rosewood but not in this case.

The herringbone inlays can be studied here as they often
did this with these guitars.

The newly made bridge that has a piece of fretwork mounted.
It is obvious that the angle neck / body has to be perfect here.

A nice shot of this beautiful piece of wood.

On this picture you can try to find any seam.

The extended fingerboard but only partly for the higher notes.

D. Julian Gomez Ramirez  ( 1879 - 1943 )

This instrument has been provided with a very strange plantilla.
It is known of course that luthiers used to experiment more than
in these times but Gomez Ramirez may also have built this
instrument on special request in 1917. We simply don't know. 
Later investigations learned that Sinier de Ridder once had an
identical example! So this is not one of a kind

Also the headform differs from his other instruments. Thoughts may
arise that it could be an instrument from another builder but the
soundboard has been signed by Don Julio Gomez Ramirez him-
self. Also the label seems to belong there and was there from the
beginning. Inner linings to not appear to be added in a later stage
so conclusions can be that this was intended the way it is.

Provided with EON tuners from French origin but this
guitar could have been originally built with tuning pegs
in order for more lightness. Wether if this instrument
really was intended as a flamenco guitar remains a
question. Cedar neck with ebony fingerboard.

As it is not the case with a lot of instruments known from
this luthier, this guitar has been built with Brasilian rosewood.
Its' scale is 655 mm. The condition is quite good regarding
the number of cracks, neck angle and playability etc.

The back has two insert for former cracks, both in the left
part of the back. This guitar is quite deep in comparison
to other instruments of that time. Therefore the basses are
sounding rich and deep. The balance is good and the higher
notes have a sweet voice though I expect this guitar once
played for a longer time will open itself even more.

As you might expect a bookmatched back of course.

Bone or maybe even an ivory scratchplate. The inlay in
the soundboard has been done securely and can be studied
in the mid of the lower part of this picture.

By clicking on this picture you are able to study the edge
inlay. Carefully done as can be expected from a top luthier.

Don Julio Gomez Ramirez didn't made that much elaborate
rosettes on his guitars and had to make a living sometimes
with the building of cheaper models. The inner workmanship
on this guitar is immaculate and special attention can be
asked for the strutting of the soundboard which is quite
extraordinary! I will come up with some pictures.

The silver inlay on the string tie block is another sign of 
the expensiveness this instrument must have had.

Not that elaborate but anyway: More than concentric circles
alone. The label is still in great shape though the ink with
which he dated, numbered and signed this guitar, has fainted.

Brasilian rosewood, allways nice to look at! This guitar
is probably veneered but that also explains why sides
and back are still in a good condition. The inner layer
of wood appears mahogany to my idea.

The label has been photograhed allready and that is
telling that this instrument was constructed especially
for Vincent de .........Possible instrument number 204
made in 1917 both written at the bottom. In between
Julian Gomez Ramirez placed his signature. You
can enlarge it by clicking on this picture.

This picture and the following ones are from about the same
model Sinier de Ridder once had. The endblock has been
stamped which is not the case in my guitar.

The same shorter head but no zero fret and according
to me the bridge mounted here is a later addition.

To make the fan bracing even longer Gomez Ramirez
made a kind of tunnel which he also did in my guitar.
Robert Bouchet lent this idea from his great inspirator,
Julian Gomez Ramirez and in tha way putted the
French lutherie regarding guitars "on the map".

2 opmerkingen:

j0najum zei

wow! its like a miracle for this guitar. I have lots of collections of guitars right now but would love to add more. This one is really interesting, Aside from its uniqueness also have the history.

DasPasKunst zei


This one is for sale as I'm planning to concentrate on the older French guitars and the history of the Spanish guitars coming from different cities.
You can find my e-mail at the top of this Blog.