Mudcat Café message #2654765 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #64290   Message #2654765
Posted By: GUEST,G. Trameleuc PAH-10
12-Jun-09 - 08:28 AM
Thread Name: Tremeleuc (G. Trameleuc) guitars?
Subject: RE: Tremeleuc (G. Trameleuc) guitars?
I have here a Trameleuc PAH-10 guitar.

Review/ description.

I realise that the Guy Trameleuc guitars are rare and a constant subject of facination among interested guitar players. It can be quite difficult to track down information.

These guitars (The SAGA labeled guitars which are most commonly discussed) were made in Japan at a time (1980's) when Japanese made guitars are especially revered and sought after by players today. Think of Tokai, Burny, Fernandes, Orville, etc. Much to do with economic conditions in the 1980's which made it difficult to sustain high end guitars Japanese product really began to come into its own. Lowden guitars also saw it's manufacturing switched to Japan for a period betwen 1980 and 1985.

George Lowden "Thus began a five-year period when my guitars were made in Japan by a small, dedicated band of luthiers near Nagoya. I visited the S. Yairi workshop regularly and gave the designs, checked quality, and learned about Japanese craftsmanship and their serious approach to work! I found the folk I worked with to be honourable and courteous, and I had the greatest of respect for their hard work and excellent guitars. I learned a lot about production and tools, they in turn were delighted to be able to make original design guitars to this quality level."

Question...given the design similarities between Lowden guitars and this Trameleuc and given that George Lowden brought production back to Northern Ireland in 1985, the year when I think Trameleuc guitars began to be produced in Japan, is there a connection? Did the workshop (Yairi) that ceased to produce Lowden guitars begin instead to make the Trameleuc guitars? It does make you wonder.

Model G.Trameleuc PAH-10.

This quote I found on the Internet sounds very reasonable: "Guy Trameleuc is a French luthier who hand-builds a small number of very high quality instruments each year. Most instruments which you find on the market carrying the "G. Trameleuc" name have a label inside stating they were made by SAGA MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS to Guy Trameleuc's specifications. All of the instruments carrying the SAGA label were made in Japan in the late 1980's. They are basically clones of the Lowden variety."

I think production of the "SAGA MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS" G.Trameleuc guitars ran from 1985, so this may be a rare early example.

A number "85" stamped on brace beside trussrod adjustment nut inside soundhole. Could this be the year of manufacture.

After making a couple of necessary adjustments the guitar plays beautifully for fingerstyle in particular there being a beautiful articulation of the notes. Strumming is fine but the guitar's fingerstyle tone is it's greatest strength.

This guitar had been set up by a previous guitar technician with a fret dress etc but the nut was cut too low on the bass string (causing buzz) but that was easily fixed. The bone saddles were a very tight fit into the bridge slots so I managed to get them out and relieve them so that they slide in and out nicely as is desirable. The frets are beautifully dressed with an average height of 0.035" approx and width of .089". A set of fairly fresh strings (tinny sound) were replaced by a regular "12" set of D'Addario Phospher Bronze strings. The guitar sounds much better now, really very nice.
The action is medium - low perfect for fingerstyle and strumming no problem. Having been used to playing Avalons and Lowdens, the neck of this guitar is very comfortable indeed and no issues at all. The frets on Lowdens / Avalon would be bigger though, perhaps as high as 0.048" but somehow the frets on this Trameleuc make it much easier to play. A bonus for speed and ease.

The guitar is finished with a hand rubbed ("0000" grade wire wool) satin sheen giving a Lowden / Avalon look and feel.

The guitar has therefore a soft patina to the finish giving it a "hand made" as opposed to "factory" finish.

There is a solid cedar top with mahogany back (two piece)and sides. The body and neck are bound in roswood. The neck is two piece mahogany. The truss rod is adjusted from inside the soundhole. The fingerboard and bridge are Rosewood too. The Headstock is faced by birdseye maple (very nice). Tuners are Japanese. The original case is a snug fit and of Far Eastern origin I'd say.

The design does indeed echo Lowden features eg Split saddle bridge, "O" Jumbo body shape (Same size as Lowden "O" and Avalon "L" series guitars", Truss rod adjusted from soundhole end, soft satin finish, pickguard-less "look".

Here is the information taken from the label inside the guitar:

Cette guitare a ete realisee avec le plus grand soin dans les ateliers de SAGA MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, conformement aux conceptions de Guy Trameleuc Guitares, St Brieuc, France.
Les Guitares G. Trameleuc sont certifiees selon les normes de guarantie SAGA pourune duree de un an a compter de leur mise en circulation

...and with an approximate translation into English:

        This guitar has been produced with the utmost care in the workshops of SAGA MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, in accordance with conceptions of Guy Trameleuc Guitars, St Brieuc, France. Guitars G. Trameleuc are certified according to standards of format for SAGA guarantee period of one year from their circulation


Anyway, I don't normally do this but I acquired this G. Trameleuc PAH-10 guitar under circumstances of "VERY Inaccurate information about the guitar". I find it to be a very good guitar with the adjustments I have made to it (yours would not need the same treatment of course as every instrument is different especially after 20 plus years). It is a very sweet and articulate guitar very suited to fingerstyle and would be a dream in open tunings of course. I can see the top is solid Cedar but couldn't guarantee that the back and sides are solid mahogany.It does have a hand made feel and look as opposed to a factory finish and this is good. The fact that it was produced in a Japanese workshop in the 1980's is very good indeed and this will be understood by the community of guitar players who especially treasure these instruments for their quality from a time when some established makers' products could be disappointing.