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date: 05 December 2019

Bouchet, Robert locked

  • Allison A. Alcorn

Extract

(b Paris, France, April 10, 1898; d Crouttes, France, Aug 15, 1986). French painter, sculptor and guitar maker. Bouchet taught at the École des Arts Decoratifs in Paris and turned to lutherie relatively late, constructing his first guitar in 1946. He never took up the craft full time and was largely self-taught, beginning after observing Julián Gómez Ramírez (1879–1948) in his Paris workshop and studying the instruments of Antonio de Torres (1817–92). Bouchet followed the Spanish model, and his early guitars are strongly influenced by Torres. The open harmonic bar is an innovation widely credited to Bouchet, though he acknowledged borrowing the idea from Torres. In addition to the open harmonic bar, extending the fan struts into the soundhole, and kerfed linings, many elements of Torres’s influence continued in Bouchet’s mature period, though he reduced the number of fan struts to five rather than seven. Bouchet made approximately 155 guitars, typically square-shouldered with beautiful varnish applied in the ‘French polish’ method. The heads are grafted on, and the rosettes tend to be somewhat crude, later rosettes being structured as concentric circles around a center mosaic. A central contribution to the scholarship of guitar lutherie is the shop notebooks Bouchet left in which he meticulously illustrated the details of his methods, reflecting the state of mid-20th-century guitar making in Paris....

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