La Dissidente: A Unique Project in Electric Guitar History
Pictures: [email protected]. et Gildas DasViken
written by: Gildas DasViken et Clémence De Cellès
English version by Bertrand Cléchet
After its creation two years ago, an anonymous group of 20 stringed-instrument makers and craftsmen creates its first guitar for charity purposes.
Aiming at defending their values and handed over to small businesses and craftsmen, the guitar named “La Dissidente” tries to prove that cooperation goes further than a competition and that competitors gain to work together. But also that prejudices on the lutherie and the small business activity are mainly false: stringed-instrument maker’s guitars are not more expensive than an equivalent (though if only this would exist) coming from the industry.
This guitar will be sold in by way of a lottery and the collected money will entirely be donated to concrete projects acting against deforestation and educating in sustainable development.
A mythological guitar…
The lid of its case made of wood and hemp is hardly lifted up that enchantment begins. La Dissidente is so sensual and audacious. Your heart is carried away, you desire it. So much delicacy and beauty, that she has to be yours. Your hands dream of the feel of her vibrations. Your fingers already shiver, they want to explore her, to feel the sweetness of her wood, the sharpness of the motives, they want to roam on her strings, to make notes fly away so that her melody reaches the borders of the world.
Her creators so made her: free, impertinent, determined, loving. Simply put, dissident!
But how was this marvel born?
…Or a humanistic project?
A group of craftsmen initiated the project. All its members decided to share their various trades to make a guitar full of signification, new, the very identity of each being reflected in the DNA of the instrument. Everyone put its guts and a little of his history in it: The wood came from Corrèze, plates were engraved in Jura, body engraving made near Nantes… The aesthetics are a mixture of several styles: a Mosrite shape, a Bigsby headstock (in reference to the brilliant inventor who inspired Léo Fender in the creation of the first industrial electric guitars). The design of the engraving was accepted, in spite of the crafting difficulty. Completion was very fast, approximately 3 months, thanks to the combined efforts of these 20 craftsmen. To coordinate all these talents is not an easy thing. The guitar transited throughout France, according to its evolution. Always handled by the craftsmen right after arrival. Besides speed of execution, it was a necessity to think ahead for the next steps, to communicate on this unique operation, to put forward the intrinsic values, because this project is first and foremost a message carrier. The money collected during its sale will go to charity. Some luthiers wish to fight against deforestation because this problem is in direct link with their job: Some try to supply their material from local or salvaged wood. Others prefer investing in educating children in sustainable development and crafts. Indeed, the first gestures of our environment’s recovery go through rediscovering local small crafts. Furthermore, the use of traditional tools and techniques aims towards this ideal.
Guitar-making trade has been stigmatized for about thirty years as a closed, compartmentalized and elitist world. Thus an unwillingness for some guitarists to consult a professional for both repair and manufacturing. Hence this new generation of public-spirited craftsmen to militate and to educate against this reputation. We are here for everybody and for every instrument. Craftsmen’s guitars are not the privilege of a category but a simple tool created to induce pleasure for the largest number, no matter where they come from and whom they are.
This project also shows that there is no competition, each has his own style. The musician reaches towards the guitar maker who corresponds to him best, in spite of the industry’s omnipresence. We can read some articles that guitars are less sold lately, but which ones? Guitars mass-produced, without soul? There are more and more independent luthiers, who live off their works. Their bottom price is undoubtedly higher but it calls for a much superior quality! And the guitar is unique, just like its creator. In most cases, these craftsmen are self-taught chose to leave a stable job to dash into what makes them vibrate, as well as getting the opportunity to live off their passion and to value manual work. One of the advantages of making unique guitars and working to order is that it generates a real exchange with the customer: the order evolves, the luthier can make proposals, the customer can modify details in progress and the result is an instrument really just like its owner. Every creation is a journey, an almost initiatory route between the guitar maker and the guitarist. The latter must be able to express what he has in the depths of himself; the luthier has to fight with himself in terms of ingenuity to give birth to the dream of his client.
