Selmac Grand Bouche

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Dave M
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Selmac Grand Bouche

Post by Dave M » Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:02 am

I was listening to this chap the other day: Joscho Stephan, who is very good - these guys must have the highest work rate than any guitarists other than Flamenco players - but I was struck by that huge soundhole.

Presumably there must be a huge amount of support in the upper bout and around the hole...? Does the bracing structure differ much from the small mouth version?
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jeffhigh
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Re: Selmac Grand Bouche

Post by jeffhigh » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:30 am

There should be, but often there is not.
I repaired a 70's grand Bouche can't remember the brand which was severely distorted around the soundhole resulting in very high action.

jeffhigh
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Re: Selmac Grand Bouche

Post by jeffhigh » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:42 am

There should be, but often there is not.
I repaired a 70's grand Bouche can't remember the brand which was severely distorted around the soundhole resulting in very high action.

blackalex1952
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Re: Selmac Grand Bouche

Post by blackalex1952 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 1:08 pm

The original Selmer Maccaferri design featured the large soundhole, ie "Grande Bouche" along with an extra internal soundbox and reflector. This had the effect of having two air modes, one for each soundbox. However the internal soundboxes often rattled loose, so the simple solution was to remove the internal soundbox resulting in the Grande Bouche and its characteristic sound. Selmer then went on to produce the modified 14 fret "Petit Bouche" following a period of experimentation as the new model was developed. When a soundhole is made smaller, the air resonance inside the body of the guitar is lowered. The petit bouche design also had the effect of "focussing" the guitars sound, rather than the result with the Grand Bouche of spreading the sound a little. At least thats what they sound like to me. The one thing that Selmer didn't change during the evolution towards the petit bouche models, is the bracing either side of the soundhole. Same dimensions and same brace position....The petit bouche models suffer from cracking either side of the fingerboard, so some builders modify this area with a veneer or some kind of bracing. I don't know if the grande bouche models suffer from the same issue, but most likely IMOP. Bear in mind that the area around the soundhole is often reinforced to be double the thickness of the soundboard. Cheers! Ross
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Dave M
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Re: Selmac Grand Bouche

Post by Dave M » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:09 am

Thanks Ross, interesting.

Do I take it that you make these? That bracing certainly looks weird when we are all used to the x or fan bracing

And Jeff at least getting into the box would be fairly easy!
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blackalex1952
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Re: Selmac Grand Bouche

Post by blackalex1952 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:17 pm

Yes, I've had a go at a few Selmeroids! They are not at all like x braced guitars to build or understand. The ladder bracing favours long dipole and tripole modes and suppresses the cross dipole and tripole for a start. The neck angle is a critical factor so that it gives around 18-19mm bridge height and the subsequent break angle over the bridge. The design calls for a pliage or bend in the soundboard and this coupled with the curved bracing creates a compound curved soundboard. Because the soundboard is so arched the soundboard resonance is higher than an x braced guitar would be. Soundboards, due to the arching, are often thinner than an x braced instrument. Back and sides were traditionally laminated, although solid B&S is also an option.
Just thinking about my previous post and your question, I have seen Joscho with a guitar that is a bit of a hybrid, the soundhole is not as large as a grande bouche but still larger than a petit bouche.
Do a search on this forum for all posts re Selmer etc...lots of reading here...
Cheers! Ross
"Everything I say on the topic is based solely upon inexperience and assumption!"

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nkforster
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Re: Selmac Grand Bouche

Post by nkforster » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:41 pm

My Grandfather had a Selmer. You can read about it here:

https://www.nkforsterguitars.com/blog/i ... er-guitar/

The top varied slightly in thickness, but most of it was around 1.4mm thick.

It is a spectacular sounding guitar.

blackalex1952
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Re: Selmac Grand Bouche

Post by blackalex1952 » Tue Sep 17, 2019 12:55 pm

Thanks Nigel...most interesting...1.4mm???!!!! Woo hoo! Cheers! Ross
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