The project became confusing when it came to constructing the soundboard.
Plans (from Roy Courtnall) referred to bending each half of the soundboard in order to create an arch at the bridge position before joining. For me this was an unexpected complication.
Later construction plans available from R & F Charle also referred to a fold (pliage) at the bridge area to create a dome effect.
There is a photograph in The Story of Selmer Guitars, of the press used for gluing the centre join which maintained the angle of the bend in the soundboard.
There were makers of Maccaferri
type guitars on the web and I emailed asking their advice on this point, with
due respect for any refusal to give away confidential construction details. I received very
helpful advice from each of the makers, and found that
opinion was divided as to whether it was necessary to heat bend the arch in the
top or to form the arch with curved bracing.
The first time I heard the term "pliage" was on a visit to Paris. I was fortunate to be able to discuss whether the domed front was pre-bent with Madame Charle, when buying a copy of The Story of Selmer Guitars. She explained that there was a definite "pliage" (folding / pleating) across the soundboard behind the bridge area of the original Selmers she had studied.
Original Selmer Guitars -
The first opportunity to see the inside of an original Selmer was an article in a French magazine -
Guitarist Acoustic #6 (August / September 2005) had a photo-story recording the restoration of an original Selmer (No. 436) but did not describe the original design features.
The guitar was restored by Benoit
de Bretagne who has a website and guitar construction forum
which includes details of this restoration.
Benoit also has a large section on Guitares Manouches which includes construction techniques.
Leo Eimers, a highly regarded luthier and restorer based in the Netherlands has a whole section of his web site explaining the construction of the original Selmer guitars.
It seems, depending on who you ask, that there are a number of ways to form the arch in the soundboard -
Internal bracing alone, after gluing the soundboard halves together.
Scoring a line inside the soundboard halves, under the bridge area for the bend and heating, to form a crease (pliage) before gluing.
Heat bending by hand, without any scored line to form a gentle arch before gluing.
Heat bending with a jig, as shown by Michael Collins in his book on Selmer guitar construction.
Removing a tiny wedge from the inner edge of each soundboard half. before joining in a radius dish and go-bars - no heat involved.
Scoring a line and using a ruler and wedge to form a crease, as shown by Benoit de Bretagne.
Any more enlightenment on the construction of original Selmer Maccaferri guitars would be gratefully appreciated.
Pliage Construction Page 2
Home, Sides 1 - 2, Back, Front 1 - 2, Binding, Body, Neck 1 - 2, Neck & Body, Finishing
Contact Peter Davies at - firstname.lastname@example.org