It's a Bouillez - not a guitar! (Patent Pending)
It's a Bouillez - not a guitar! (Patent Pending)
It's not a guitar?...What is it? The Bouillez is the most unique sounding and looking acoustic instrument you have ever seen or heard.
It's not a guitar?...What is it? The Bouillez is the most unique sounding and looking acoustic instrument you have ever seen or heard. Read more
Do you know any musicians who are looking for something new and unique to create a sound all their own? Well... after over 80 years it's finally here!
How it started
First and foremost, I should start by giving you the correct pronunciation of "Bouillez" because I know how many people have trouble with it. Keep in mind it is French and the "Z" is silent. It is pronounced, "Bull-yea". Now that we have the pronunciation out of the way, I’ll start with the inspiration of the idea. With all of the guitars I have played over the years, the one thing that I have found is that any acoustic guitar has always seemed to be lacking something. Though their sound is beautiful, they have always seemed to be somewhat subdued or muffled for the lack of better words. The fact that the standard acoustic style body has a hole and a somewhat rigid soundboard to project sound seemed somewhat restrictive to me. After learning about the physics of an acoustic guitar, I understand how they work and the restrictions in the generation of sound that they inherently have. I felt that there had to be a better way to project the sound from the guitar and optimize the frequencies created by the strings.
The idea came to me one night after playing my acoustic guitar with a couple of good friends of mine. However before I became too excited, I spent several months and late nights to do my research on sound generation, the physics of sound, and the many building techniques of the standard acoustic guitar to understand them even better. With what I learned in my research and with a lifetime of Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and Research and Development experience in the Ion Beam and sputter magnetron industries, (for optical coating equipment), I continued to be focused on the idea. I finally began to put it on paper. I came up with a totally different style and type of soundboard, soundboard material, and most importantly the way the sound is projected from the instrument. With many drawings and late nights, the "Bouillez" was born.
Prototype Construction Began
To confirm the idea would work as I expected and while on a very limited budget, I purchased a used lower end guitar. It was in fair shape and a low quality guitar but usable for the prototype to be built from.
I first started by cutting it up. Yes, you read correctly. I should be ashamed of myself and I felt kinda guilty at first but I had to do it.
Basically, I made some very serious structural changes to the inside of the body, (currently proprietary), completely removed the sound board, and installed my new and totally unique unrestricted sound board with no sound hole. Yes you read correctly again..."No sound hole".
The increased flexibility of this new semi-floating soundboard and the sound space around it has a totally new look and clarity of sound. I cleaned up the body just to improve the way it looked. I replaced the strings with new ones after installing the bridge and the arch top tail piece. I couldn't wait to try this thing out and make sure it would work the way I had expected! Keep in mind that the images you see in this project are of the prototype and may change depending on further developments that are needed. So the official Bouillez final product may change slightly.
Low and behold, the Bouillez prototype was finished. I have not gone a day without playing it since. The sound it generates is by far the most unique I have ever heard. It also has a brighter, crisper tone, and a much warmer resonance. My idea was to not only to change the sound, but change the way sound is generated and improve upon a standard acoustic guitar. It worked even better than expected! This low quality laminate wood constructed guitar sounds so different than my high quality hardwood acoustic guitar. I also installed a bridge pickup and an internal microphone into the body to see how it sounded through an amp. WOW! What an exhilarating experience! Through an amp, this instrument sounds like nothing I have ever heard from an acoustic/electric or electric guitar!
The incredible thing about the instrument is that due to the shape of the soundboard, the variation in sound that can be generated is incredibly broad. It simply depends on where the strings are struck between the bridge and the base of the neck. The ability to play percussion is an added benefit and a slide used on this instrument is also a very unique experience. Over all, the Bouillez is so much more than a guitar because of its vast sound capabilities and it allows for many playing techniques. I was so pleasantly surprised and amazed to see and hear the results from the Bouillez prototype.
Proof of Concept
Just because I think it's the coolest Instrument on the planet, doesn't mean it is. I may be biased but I needed to get real opinions before pursuing this further. After filing for the Bouillez Patent, I needed to be realistic even though my intuition tells me this is something special. So I set out to get the opinions of true, honest and professional guitar players. After completion of the Bouillez prototype, and playing it for several days, I posted an ad on-line for my prototype to be played and reviewed by local professionals. I needed to verify that there was marketability and a demand. David Wallimann of www.guitarplayback.com and www.davidwallimann.com was the first to respond to my ad and eventually produced the above Kickstarter video. Thank you David!!
