Early ninetheenth century there were many French builders, perhaps hundreds, and most of them worked in Paris or in and around Mirecourt (the instrument building centre in the Lorraine region of France).
Because the luthier of this guitar is unknown, we call the instrument a Mirecourt guitar.
Mirecourt guitar of ±1827
bought this instrument at auction in Vichy, France, in 1995. The description
was "Guitare romantique, manche ébène, caisse érable.
Dans sa boîte origine. Nombreux accidents."
It is a typical guitar of the late 1820's or the early 1830's, with its classical shape and design, which we know from the guitar makers of Mirecourt or Paris.
Description: the table is of spruce back and sides of flamed maple ebony fingerboard and pin-bridge ebony veneered neck scale-length 63.5 16 frets. The addition of a seventh string was quite usual in the 1840's and 1850's, and recalls the music of Mertz and Coste."
"The collaboration with instrument builders like Bernhard Kresse
is necessary. Thanks to a responsible restoration by Bernhard this historic
instrument is in very good condition."
Raphaella Smits about playing this Mirecourt guitar
"Many guitarists and composers of the 19th century used instruments with an extended compass. Thus Legnani and Regondi played on guitars with 8 strings, Coste with 7 and Makaroff with 10 strings. Mertz went from a 6-stringed guitar to one with 8 strings and ended up playing one with 10 strings. Although the Schubert lieder were written for a guitar with 6 strings, they seem to me even better on a guitar with the extra bass string.
works which I have brought together for this recording* must, in my opinion,
have sounded brilliant, transparent and sensitive. The virtuoso passages
of Legnani require an instrument which speaks rapidly and on which the
different keys give many colours.
With regard to strings there are many types of materials, thicknesses and tensions possible. In the majority of cases this kind of instrument used gut strings, but that did not meet my requirements. After many experiments I chose a mixed alternative based on several types of D'Addario strings, all low tension."
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