A network for historic guitars and vihuelas
This is my first post to the group - I hope I do not mess it up....
I am looking for plans or drawings for a 7- or 8-string Lacote-type guitar. I have tried the Internet with no luck. Perhaps I just need the "right" search phrase. The closest thing I have found so far is the decacorde at EUCHMI.
I know the guitars are out there, does anyone have suggestions for tracking down plans or drawings for this type of guitar?
Any help will be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your attention to my query.
Hey Bradley. As far as I have seen there are no published plans for the 7 string Lacote or 8 string Stauffer types. You will most likely have to extrapulate the extra design features from museum visits or online/book/magazine photos and base the final design on the original 6 string instrument plans which are easily available. That's how most of us period guitar builders worked it out until we got our hands on originals to make our own plans. Of the Lacote and Stauffer multi-string instruments, these don't come around very often, if at all.
Other than the EUCHMI drawings of the Lacote Decachorde (I have another plan of a different Lacote Decachord as well but I don't remember where I got it) the only other multi-string guitar plan that I'm aware of is of the 10 string Scherzer, available from Matanya Ophee. I've built a couple and it's an interesting challenge to build for sure. Not one I'd recommend unless one had plenty of experience.
Thank you, Scott. I was wondering (and fearful?) that it might be necessary to modify an existing design. I wasn't sure if that was considered "OK". I may just jump in and go that way.
Hi, here is an interesting description of Bernhard Kresse on Raphaella Smits' Mirecourt guitar on her website:
According to Kresse, the conversion of 6-string to 7-string was "quite usual". I wonder if the converted guitar could stand for the additional tension of the 7th string...
Thank you, Akira. Between your and Scott's advice, I may just try my hand at a "conversion". I will try to keep the group informed on how this project goes.
The "conversion" thing was a very common and totally acceptable way to add strings to a guitar in the 19th century. Some involved an expertly done new bridge and additional piece to the peghead, some a reworking of the bridge to insert a piece (which can be almost imperceptable) and some just crudely added a chunk to the bridge and peghead. Raphaellas Mirecourt instrument is a prime example of this latter conversion.
The GAL seven string instrument plan is close to the Viennese/Stauffer style but has a few differences. As it's a Russian guitar it is made to be tuned to the Russian guitar tuning which is a G major chord (D', G', B, D, g, b, d'). The string length of a Russian guitar (19th century) is generally shorter than the European at about 585mm. Stauffer generally used one of three 598, 607 and 610. Some of the later builders (Reis, Reisinger, Scherzer) generally worked with 640mm and sometimes a bit longer. The bracing of the GAL guitar is based on Stauffer but not quite as refined.
It would be an interesting plan to build from but I think getting the Stauffer and/or Lacote plan from EUCHMI would actually suit your desire much better. With the GAL Russian seven string plan there would be quite a bit of adjusting to do to get back to the 7 string Stauffer style. Whereas with the EUCHMI plans you only need to make the bridge a little longer to accept the seven or eight pegs and add the rider to the peg head, an easy thing to do. I'd recommend using pegs or you could use regular mechanical tuners with a little tinkering. Unless you are good at metal work, the slipper/six to a side Stauffer tuners are difficult to obtain in configurations other than 6. Rodgers may make them for you at a big price and Rubner in Germany (they also carry the key mechanism) will not do them...maybe if enough of us ask they might reconsider. However, Stauffer occassionally used three to a side tuners rather than the slipper, six to a side, tuners (I have an instrument from the Stauffer workshop with three to a side tuners). The Lacote would be no problem as he often used pegs or mechanical tuners.
There are lots of photos on line that will give you an idea what can be done and still be "authentic".
Here's a few: