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From “AKUSTIK GITARRE” No. 6 / 2003

 

“A true Master of her trade”

 

   ATELIER TRAUDT - CONCERT GUITAR “ARTIST GENTLE TOUCH” gentle102

 

 by Franz Holtmann

 

The name Cornelia Traudt stands for masterful guitar building. She has chosen the Alsacian countryside as her adopted place of residence, and has already found acclaim in these pages. Her concert guitar, "Artist Gentle Touch" once more demonstrates her resourcefullness in creating an instrument with a guitarbuilder's imagination and attention to detail.

Naturallly, the standards of traditional concert-guitar buidling principles are the main concern of Cornelia Traudt .Her forte however, proves that on the traditional and profound basis, there is still room for interesting details. It clearly shows the flexibility of the guitar-builder, who takes the Client's particular wishes into consideration to the greatest possible extend.

Her address Petersbach does not only sound German, it is indeed very close to the German border, situated in the beautiful countryside of the Northern Vosges range, which by itself makes your visit to her atelier worthwhile.

 

Construction

The basic form of the aside from the interesting changes favoring better handling, meets all criteria applicable to the traditionally known art of concert guitar building.

The body of the "Artist Gentle Touch is built with attractively grained massive rosewood. The two- part slightly curved fond is joined over a three-striped joint, covering the two mirror imaged halves, and is repeated in the edge inlay for the rosewood binding.

For the sound table, the builder favored fine alpine spruce with a slight hazel grain. Here, the innovation with regards to easy playing, which inspired the instrument's title, are clearly visible. The sides of the sound table are slightly carved in the lower front side, softly surrounding the cutaway. Initially, the visible contrast of light spruce with the dark palisandre appears like a traditional cutaway, but turns out to be a cut-out set in a shallow moulde which renders nearly the entire volume to the body, avoiding the stiffness of the instrument body, normally found in a traditional cutaway. This technique allows a much improved reach of higher notes, while leaving the guitar's full range of sonorous qualities. Diagonally accross, where the player's right arm rests, the sharp edge of the side was modified by an integrated ergonomic arm rest. The sinews and muscles of the player's arm are relieved and permit playing the instrument without tiring.

These two ingenious details were masterfully solved both technically and from a guitar builder's point of view. The neck is made of cedar wood, both sides of the head consist of rosewood. What other than deeply black ebony would be suited to build the fret board, which was extended over the sound hole to allow reach of a 20th fret. The latter bearing a charming inlay in the shape of dark wooden rosette as decoration. The masterfully clean and polished fret work reflect the high standard expected in such an instrument, however, the small helpful dots at frets 5 and 7 clearly exceed the latter.

Another player-friendly detail: The bridge of this guitar is made of rosewood and features exquisite mother- of -pearl and other inlays. The nut and the bridge-saddle are made of true mammoth bone. The beholder's eye is drawn to the sound hole and shows clearly structured catacombes with finely crafted transverse bars inside..The superb special shellack base hand polish is praiseworthy .The instrument is delivered in a high quality Hiscox "Pro" hard-shell case.

Sound and Playing characteristics

When the first couple of chords are struck, a finely tuned ear discerns the high quality of character Mme Traudt expects her instruments to be classified as. With ist wonderful balance, the Artist Gentle Touch resounds, the basic sound has ist own distinctive character which easily unites contrasts such as lightness and depth. Very quickly and with great ease a struck note develops, and as in an even reverberation, the quality of head note unfolds, giving the instrument breath and color. The bass register is endowed with high contour and long sustaining power, wich stay remarkably stable even beyond fret 12. The middle range notes are finely balanced without any prevailing dominance, rendering both warmth and strength to the sound. The true excellence is audible in the enhanced balance in the brilliance of the high note range, which does not sound harsh or cold, but soars to strong but soft heigths, their glass clear sound a tribute to the instrument's special character and its inherently beautiful light timbre.

These characteristics are very hard to achieve in themselves, particularly when considering that the art of joining precious woods, and endowing the instrument with its own individual and authentic sound,quality is already a major task.

The Artist Gentle Touch posesses such remarkable and characteristic sound features in all ranges, giving the player both encouragement and inspiration.The melody range reflects strength and clarity. Struck chords resound in excellent note quality as well as elegant harmony. Only when struck strongly, will an accompanying sound from adjoining strings be provoked in one or the other playing position, the strings are stretched tightly over the frets in the best possible position, which is why we can easily credit the instrument with an excellent arrangement of the strings.

Let us now take a look at the playing characteristics. They are not only convincing with regards to the easy reach of the fret board and its flat positioning of the strings, but further profit from the two additional features mentioned above. The Mould-Cutaway has blunted side edge bindings to reach the higher frets more easily, and to take the edge off crampy handling in this critical position. On the other side, the small arm rest willl definitely relieve the work of the right arm and improve playing the instrument.


When all aspects are considered, the Artist Gentle Touch combines craft and technical aspects with an elegantly light and highly indiviual sound texture, endowing it with just the "little extra" clearly distinguishing this masterfully built instrument from others.

 

gentle103

Model

Artist Gentle Touch

Scale

65 cm

Soundboard

Alpin Spruce, carved out

Back / Sides

Rosewood, massive

Neck

Cedro, both sides Rosewood

Fretboard

Ebony

Tuning machine

Gotoh

Bridge

Rosewood

Price

to inquire (Hiscox case inclusive)

Summary

In her Artist Gentle Touch, Cornelia Traudt has successfully combined excellent sound characteristis with small, player-friendly details to the classical traditional construction. She has brought forth a remarkable instrument full of personality.

Beyond the praisworthy advantages of well balanced chords, sustained and powerfully acticulated melody sound structures, you will find this guitar to have a highly individual timbre and persuasive charm.

The "French way of Life" has apparently found its way to the core of the guitar builder's creative power. Cornelia Traudt again proves to be a true master of her trade with refreshing ideas and elegant sound creation - "a la bonne heure" .

 

 

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