At first glance, everyone looked at it as if they were confused but extremely curious. However, as expected, everyone's response was over the top. "Awesome!", "Wow!", "I've never seen or played anything like it in my life!", " Can I buy this one!", "Can I use this to record my next album?" were just a few of many great positive things said to me about the Bouillez.
Eight professional recording artists were kind enough to respond to my request for opinions among the many many others I received about the Bouillez. My very close friend, Tom Cornwell, recording artist and creator of Bug Songs, (www.bugsongs.com), David Wallimann (www.guitarplayback.com and www.davidwallimann.com), Slick De Selms of Canyon Acoustics, (www.canyonacoustics.com), Jesse Solomon, from the Academy of Guitar in Fort Collins, CO. Tim Hill of the Tim Hill Combo Band in Longmont, CO and Mike Rowell also of Longmont, CO. were all very excited about this new idea. They were amazed when they first played the instrument. "What a unique and unbelievable sound"! Mike Helburg and Gerry Everett, another couple of very close friends and great guitarists, also had a great time playing this instrument. Gerry indicated that the design and sound are the best thing to come to music in decades. "It's about time someone came up with something new" he said. Slick and Tim also played it using a slide and said it was unlike anything they've ever played. All of the players who had taken the time to see and play the Bouillez had told me that this is a marketable and desirable instrument that could be used in many music genres.
All of this information and support was very promising and put me in my current position. A prototype that sounds awesome, but looks like a prototype. That's why I turned to you and Kickstarter. The fact that the Bouillez design and sound is so unique, tells me that it will be so much better when it is built by hand with quality wood. Please be aware that the new finished product may look similar to the prototype, however, I expect some subtle changes to the Bouillez after completing the necessary development and improvements. It is difficult to estimate how much time to complete a project like this one but my experience tells me it will take 8 to 12 months to complete the project fully.
Make no mistake, this is not a guitar. I have decided not to call it a guitar because it is in fact so different in appearance and sound. I struggled at first trying to think of a name for it. Since "Bouillez" is my last name and it is unique in itself, I thought why not. It sounds like a musical instrument, right?. So It's a "Bouillez", not a guitar.
Because I need your help to supply research & development to improve the instrument and the specialized tools required that are unique to the construction of guitars. I have wood working tools, however many of them are not made for this type of detailed work. A chainsaw and table saw just doesn't cut it, (no pun intended). The amount of engineering, development and testing that goes into a stringed instrument is mind boggling to say the least. In some cases, tooling will need to be custom made. Your pledges will also be used to purchase high quality raw hardwood materials. The end goal is to build the 3 Bouillez guitars from scratch. I couldn't reach this goal without your help.
I know what I have here is without a doubt one of the biggest things in music to come along in a very long time. So, here I am on Kickstarter asking for your help to provide the tools and materials to build this great new sound. The entire instrument! With real, high quality hardwoods and the highest quality US made components. I want to produce a desirable instrument that will stand the test of time and expose musicians to this new and very unique instrument.
All supporters will be asked if I may add their name to the list of contributors on my website in appreciation for helping me with this Kickstarter project.
Where do I go from here?
Well, I hope you can see the potential of this new sound and design project and understand my need for your help. Kickstarter is a great stepping stone for me and so many others who struggle to achieve their dreams and ideas. Thankfully, Kickstarter has brought you to my project. Your pledge will help whether big or small! Your help will bring a dream to reality. Thank you so much for your pledge in advance. It's greatly appreciated and I look forward to keeping you informed of my progress. Please share this project with your friends on Facebook and Twitter! Definitely look me up on my Bouillez Acoustics Facebook page and "Like" the Bouillez! All your support will be greatly appreciated.
Even thought the above image is not related to the Kickstarter project, I wanted to give you an idea of some of my woodworking skills. This is a log bed that I made for my wife and I a few years ago using beetle kill pine and 100 year old barn wood. Below is the finished project
Risks and challenges
I will admit that this will be the first time I have ever taken on a project of this magnitude. So it will be a challenge. But the challenge is what I look forward to. The only risks I expect would be delays which are inherent when it comes to any new project being done for the first time. Development will always create challenges, however in my 30 + years of Engineering in a high tech industry, challenges are part of the job. They will be addressed and overcome. I will not let obstacles get in the way of producing the worlds very first Bouillez. I will not stop until I have a beautifully finished, playable, and high quality instrument. Cheer me on and be a part of this great new instrument. I'll keep you informed with pictures and video's of the process, not to mention the special reward you receive for your part in this musical innovation.
I look forward to this challenge and hope to have you be a part of it. Thank you again for your valued support!
- (30 days)