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Report from magazine “AKUSTIK GITARRE” january 2001

 

“Delicious”

 

   ATELIER TRAUDT - CONCERT GUITAR “ARTIST SPECIAL” Artist Special_1

 

by Franz Holtmann

From the beautiful Elsass area of France comes this elegant handmade concert guitar with a rounded cutaway and extended fingerboard. Something also eye and ear catching, together with the well-rounded pleasing design of the instrument, is her use of regional woods, which are not only visually attractive, but also give an interesting color and tone.

 

Construction

You have to give it to the mountain plum: in structure and design it is as good as any tropical woods. But because it seldom comes from thick tree trunks the bottom of the “Artist Special” is made not from the usual two pieces, but rather with four. Artist Special_2The construction is done using strips of dark and light wood which gives a very nice picture. The pieces are also set in a mirrored fashion and enclosed with black inlay and bindings of flamed maple. The sides are also made of attractive dark and light structured wood. A very high degree of craftsmanship shows with the flowing design of the cutaway, which also gives the player better access to the higher frets than with a standard design. A decorative and very fine parallel structured piece of European spruce is used for the top of the “Artist” and is also enclosed with bindings of flamed maple. The dark elegant rosette accentuates the soundhole from the bridge which is made of ebony and inlayed with mother-of-pearl. The neck is of beautiful Cedro with a relatively short length of 63 cm and a fingerboard of fine ebony which extends its small nose over the soundhole with a couple of extra frets. This results in the player having for the two upper strings three more frets than the usual 19, giving you a high D. Also she has included small dots in mother-of-pearl on the side of the neck to help in finding the correct positions in the upper reaches. The highly polished fret wires are fairly low and are perfectly fitted in aspects.

Another interesting and impressive piece of work is the double-sided piece of plum for the head which is also handworked making it a small miniature of the body design. The mechanics are gold-plated from Schaller with ebony tuning keys, but you can also have the luxurious mechanics from Rodgers if desired. The top, with a quick look inside, shows the traditional bracing and the typical Traudt perfection of detail. The guitar is perfectly hand-polished with shellac which turns a Cinderella into a beautiful princess.

 

Sound & Playability

The finest materials alone do not make a sound, but Cornelia Traudt understands her craft. Artist Special_3This shows immediately in the light of the very first chord and melody line. A soft-warm timbre flows out of the soundhole, as an answer to the first pluck. The basses swing quickly and precise and develop into long clear tones with lightly swinging overtones. Even in the higher reaches the sound is clear and true. The middle tones have a beautiful warmth and a resonating contour which give body to the chords. The basic silvery light trebles have substance and their own voice, but can‘t compete totally with the brilliant tonal development of the bass. One reason for this is obviously the nylon strings and also the fact that this is a very new and must be played in to reach its peak. The most enjoyable though is the beautiful inherent tonal colour which this instrument has due to the exclusive choice of woods. This exclusive timbre is the sign of an instrument of high class and reflects the artistic value of the builders work. This is what reflects the art of the players who binds his/her artistic fantasies with the material to make the final musical piece of art. The shorter length of the neck also makes it easier to play. In all positions the instrument responds quickly to the picking stroke giving a free and full sound. With the cutaway, which is unusual to the classical guitar, it is easy to reach the higher registers. Actually there is more to the cutaway than just reaching the extra three frets over the soundhole. The cutaway eases the playability in the area around and above the 12th fret, which is normally inhibited by the beginning of the body at this point. Soundwise it seems that nothing is lost in the overall sound substance due to the cutaway. The guitar is open and strong in tone development and the projection and separation of voices is excellent.

Technical data

Artist Special_4

Model

Artist Special

Scale

63 cm

Soundboard

Spruce

Back/sides

Mountain plum

Neck

Cedro

Fretboard

Ebony

Tuning machine

To inquire

Bridge

Ebony

Finish

Shellac - handpolished

Price

To inquire (Hiscox case inclusive)

Facit

The “Artist Special” shows Cornelia Traudt in highest form. This guitar displays in particular a delicate and personal timbre, which is not only through the courageous use of alternative choices of woods, but also due to her fine craftsmanship. Next to tonal characteristics, which show themselves in imposing and resonating colourful basses, warm full-bodied middle tones, and silvery and lively trebles, together with a total harmonious tonal development, fulfills all the expectations with its ease of playing, even into the upper reaches due to the cutaway. That the guitar is also an elegant beauty is putting the crown on top of an already beautiful piece of work. But this princess is only for those that are willing to lay down 10,400 pieces of silver. The price seems high but you are marrying a French aristocrat!

 

 

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