The Dissident defends all these values, and much more. Rather than being offered to the richest bidder, it will be drawn by lot for the value of a one lottery ticket, the collected proceeds of the lottery being concretely invested in the works for which we fight.
But beware, friend. If you wish to become La Dissidente’s one and only, you’ll have to invest yourself in its causes by offering yourself a ticket!
Tribulations of a collective guitar
La Dissidente tells us about a unique project that has no equivalent in guitar’s history. The group was created two years ago, to allow us to discuss, to exchange pieces of advice, order spare parts together, etc. … The idea of La Dissidente comes from a discussion around a comment of one of us who was looking for a vintage part, Having found it, thanks to another member of the group, he said: ” I am sure that with all the spare parts shoved in our drawers we could build a complete guitar “. The idea of a Partscaster was born. As soon as we launched the project we realized that it was necessary to go further, that we would not be satisfied to simply assemble a body and a Strat neck, we had to allow each one of us to express themselves on this project. This common realization had to carry our values and these were already strong. We didn’t become guitar makers by chance, we are passionate, and we all have the will to improve this world, with common sense and by defending our values. Our means and time are limited, this collective action allowed us to express this will together.
We thus discussed a complete build. It was easy to motivate the most voluntary, others could not follow due to the lack of time, but they can intervene on a next project. So, JR Guillaumie supplied with the walnut from Corrèze that he brought down himself in 2003. The than over 200-year-old tree was threatening to fall on a house! Fabien Gilbert (FG Lutherie) put it to thickness and glued it. Félix Vivier (Feloks Guitars) manufactured the body before passing it on to OldWolf Custom for the engraving of the table.
As for the neck, Christophe Dufour (Custom Design Guitars) supplied the wood and assembled the composite beam made of maple, spalted beech salvage sipo and tinted maple veneer for nets. Sebastian Cuff (DSC Guitars) received the beam and routed it. Tom Marceau (Marceau Guitars) supplied the fretboard and Jean-Valentin (Novo Guitars) assembled them, fretted and profiled it. The copper dots represent the number of the frets in Braille.
Finally, body and neck arrived at Olivier Roux’s workshop (Ol’ Caster) for assembly. Guillaume Tellier (GTL Guitars) had assembled an electronic kit integrating a preamp module from Sébastien Santilli (SBGO Effects). Finally, the case came from Maxime Jan (Maja Guitars) and the leather strap from Ann Vial’s (l’Ame Tannée). Riki Plectrier has supplied us with a custom-made plectrum matching the guitar’s body engraving.
Ultimately, 20 independent craftsmen followed one another on this guitar and this one was buckled on Thursday morning June 15, 2017, at the Hellfest Open Air Festival, while waiting for the first festival-goers! Stéphane Garrigue (10:15 guitars) also participated in, last minute, by fixing the strap buttons. And of course, we dressed her with Skull Strings, made in France by Carlos Pavicich …
Like a superband, we created a super workshop. This guitar is a real technical and aesthetical success and proves it! Each one of us went all-out in every stage of crafting, bringing his own touch, to make it a collector’s item. We do not wish to see her fade under glass … Hence the idea of selling her in lottery rather than through auction: The one who will grab his hands on this instrument of exception is not going to be the richest, but the most fortunate!
The Beast’s Measurements
Wood: Corrèze walnut
Table: sculpted et inlaid of engraved aluminum
Finish: natural, waxed
Wood : maple / tainted maple veneer / spalted beech/ salvaged sipo.
Profile: flat in the middle rounded by the edges
Scale : 25,5″
Frets: 22 Medium
Truss Rod: Double action
Nut: Bone, with 0-fret
Width at Nut : 43mm
Inlays: Copper Dots
1 single coil with active preamp. A Charlie Christian pickup by SP Custom
Controls : 1 Volume, 1 Tone (TBX)
Wraparound custom, aluminum
Hipshot Open Gear Lock
Strap buttons: Gretsch
Pot knobs: aluminum vintage hi-fi type
The Dissident does not make waffles. We are not to chase windmills and we wish that the profits of this sale are of use – really – to a concrete work.For these reasons, we will choose the organisms we will fund dependently of the money raised.
