Every so often something very special makes its way to PREMIER GUITARS. This Gilet Dreadnought one of those.
We have been very proud to have sold more Gilet guitars than any dealer in Australia over the past few years. Every one of Gerard’s guitars are wonderful instruments, but this one really blown us away.
Gerard has been at the forefront of acoustic guitar design in Australia for over 30 years, making instruments by hand for a clientele of serious musicians and professionals. Gilet guitars have become highly regarded and sought after, especially since Gerard has slowed down his output significantly in recent years.
What makes Gilet guitars so different?
The tops are thinned by hand from the centre to the edge and are joined to the sides with solid wood linings These solid linings provide the sides with rigidity to support the top so sound energy is reflected back into the top, thus engendering a more lively the sound.
The top braces are scalloped and tuned in relation to the backs, not just randomly assigned. The back and sides are machined to an exact thickness to achieve the correct resonance.
All Gilet guitars are handmade from magnificent proven tone woods, some traditional, some Australian and some exotic. Gilet guitars are sold worldwide and have been purchased by international stars such as Sting, high profile Aussie players, and of course, people who just love top quality guitars and want something special and unique.
John from PREMIER GUITARS spoke to Gerard about the story behind this particular guitar, and its specifications. This is one of only three “Clear Sky” models made by Gerard in 1999. The first was made for Sydney guitarist Jim Rush, and the two others were custom orders for colleagues of Jim.
And they really were a “spare no expense” build.
Select solid Sitka spruce top
Solid Brazilian Rosewood back and sides
Fiddleback mahogany neck
Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard
Mother of Pearl snowflake inlays
Herringbone binding and rosette
Oversize 4 1/4” soundhole a la Clarence White
25 ½” scale length
1 ¾” nut width (44mm)
Brazilian Rosewood bridge
Jim Rush inlay at 12th fret
Mother of pearl Gilet inlay on headstock
Mother of Pearl Gilet / Vest inlay on headstock (vest in French is le gilet)
Multiple nitrocellulose finish (all nitro – no poly or filler)
Gerard explained that this guitar was made specifically to be a great bluegrass guitar for flatpickers like Jim Rush who want to use medium guage strings instead of lighter ones. So this thing really punches out the volume with a big articulate voice.
This one has not been altered or changed in any way since new. There are some very light surface scratches on the back and a couple of small dents on the top which are almost impossible to see. The original medium jumbo frets are in great shape, truss rod works perfectly, top quality Grover tuners are rock solid. This lovely handbuilt Australian guitar has been well looked after.
Like all Gilet guitars the workmanship and attention to detail is impeccable.
This guitar is built and finished to a standard that would fetch twice the price if it came from a US boutique builder, particularly in regard to the solid Brazilian Rosewood that is now almost impossible to find. But it was built right here in Sydney, by one of Australia’s most respected luthiers who is now building very few instruments, and with a very long wait time.
Comes in a tweed hard shell case in new condition.