Michel Belair "Hommage a Daniel Friederich"
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This special model is an hommage to the work and art of Daniel Friederich, a true master who forever transformed the modern classical guitar. Over the course of six decades, the development of his craft set new standards for the traditional concert guitar and his status as a guitar builder has reached legendary proportions. This instrument was built by Canadian luthier Michel Belair, based out of Montreal. In addition to lutherie, Michel's background is as a player and he owns and has played two original Friederich guitars for many years (no. 557 and 763). Both of his primary teachers (Alvaro Pierri and Roberto Aussel) have also played Friederich guitars for the majority of their careers. So it is with this long-term appreciation and understanding of these instruments that Michel Belair has set out to recreate the style and sound of this great builder.
This guitar is based on a 1999 Daniel Friederich guitar (No. 763) which is representative of Friederich's late style. Not only does Michel have the original guitar, but he also has a copy of Friederich's personal notes for this guitar (written down during the building process in 1999 of the original guitar). This clearly gave Michel precious and detailed information about such matters as wood density which otherwise would have been impossible to know precisely. The soundboard is made with a piece of 15 year old master grade western red cedar with the exact same density, grain spacing (and by luck, the same color!) as the original, which helped to achieve as close to the same deflection or stiffness and frequency of the original top. As per the original, the Indian rosewood sides are laminated internally with mahogany and the neck is made of Honduran mahogany. All matters of detailing are true to the original including the carved headstock, and all inlays including purflings and rosette - all done to faithfully reproduce the aesthetics of Friederich’s unique and classic style. It is also fitted with the same Rodgers tuning machines as used by Friederich. The sound is powerful and responsive with rich basses and thick trebles with a distinctive velvety and silky tone. Michel pays particular attention in his work to the decay and overall sustain of the sound. The sustain on this guitar is quite impressive and the decay is very linear and predictable making the instrument very consistent and balanced when playing at either end of the dynamic range. Although a used instrument, it is in excellent condition with only very minor wear in the finish.
Fans of Friederich will love this instrument. In fact, one of Friederich's great champions - Scott Tennant - is currently playing on a Belair guitar. GSI is pleased to be the exclusive dealer in the US for this model. Michel Belair has also owned a spruce Friederich and we will also be commissioning "hommage" instruments based on that guitar as well.
Photos of this guitar taken during construction