Berdah Guitars Interview
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NAME: Michel Berdah
NICK NAME : Mitch, Mitchum
LIVING IN : Vaucresson, France
TRAINING & BACKGROUND: First, a StewMac kit validated by Alain Queguiner, then my own with the DVD and online help of Robbie O’Rien, then four times two weeks internship at my Master, Bruce Petros from Wisconsin.
PLAYING: I play mainly acoustic guitar, a bit bass and I can also accompany myself on piano. Just for singing, nothing serious.
NAME OF YOUR HIGH SCHOOL BAND : Terry and Mictch. I was a fan of Simon & Garfunkel, and my best friend, Terry, too, so we played and sung them all with all the harmonies.
LUTHIER YOU ADMIRE THE MOST: Bruce Petros, Alain Quéguiner, Jim Olson
INSTRUMENT YOU DREAM TO HAVE ONE DAY: I have a Queguiner and a Petros, so maybe a Jim Olson. At some point, my dream guitar was Paul Simon’s black with white pickguards Yamaha.
LAST ALBUM YOU BOUGHT: Bet On Love, by Pharis and Jason Romero from Romero’s Banjos
LAST MUSIC SONG YOU PUT IN YOUR CAR: Eternal Flame, The Bangles
LAST SHOW YOU WENT TO : Cradle Of Filth
MOST IMPRESSIVE INSTRUMENT YOU EVER HAD IN HAND: Petros’ TUNNEL 13
MOST STRANGE RESTORATION OR REPAIR YOU HAD TO DO : Gluing back two 12 strings non volute Guild guitars which snap without warning!
I like nice curves and pure lines, so I always try to reach some kind of elegance.
As for the sound, I love “round and deep sound” with a lot of sustain.
The main model is my humble “relecture” of the iconic Martin OM but a bit more curved.
But the overall size is an OM.
I tend to think it’s more the building technic than the wood.
The heart of the sound seems to be the top.
I tried many Petros guitars and they all sound great.
Now, each piece of wood is different, so sometimes, one guitar will sound a bit better or differently. But I haven’t enough experience yet to affirm I master 200% the process.
Each time is a bit of a surprise but so far, only good ones. But I always get the “round and deep sound” and sustain’s ball park.
Until now, I mainly made my flagship model, but I’m about to start a real custom guitar.
Habitually, I begin with “good ol’ way” paper plan with pencil and eraser that I learn to made watching Robbie O’Brien’s online course.
Then I gave it to my son and he draw a computer version of it to make the molds, jigs and technical parts that require great accuracy. I’d say for a full custom instrument, about two months.
But since we cut the jigs and mold with our CNC, it’s far more easy and quick for than for a luthier who’ll have to make everything by and will be more reluctant to try something really special.
Adrien Antoine — Superman’s voice in French among many others — have two of my guitars : the first one I ever built and a Baritone electric.
And I’m about to build a fretless six strings bass for and with Julien Prost from the metal band Examinis.
Three songwriters influenced me with my playing and my music, two of them already have signature guitars, but the third one not yet, so I’m planning making one for that last songwriter, but I‘ll keep his identity secret for the moment…
The French lutherie seems rather dynamic and creative. And it seems to be a rather joyful company and eager to share its knowledge with newcomers.
When I begun the journey, like 12 years ago, I mainly had very nice and warm contact with all the luthiers I contacted by mail or the few that I met personally. Which was really encouraging.
As from other countries, hard to say, but I assume it’s the main spirit seeing the warm contact I had with all the luthiers I follow on Instagram that really come from all other the world. It seems luthiers and guitar players are cool lads.
You can contact me through my site or through Instagram. I have some instruments at the shop that you can try whenever you want.
I hope to be able to participate in some shows this year… Fingers crossed…
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