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by Art Thompson, Guitar Player Magazine, May 2010
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.
Guitarists seeking something really different in 12-string land will appreciate where the Gryphon is perched. Its short-scale neck and D tuning give it a high-pitch ring that is closer to a mandolin in timbre, while the all-unison courses imbue the tones with a flavor that harkens to lutes and ballalaikas. This compact instrument (which measures 30" long by 12.5" wide by 3.5" deep) has a sweet look, is well constructed in all areas, and has a perfectly applied gloss finish on its mahogany body, neck, and black fiber composite peghead overlay.
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 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.|
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.