The North American Guitar | Visit Our Nashville Showroom

Build Thread: Bouchereau Guitars - MJ.C and Mistral

We are so delighted to have recently announced that we are working with Bouchereau Guitars and we have just received our first two instruments from luthier Loïc Bortot.

We kept in close contact with Loïc throughout the build to follow the process of each of these guitars and have an insight into his methods. We hope you enjoy this thread...

The Guitars

Bouchereau Mistral Acoustic Guitar,  Indian Rosewood & German Spruce

 

"The Mistral (OM) model is made from Indian rosewood and German Spruce. I decided to go with Indian Rosewood for the binding as well, underlined with a subtle maple veneer purfling (as you can see on the back strip)."
Specifications

- Mistral model (OM), serial number #020
- Scale length: 25.34
- General geometry: Raised fingerboard, 30 feet radius top, 16 feet radius back, 14th fret neck / body joint
- Neck construction: Carbon reinforced, double acting truss rod, scarf jointed head angle, one piece jointed heel block
- Body construction: solid sides, laminated Spanish cedar linings
- String spacing: 1.5
at the nut, 2.25at the saddle
- Tuning machines: Gotoh 510 21:1, chrome with black buttons
- Strings: Elixir nanoweb phosphor bronze .012-.053
- Finish: Clear gloss polyurethane, satin finish neck
- Frets: 22, medium size, stainless steel
- Magnetic truss rod cover
- Case: Hiscox Pro II OM
 -Top: German spruce (Picea Abies)
- Back / sides: Indian rosewood (Dalbergia Latifolia)
- Neck: Honduran mahogany (Swietenia Macropylla)
- Fingerboard / bridge: Indian ebony (Diospyros Ebenum)
- Headplates (front and back): Indian rosewood (Dalbergia Latifolia) - Binding: Indian rosewood (Dalbergia Latifolia)
- Bridge pins: Indian ebony (Diospyros Ebenum)
- Nut / saddle: Bone
- Fret markers: 3/32
copper ring
- Rosette: Indian rosewood, radial grain
- Back strip: Indian rosewood with white trim, full length
- Endgraft: 0.25
Indian rosewood stripe
- Top purfling: 0.3mm black / white
- Back / sides purfling: 0.5mm white (maple)
- Fingerboard binding: Ebony with 0.3mm white trim

 

"The MJ.C (Mini-jumbo) model comes in quite a fancy spec, with a stunning set of tightly grained Cocobolo rosewood, paired with high grade Swiss Moon Spruce. It will feature a Florentine cutaway and a "squared" arm bevel. I think the back didn't need any back strip addition, as the beauty of the wood speaks for itself. The binding for the guitar will be black ebony with thin maple purfling."
"Of course, both guitars feature solid laminated linings, carbon reinforced mahogany neck, either Schertler or Gotoh 510 tuners, Hiscox Pro II hard case."
Specifications

- MJ.C model (Mini-Jumbo), serial number #021
- Scale length: 25.34

- General geometry: Raised fingerboard, 30 feet radius top, 16 feet radius back, 14th fret neck / body joint
- Neck construction: Carbon reinforced, double acting truss rod, scarf jointed head angle, one piece jointed heel block
- Body construction: laminated sides, laminated Spanish cedar linings
- String spacing: 1.5
at the nut, 2.25at the saddle
- Tuning machines: Schertler open gear 18:1, silver with ebony buttons
- Strings: Elixir nanoweb phosphor bronze .012-.053
- Finish: Clear gloss polyurethane, satin finish neck
- Frets: 22, medium size, stainless steel
- Magnetic truss rod cover
- Case: Hiscox Pro II OM
-Top: Swiss Moonspruce (Picea Abies)
- Back / sides: Cocobolo rosewood (Dalbergia Retusa)
- Neck: Honduran mahogany (Swietenia Macropylla)
- Fingerboard / bridge: Indian ebony (Diospyros Ebenum)
- Front headplate: Cocobolo rosewood (Dalbergia Retusa) - Back headplate: Black veneer
- Binding: Indian ebony (Diospyros Ebenum)
- Bridge pins: Indian ebony (Diospyros Ebenum)
- Nut / saddle: Bone
- Fret markers: 3/32
copper rings
- Rosette: Cocoblo rosewood, radial grain - Back strip: None
- Endgraft: 0.25ebony stripe
- Top purfling: 0.3mm black / white
- Back / sides purfling: 0.5mm black / white
- Headstock binding: chamfered ebony with 0.3mm white trim - Fingerboard binding: Ebony with 0.3mm white trim
- Florentine cutaway
- Squaredarm-bevel

