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Thread: Veillette Avanti Gryphon guitars

  1. #1
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    Default Veillette Avanti Gryphon guitars

    Has anyone had any experience with, or even heard of, a guitar called Avanti Gryphon being sold by a company called Veillette? The guitar has an 18.5 inch scale and 12 steel strings that are paired, as with a mandolin. They appear to be tuned like guitars.

    Here's a link to the web page for this guitar.

    http://www.veilletteguitars.com/avante_gryphon.shtml

    Here's sound sample from none other than The Lovin' Spoonful's John Sebastian.



    I'm curious about them and would love to hear others' experiences with them. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    As per this post, this guitar and company are both new to me.

    It seems like a 12-string guilele, sort of like a Hawaiian Kiku, at an almost baritone scale length, but the tuning is odd to me.

    Most guilele or Kiku I have seen are tuned to A, like a standard 25.5 acoustic guitar with a capo on the 5th fret giving you a tuning of ADGCEA. I found this video where one of the maker of this instrument (Joe Veillette) said it is tuned like a guitar with a capo at the 10th fret, which is likely why it is so chimey, and sounds more like a mandolin on account of the relatively very high pitched treble strings for a guitar, almost like a soprano guitar...



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6zcsjPhnmQ

    Also, if your desire is to string this and tune it in a standard guitar tuning EADGBE, at this scale length, your bass strings are going to be very fat diameter, like your low E string is going to be something like an 0.058" to 0.064" otherwise you can forget about intonation completely, because the typical 0.042"-0.052" "E" string on a standard acoustic guitar, thinner strings will not have enough density nor tension and likely be about 8 cents sharp all the way up the neck starting from the 1st or 2nd fret, and on an acoustic such as this, you simply do not have enough room to compensate the saddle for proper intonation, which is likely WHY they went with a higher tuning, and likely thinner strings, that can offer enough tension at that tuning such that it can intonate well and play in tune.

    Also a 12-string steel string guitar like this is going to have about 180-200 lbs of string tension on the neck, so your fretting hand is going to get a real workout until you build up enough strength to avoid the buzzing of those barre chords...

    Looks nice and sounds very nice though.
    Last edited by Booli; 07-26-2017 at 10:23 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thank you, Booli, for the additional information and insight.

    When I said "tuned like guitars" I meant that the chord shapes were the same as those used to fret a guitar. The one I played didn't sound like it was in the same key as a guitar. I do have a short-scale six-string nylon stringed instrument (a quatro, not a guitarlele, although I'm not sure what the difference is) tuned ADGCEA. What made this Veillette Avanti Gryphon different than anything else I'd heard before was that unlike the courses of strings on a 12-string guitar, which has some paired and some octaved courses, all six courses on the Gryphon are paired, like all four courses of a mandolin. That probably is what contributes (along with the short scale and tuning) to the mandolin sound.
    Last edited by mds725; 07-27-2017 at 10:23 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mds725 View Post
    Thank you, Booli, for the additional information and insight.

    When I said "tuned like guitars" I meant that the chord shapes were the same as those used to fret a guitar. The one I played didn't sound like it was in the same key as a guitar. I do have a short-scale six-string nylon stringed instrument (a quatro, not a guitarlele, although I'm not sure what the difference is) tuned ADGCEA. What made this Veillette Avanti Gryphon different than anything else I'd heard before was that unlike the courses of strings on a 12-string guitar, which has some paired and some octaved courses, all six courses on the Gryphon are paired, like all four courses of a mandolin. That probably is what contributes (along with the short scale and tuning) to the mandolin sound.
    Sorry if my previous comment read to the otherwise, but I think we are both on the same page in understanding.

    Before I had bought any uke, I had bought a Yamaha GL-1 Guitalele, thinking it was a cheap way to approximate the custom Martin Terz guitar that I saw Sting playing on Good Morning America. I was very wrong. However, on the 'Stupid Deal of the Day' for $60 shipped it was not bad for that price... but it was nothing at all like my full sized Yamaha classical guitar that I've had and studied with for the past 28 yrs. With the GL-1, the sound was 'just' ok, and the intonation not terrible, but the 44mm nut width was very difficult for me...

    Last year, during the Cordoba Mini frenzy that occurred here on UU, I was able to find a used Cordoba Mini SM-CE, which has the cedar top, and spalted mango back and sides with their pickup, which is one of those cheap Belcat UK-2000 models. However the 21.5" scale length and 51mm nut and shallow neck depth made it very easy to play, and the intonation is nearly spot on. I have it strung with high-tension classical strings and in Terz tuning, which is 2 semitones down from most 'A' guilele/Kiku, i.e., not ADGCEA but G-C-F-Bb-D-G, and now I have my 'terz' guitar but with the pleasure of nylon classical strings....and btw it sounds great acoustically, but the pickup is very plastic sounding and I will likely change it for something else later on...

    Ibanez also has a 17" scale length 6-string, steel string guilele type instrument, and I played one, and it sounded nice, but a 42mm nut width is near impossible for me to finger normal guitar chords due to the tight string-to-string spacing, and the intonation was really bad, like 15+ cents sharp all up the fretboard, and despite using medium gauge steel strings 10-52 (and tuned ADGCEA), really did not have enough tension to intonate well, and even with the typical slanted saddle for a steel string acoustic, it's not really possible to compensate enough in the maybe 3mm of the saddle breakpoint.

    when I return to that shop I am going to buy a set of extra-heavy strings that has a 0.058" 'E' string and and ask them if I can test the strings on one of the demo models, and then see if it can intonate well and not sound thuddy and/or too quiet. If so, such an instrument would be a prime candidate for converting to a 5-string 5ths tunings either FCGDA (mandola/tenor guitar) or to CGDAE (octave mando)...and there should be a more comfortable string spacing with only 5 strings on it....

    anyway, sorry for the digression so far off topic...please pardon my ramblings....
    Last edited by Booli; 07-27-2017 at 11:57 AM. Reason: typos

  5. #5
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    Funny you should bring up this instrument. On one trip to Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, I took a break from trying out ukes and wandered around the store. This odd, many stringed instrument caught my eye and I took it down and strummed it a bit. It had an amazing sound - almost like a full orchestra. I really liked it, although it was not at all conventional.

    It make the longer list of instruments I want to get someday.

    I know this will not dampen your ardor for it, but it's the least I can do to repay all the favors in this area you have done for me over the years. Go down to Gryphon and try it out.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenie44 View Post
    Funny you should bring up this instrument. On one trip to Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto, I took a break from trying out ukes and wandered around the store. This odd, many stringed instrument caught my eye and I took it down and strummed it a bit. It had an amazing sound - almost like a full orchestra. I really liked it, although it was not at all conventional.

    It make the longer list of instruments I want to get someday.

    I know this will not dampen your ardor for it, but it's the least I can do to repay all the favors in this area you have done for me over the years. Go down to Gryphon and try it out.
    Actually, I had a very similar experience to yours. I drove down to Gryphon to have a pickup installed in a Pono 8-string steel string tenor guitar I had purchased from The Ukulele Site during a February visit to Oahu. While I was at Gryphon, I noticed a few of these Avanti Gryphon guitars hanging on the wall not far from the service counter. I played one for a bit, long enough to realize that it could be played with guitar chord shapes. While the Pono 8-string is more conventional -- the top two courses of strings (B and E) are paired while the bottom two courses (D and G) are octaved -- it has a similar chimey sound reminiscent of a mandolin. Like you, I have put this Avanti Gryphon thing on a longer list of instruments I'd like to have someday.
    Last edited by mds725; 07-28-2017 at 04:33 PM.

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