Featured Harp Guitar of the Month
A Unique Lacôte Décacorde
by Françoise Sinier de Ridder
All images copyright Françoise Sinier de Ridder
made in Paris circa 1830, features something rather interesting and
unusual - a bridge without holes or pins.
To our knowledge, it
is the only guitar made by
in this way. We know that during his
made custom instruments for players who requested special
arrangements or measurements, but this particular bridge is a real
When we restored this
decacorde, we had to open it because the braces had come loose, and there were two small cracks on the
belly under the bridge. And, surprise - the top was not drilled. It
really was the original bridge!
this particular guitar for? Perhaps Aguado, who always said that he did
not like bridges with holes and pins. He preferred Spanish-style
bridges, as we can see on the two guitars
Lacôte and one Laprevotte) that he bequeathed to his home
town, Madrid, which both have
oval bridges without
(we think Aguado asked to change those bridges).
The rest of the guitar follows the usual template for a decacorde in the Legnani style, except that it is smaller than usual. Measurements are: total length: 89.5 cm; body width: 30.2 cm; body length: 42.5 cm; string length (fingerboard): 59.2 cm.
Note the unusual configuration of this décacorde's ten strings: 7 strings on the neck and 3 sub-basses.
Was it still tuned to specified décacorde tuning of (low-high) C, D, E, F, G floating and then A, d, g, b, e1 on the neck?
Or did the client (Aguado or other) tune the top six strings standard to include E, with the remainder tuned to the Vienese 10-string bass tuning?
Since Françoise created this article for our site, their book La Guitarre was published, which includes this instrument plus many other multi-string Lacotes and other spectacular guitars.
de Ridder met Daniel Sinier at art school when they were students, and
since 1971 have devoted all their time to restoration of historical musical
instruments, especially guitars and mandolins.
duo, who go by their workshop name of Sinier
de Ridder, have done work for public
Museums and private collections in France and in Europe, and also for
players who desire to play on ancient and original instruments.
Françoise de Ridder (left) & Daniel Sinier with two more Lacôte harp guitars
* Technically, some scholars require that this read "Attributed to" (att), as the instrument is not labeled and therefore its provenance is still an open question.
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