debut unveil tramontane line best in show award joe castronovo korg usa occitania france electronics acoustic electric models featurres custom preamp

"One of Europe''s best kept secrets" is bringing their acoustic magic to the States. We have a look at what''s in store.

LÂG Guitars made their US debut at NAMM 2010 with the unveiling of their new Tramontane line of acoustic and acoustic/ electric guitars, and picked up a “Best In Show” award to boot.

Joe Castronovo, president of Korg USA, the new exclusive US distributor of LÂG Guitars, called them “one of Europe’s best-kept secrets.” Based in the Occitania region of France, LÂG has been making guitars for a quarter of a century under the guidance of master luthier Michel Lâg-Chavarria. The Tramontane line of guitars is named for a seasonal wind in southern France and includes both steel-string and nylon-string guitars in three ranges (Standard, Stage and Master Range) featuring fine woods, quality craftsmanship and finishes, beveled corner bindings and proprietary preamp/pickup systems. Tops are primarily solid red cedar or solid Sitka spruce. Stage Range backs and sides are either mahogany or Indonesian rosewood. Master Range models feature solid mahogany or solid Indian rosewood backs and sides. Both high-gloss and French satin finishes are available, and all instruments feature a detailed rosette design highlighting the Occitan Cross.

Acoustic/electric models feature LÂG’s proprietary electronics systems, including custom preamps developed with Shadow Electronics, offering both versatility and user-friendly presets. Complementing the electronics are the unique magnetic and piezo LÂG pickups, which vary depending on the model range. Standard and Stage Range instruments feature the NanoFlex Piezo bridge pickup. Master Range guitars use a Hexophonic NanoFlex pickup, with adjustments for each individual string. Master Range steel-string models feature an additional NanoMag humbucking magnetic pickup concealed below the fingerboard, behind the last fret. This provides a warm, well-balanced tone with added definition, and the ability to blend between the two pickups.

Korg USA has taken on exclusive US distribution and will begin offering the Standard and Stage ranges in the LÂG Tramontane guitar line in the US starting January 2010. The Master range will be available in Spring/Summer 2010.

Premier Guitar was privileged to receive a tour, hosted by representatives of Korg USA and Michel Lâg-Chavarria himself, of the LÂG headquarters and Lâg Haute Couture workshop in Bédarieux, in the south of France. We’re pleased to be able to show a bit of that tour.

Models showing details of LÂG’s guitar construction.

Rosette marquetry detail.

A glimpse at the Tramontane line of guitars.

Michel Lâg-Chavarria discussing wood during the workshop tour.

LÂG’s Franck Machaud demonstrating different Tramontane top woods.

Machaud handcarving back-bracing.

The tour included a performance by guitarist Christian Laborde.

A few Tramontane models on display in the workshop.

A sample of LÂG’s Madagascar rosewood.

Why Fender + Fender (or other brands) = more than the sum of their own signature sounds.

This column is not for the faint of back, but the rewards of such potentially heavy lifting are great. In my previous columns "Like Peanut Butter and Chocolate: Classic Guitar & Fender-Amp Pairings" (May 2020) and "Finding Perfect Tones in Imperfect Amps" (January 2021), I've discussed classic Fender amp and guitar pairings and how to EQ and tweak amps to get ideal tones. Let's take it a step further and discuss how to combine multiple amps to achieve even more complex, richer tones.

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  • Develop a better sense of subdivisions.
  • Understand how to play "over the bar line."
  • Learn to target chord tones in a 12-bar blues.
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Playing in the pocket is the most important thing in music. Just think about how we talk about great music: It's "grooving" or "swinging" or "rocking." Nobody ever says, "I really enjoyed their use of inverted suspended triads," or "their application of large-interval pentatonic sequences was fascinating." So, whether you're playing live or recording, time is everyone's responsibility, and you must develop your ability to play in the pocket.
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