At Veillette Custom Luthiery in Woodstock, New York, we build unique instruments by hand, often collaborating with customers to explore new directions.
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The vast majority of 12-string guitars are either flat-top acoustics or solidbody instruments, but Harvey Citron and Joe Veillette who, from 1976 to 1983, made basses and guitars under the Veillette-Citron name have some different ideas about 12-string design. The Citron AEG-12 and Veillette Gryphon are also very different from each other — the AEGG12 being a full-sized acoustic-electric with a fairly thin hollow body, while the Gryphon is a short-scale 12, tuned D to D with unison courses. Both instruments can be amplified — though the AEG-12's onboard active piezo and passive magnetic pickups are individually adjustable, and can be run in stereo, while the Gryphon has just an under-saddle transducer. We tested these guitars with a Genz-Benz Shenandoah acoustic amp and — for the AEG-12 only — a Kendrick Bad Ass Man combo.
Playing the Gryphon takes a little getting used to because of a I8.5"-scale fretboard that necessitates closer-than-standard spacing of the 2 I frets. The wide-ish neck feels excellent, however, so it's just a matter of getting your fingers used to the smaller distance between the frets.
The Gryphon is one of the most interesting 12-strings I've encountered. It sounds very exotic, yet it has a familiar 12-string feel, and it's lots of fun to play. The Gryphon doesn't replace a standard 12-string, of course, but it definitely brings some enticing new flavors to the genre, and that's reason enough for it to receive an Editors' Pick Award.
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