Early Guitars and Vihuela

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I've admired the look of this guitar for several years and researched it as much as I could. I found some information on construction but not a lot, and I have never heard one, only comments from a few people who have. I decided to build one and have just completed it. I chose figured Cherry back and sides, Western Red Cedar top, Walnut neck, red spruce bracing and solid linings. Rosewood head plate, bridge and fingerboard. Ebony violin pegs. I was curious about this guitar since it used parallel bracing, and an oval sound hole. I know LaPrevotte made three versions (that's the information I have) and this is the one that is more or less plain. I used my bracing pattern to achieve the arched back and decided to do that for my first one but will carve the arch the back on the next. I made very few alterations from what I could tell but did add a very thin rosewood bridge plate. I have seen some builders use a tie block style bridge but all the originals I've seen had a pin bridge (more French I suppose) so that's what I made and have used bone pins, saddle and nut. I strung it up for the first time yesterday to finish the set up and am preparing to french polish it next week. I used ERG strings. It sounds warm and beautiful. I want to that Scot Tremblay for the Lacote side dimensions he suggested, perfect and I'm certain that accounts for much of the warmth. I'll post some photographs later if anyone would like to see it, pre-polished. Thanks for reading this.


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Photos will be appreciated! 

I'd like to see, for sure!

Hello and thanks! I went back into the shop and played it some more... it's ready for the finish sanding and a couple little tweaks. Then french polish. Forgot to mention that I also installed rosewood binding. That was interesting on this tight waist! Thank you again Scot, the side specs were perfect! Here are a couple photos. I made photos of the build process too, mostly so I wouldn't forget what I did! You may also notice I am adding a 17th, 18th full frets and a small 19th fret for the high E string. The orginal LaPrevotte was 15 frets. The scale length is 620 mm. and 46mm at the nut, 57mm at the 12th fret.





























































You did a great job. I'm very happy to have lent a tiny helping hand in such a pretty instrument.


For it's time, it really was a radical experiment. Although there were a lot of different things going on at the same time that we don't see too much about these days.

Hello Scot and thank you! I find it interesting that there  were so many things going on with lutherie at that time... it seems to me the guitars of that era exhibited much more character than modern acoustics, which seem pretty much all the same to me with a few exceptions. I also find these are the only guitars I am interested in building! I may experiment a little more with the LaProvette design..., not much... just a little!

My slightly modified LaPrevotte copy is finished... this bracing system had me holding my breath when I first strung it up... I relaxed after playing a bit. Thanks again for the advice Scot! The side dimensions were perfect for this guitar,

Beautiful, Robert. What are the tuners in the last photo?

Hello Scot, thank you! The tuners are Grover friction tuners. I wanted to try them to see how they worked and I liked the smaller knobs on them. They're okay, but just okay and I guess I'll put on some PegHeds but I wasn't all that thrilled with the PegHeds I put on the Martinez, they worked fine but were Flamenco style and the knobs (buttons) were larger than I liked. If you know a better alternative for these peg head styles please let me know... I'm not sure if Rogers makes them or not. I do like the solid peg heads. By the way, I have another Martinez in the works. You were right and I really do like the Lacote side dimensions. Seem to be perfect. Thanks!

I've been told that Pegheads have introduced a more "historical" looking knob but I have not seen them so cannot comment further on them. They don't seem to have them listed on their website either.


Alessi Tuning Machines makes the Lacote Style which are superb...they are costly but worth every cent. I don't know if Rodgers makes the peg style tuner as they offer the Lacote inset tuners. But you might ask...I've never had occassion to ask so don't know. 



Are these the 'historical' style pegs you refer to, Scot?  (Type945C):  For Guitar - PEGHEDS TM

Thank you Scot and John, I've been keeping my peg head thickness at 15 to 16 mm.  I certainly do not want to scrimp when it comes to tuning machines after working weeks on a guitar... The Alessi Machines look perfect. 

Those must be the ones, John. They don't look too bad. I think those will appeal to the early guitar bunch more than the violin style.


I know a couple luthiers who cut the knobs off the regular style and fit wood or bone replacements. Seems like a lot of work to me but I might give the type 945c a try.


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