 

The Build Process

     
"Pictures 15 to 28 show different angles of the two boxes about to be closed. I particularly love this step of the building, because it allows many construction details to be seen all together. Seeing the “guts” of the guitar like this is quite a satisfying thing to me as a builder, and it leaves a lot to talk about.
So, once the back has been fully braced and carved, and the side rim is fully assembled; it is time to marry the back and the sides together. I glue the back first, which allows me to clean up the dripping glue quite easily, while also making the shellac sealing process easier. When it comes to assembling the side rim (as well as any element of the guitar), I try to make every little part connecting as precisely as possible. It doesn’t seem like much but having all those pieces tightly connected together, especially all the lining elements, is crucial for avoiding any unwanted stress on the top or back when the guitar is under string tension. In that regard,
I also try to avoid any sharp corner to be glued directly on the top or back. You can see the precise assembling work quite well on pictures 15 to 21. About the back: My current approach involves a very active back. The backs of my
guitars are braced with four parallel Sitka spruce bars (I only use Sitka spruce bracing for its excellent mechanical properties). The tension applied by the strings to the back is not quite as important as on the top, especially when you have a very stiff side rim construction like mine. I keep the upper bar of the back pretty high and strong (about 15mm), to counter the torque applied in this area by the tension on the neck. The three lower bars however, are here to provide a good tonal
response. I usually shape them with a parabolic profile, going from around 9mm in the center down to 2mm at the tips. It makes a huge difference in the final result, having a very dynamic back like this provides the guitar with a great harmonic complexity and also gives the back tonewood a greater role in the tonal coloration.
About the top: You can see on picture 29 the double X bracing pattern I currently use. This particular pattern is the result of a lot of empirical experience and I have been using it for a while now. It will eventually evolve, as I think guitar building is an endless learning process. I am really happy with the results I get out of it. It gives a great, well distributed strength to the top, and provides a strong low fundamental note. It helps my guitars to get that deep grumbly bass response and sharp, clear trebles, while avoiding any unwanted top deformation."

"Now it’s time to close the boxes, by gluing the top to the side rim. When the boxes are fully assembled, I can trim the top and back excess, and proceed with the final voicing of the box. At this point, you can hear the result of the back and
top really working together. I have been using frequency testing a lot at the beginning, but now I try to mainly use my ears. I use the tap tone technique to get a low and long lasting fundamental note and also to get an idea of the top and back interval. This is when (most of the time) I remove a bit of thickness to the top outline, as you can see on pictures 37 and 38. I remove about 0.3mm around the vibrating area of the top, under the waist, to lower the fundamental note of the top, and increase the “pump” action between the top and back. It is actually amazing what difference 5 grams of spruce can make!"

"Lastly, on picture 39, I tried to get a glimpse of the “Moon” spruce grain on the MJ
model, which has a bit of Bearclaw figure to it. It’s going to look amazing."
"About the back: My current approach involves a very active back. The backs of my
guitars are braced with four parallel Sitka spruce bars (I only use Sitka spruce bracing for its excellent mechanical properties). The tension applied by the strings to the back is not quite as important as on the top, especially when you have a very stiff side rim construction like mine. I keep the upper bar of the back pretty high and strong (about 15mm), to counter the torque applied in this area by the tension on the neck. The three lower bars however, are here to provide a good tonal
response. I usually shape them with a parabolic profile, going from around 9mm in the center down to 2mm at the tips. It makes a huge difference in the final result, having a very dynamic back like this provides the guitar with a great harmonic complexity and also gives the back tonewood a greater role in the tonal coloration."
"About the top: You can see on picture 29 the double X bracing pattern I currently use. This particular pattern is the result of a lot of empirical experience and I have been using it for a while now. It will eventually evolve, as I think guitar building is an endless learning process. I am really happy with the results I get out of it. It gives a great, well distributed strength to the top, and provides a strong low fundamental note. It helps my guitars to get that deep grumbly bass response and sharp, clear trebles, while avoiding any unwanted top deformation."
 
    
 
 
 
 
 
We'd like to thank Loïc for taking the time to give us such an in-depth thread on these builds. 
For more information on Bouchereau Guitars please call us on  (UK) +44 (0) 207 835 5597, (US) +1 615-383-8947 or email us on hello@thenorthamericanguitar.com.
Have a lovely weekend,
Annie.

Leave a comment

Please note: comments must be approved before they are published.

Continue shopping
Your Order

You have no items in your cart