Pierre Rene Lacote Heptachorde circa 1840 (sold)

A Romantic Era Pierre Rene Lacote Heptachorde circa 1840

Here is Ed Kopala playing the Rene Lacote Heptachorde circa 1840 at The Twelfth Fret:

Pierre Rene Lacote of Paris, Master Luthier of the Paris school of guitar makers, was one of the most influential makers of the early nineteenth century. Today his guitars are sought after by both collectors and performers. Past guitarists who played guitars by Lacote include Ferdinando Carulli, Fernando Sor, Dionisio Aguado and Matteo Carcassi.

This 7 string or “Heptachorde” is thought to be the only known original heptachorde still in existence that was originally made as a 7 string. Most other remaining examples were apparently converted from regular six-string guitars later on.

This remarkable survivor is entirely playable and has lovely tone. Many of the lesser models were fitted with primitive fiction tuners whereas this one has the original and fully functioning mechanical geared tuners.

Though this guitar has suffered many minor cracks and bruises over the past 175 years, it has clearly been through the hands of professional skilled Luthiers several times during the past 100 years or more.

Interestingly, the guitar appears to have originally been imported into North America by Charles E Mayberry & Co. who had a music shop on 6th Ave in New York from the 1880s until the early 1900s.

Inside at the heel block is a label reading as follows:
Chas E Mayberry
Importer and Dealer in
Musical Instruments and
Musical Merchandise
176 Sixth Ave, N.Y.
Near 13th St.

The construction is fairly typical of the era.

  • The back is highly figured maple veneer on a quartered spruce base ( inside you see spruce on the back)
  • The sides are solid highly flamed maple
  • The finely shaped interior braces and struts are spruce
  • The linings are Spruce: the most delicate and “minimalist” finely tapered that I have ever seen.
  • The peghead is figured maple with an ebony overlay
  • The Fretboard and bridge are ebony
  • The neck is Maple. Wide, very straight grained and perfectly flat-sawn. Interestingly, the “ice-cream-cone heel” is carved entirely out of the same piece of wood rather than fitted to the neck as they often are. Lovely bit of detail there!!
  • The Tuners — We have removed and inspected the tuners and they are entirely original and fully functional.

A Modern 1970s era hardshell case is included.

Grant MacNeill

Read an article about this Rene Lacote Heptachorde at the Early Romantic Guitars website here

This instrument is sold. For more details about antique and collector’s instruments at The Twelfth Fret, contact us here

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