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Based in Strasbourg, France, Jean-Noël Rohé is considered to be the top French maker of his generation - not just by all those who see and play his instruments, but also by none other than Daniel Friederich and Dominique Field, who are among his most avid supporters. We are delighted to represent this fine maker exclusively in the USA - bringing in one guitar per year, particularly since his private wait-list is now 8 years.
This is an incredibly refined instrument in all ways. The craftsmanship is second to none, not only is it extremely tasteful but it is perfectly executed to the minutest of details. Sound is uniquely Rohé's but there are some influences that can be detected, such as the Friederich-like use of double-sides. Rohé normally has used cypress for the side reinforcements but for this guitar, he's used red cedar. For Rohé, this system of stiffening the sides re-enforces the box, providing a cathedral-like acoustic environment from which the sound proceeds. The bracing pattern is an asymmetrical 7 fan system - with two off-center short braces instead of a central fan running under the center seam flanked by 3 full length fans on the treble side and 2 on the bass. To us this seems like a variation on the treble-stiffener approach combined with the Garcia/Simplicio asymmetrical 8-fan system that seeks to normalize or balance out the lower voices with the upper. The resulting sound is that of perfect balance and a relaxed, warm quality of sound without losing firmness to the core of each note for definition. This unique sound has great style, all who hear and play are won over by its charm.
Rohé likes to compare the making of a guitar to wine-making, in that the vintner's personality is present in the final product in much the same way as the luthier's does. Grape varieties and scents blend in the similar fashion as do wooden framework and sound structure. One can appreciate the tonal qualities of the note as one can appreciate the complex taste of a particular wine. For the connoisseur of fine guitars, this maker's work does for the ears what the finest wines do the palates of the most discriminating wine aficionados.
For more information on Jean-Noël Rohé, click here
Orfeo Magazine #7 - French School Luthiery