Ummetler Bouchet Model
Ummetler Bouchet Model
It is always very exciting playing a guitar by a ‘new’ Luthier (to us that is), taking me back to recognising the most important, fundamental characteristics in a good instrument. Listening without any expectation or bias from previous experience is a wonderful thing!
This guitar immediately caught my attention with a clear singing voice and lovely breadth and projection of sound. Clarity of tone and definition are key features, as I felt able to highlight complex voicing straight away across treble, bass and the often troublesome mid range. For example in Nocturne by Mertz she produced a beautiful full and sustained upper melody over an arpeggio accompaniment that was full of detail of sound, rounded and separated individual notes combining and bringing texture and movement to the music.
As I played the guitar and got used to the feel of the strings I particularly noticed the freedom and fluency of tone. She has a traditional spruce character and as such will change a lot and take a couple of years to properly play in but the potential is already evident.
Even over the hour of playing for this review I could hear her voice growing in stature and depth.
In Bach’s Prelude BWV 999 I enjoyed great evenness across the strings and fullness of tone around the individual notes. Fantastic, firm basses drive the music and give the upper harmony excellent support and overall impact and presence. The trebles have a lovely ‘crisp’ character, very focussed notes with plenty of attack and ‘edge’ if you want but always maintaining depth and warmth in the body of the sound so that the notes never become ‘thin’. This is of course great for sparkle and excitement in your music, for example in the Venezuelan Waltzes by Antonio Lauro where the clear sound and articulation help you to highlight the syncopated rhythms and make the high register bright and lively.
The guitar is very sensitive to varying articulation, dynamics, tone colour and texture. The combination of underlying warmth enveloping focussed, clear notes gives you detail and depth of sound with a lovely sonority that will evolve further with playing. My new piece at the moment is Standchen by Mertz (arranged from the original Schubert song).
The qualities of this guitar can separate the voicing and sing the weaving melodic lines with a sustain that brings out the true ebb and flow in the music. I could achieve a mellow and honeyed tone in the rich bass melody and then immediately contrast the upper, echoing voice with light and silvery notes. To put it more simply this guitar has fantastic musicality and colour, created by clarity and focus within a warm, resonant ‘body’ of sound. This leads to wonderful control and variety of sound, an instrument that responds to your every request.
A good guitar should show us and let us hear new sounds and musical colours, should encourage us to push the boundaries of our technique and musical knowledge.
This guitar will do that and has the potential to take you on a very exciting musical journey.
40 year old Quarter Sawn Honduran Rosewood.
40 year old Honduran Rosewood.
20 year old Honduran Mahogany.