The objective is the fight against deforestation, targeted at the French scale, and the education in sustainable development.
So we study the following projects:
– Plantation of hedges(hurdles),
- Reintroduction of essences becoming scarce (serviceberry tree, sorb),
- Gift of fruit trees to our respective municipalities (walnuts).
Project members list:
- Jean-Raphaël Guillaumie / Atelier JR Guillaumie – Bordeaux 33 : walnut
- Fabien Gilbert / FG Lutherie – Valanjou 49: body’s wood planning and gluing
- Félix Vivier / Féloks Guitares – Carquefou 44: body routing
- Guillaume Buguet / Atelier Kraken – Lemuy 39: pickguard engraving
- Franck Vieuloup / OldWolf Custom – Vallet 44: body engraving and inlays
- Christophe Dufour / Custom Design Guitars – Premilhat 03: neck wood planning and gluing
- Tom Marceau / Marceau Guitars – Saint Domineuc 33: fretboard routing
- Sebastian Cuff / DSC Guitars – Villeneuve Saint Georges 94: neck routing
- Jean-Valentin Novo / Guitares Novo – Belfort 90: fretboard gluing, fretting and inlaying
- Begoin Jeremy / SP Custom – Venelles 13: pickup winding
- Sébastien Santini / SBGO Effects – Venelles 13: active preamp fabrication
- Sébastien Santilli / San Lorenzo Guitars – Venelles 13: custom pickup finish, wraparound design, and routing
- Guillaume Tellier / GTL Guitars – Bourgneuf 17: electronic wiring
- Olivier Roux / Øl’Caster Custom – Saint Nazaire 44: assembly and setup
- Ann Vial / L’Âme Tannée – La Tardière 85: leather strap
- Maxime Jan / Maja Guitars – Pléneuf Val André 22: flight case
- Gildas Vaugrenard / DasViken Guitars – La Prénessaye 22: coordination, blueprints, communication
- Eric Feuermann / Riki le Plectrier – Moosch 68 : custom plectrum
- Emmanuelle Trehorel / Tapisserie Trehorel – Saint Alban 22: flight case cushioning
- Carlos Pavicich / Skull Strings – Metz 57: custom strings
Artists supporting La Dissidente
Alex Costitch (BigSure)
Julien Pras (Mars Red Sky)
Satchel (Steel Panther)
Matt Asselberghs (Nightmare, Dead Crows)
Louis James (Dirty Thrills)
Benoit Blin, Rémi Brochard, Sylvain Begot (Monolithe)
Phil et Franck (Putrid Offal)
Los Disidentes del Sucio Motel
Doug Scaratt (Saxon)
Alexey Boganov (Welicoruss)
David Sullivan (Red Fang)
Cody Cottrell (Suicidal Tendencies)
Trevor Peres (Obituary)
Steve et Lance Harrison (Hirax)
Malek Ben Arbia (Myrath)
Cesar Soto (Ministry)
Rickard Nygren (BluesPills)
Joe (Evil Invaders)
Alan Mccahey (Zornheim)
Max Ime (ex The Pledge Episode)
Sami Yli-Sirniö (Kreator)
Pierrick Hz (Hellzeimer)
Claudeous Creamer (Possessed)
Walnut Grove DC
Get the ShoT …
Test Melodic Metal, BlueFunk, Ambient solo, clear solo
Sylvain Fantino et Christophe Maroye
Test Jazzy clean, Eric Rix
Test Blues Overdrive
Eric Cervera / Near Deaf Studio
La Dissidente’s Facebook page
Gildas Vaugrenard / DasViken Guitars
0671499585 – par SMS
Gildas DasViken on Facebook.
Jean-Raphaël Guillaumie/ Atelier Guitare JR Guillaumie
Jean-Raphaël on Facebook
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