Yamaha CGX171cc

When I left the Yukon permanently for France, I unfortunately couldn’t take it with me and I had to leave it behind. It found a permanent home in my favourite recording studio where it joined the guitar collection of the owner Laurie Malo, a true guitar nut who once was called out by no less than Daniel Lanois to provide him with a suitable instrument when he came up to the Yukon for a memorable concert.

It couldn’t be in better hands or in a better place! But I do miss it a bit.

La fessée

Yamaha Silent Guitar

I had to find a suitable replacement guitar, easy to pack and travel with, and I settled for this early Silent model. At the time there were only 2 options: Nylon or Steel strings. Of course I picked the nylon one.
Since then, Yamaha has vastly increased the range of models and options, and their silent guitars have soared in popularity for performers.

They do sound amazingly clear and shine in amplified settings, Indeed I have had a lot of fun performing with it, plugged into a tiny but efficient THR10 amp (yup, Yamaha again, and no I don’t get commissions).

Never an electric guitar man myself, I had equal fun experimenting with a range of FX that take nylon playing to another dimension.

This kind of set-up was at first a bit disconcerting for listeners used to the more traditional Brassens playing approach, but in the end it works and they readily accepted it.

Les Philistins

Yamaha NTX1

As much fun as the Silent Guitar is for performing and experimenting, it does not really replace a full bodied instrument for casual strumming. So I found this model that most closely matched the body size and neck width of the guitar I missed and has since been discontinued.

It is lovely, sounds and plays almost as great, but to be honest I have yet to really put it through its paces. Because at the same time that I received it, I got hooked on something else entirely and discovered the Guitalélé.


Ortega RGL5EB-CE Guitarlele

If you’ve never heard of Guitalélés (or Guitarlele) don’t feel bad, neither had I until not long ago.
While searching for fun new little things to play with, I came across this intriguing hybrid, the brainchild of Yamaha (here we go again) which comes across as the love child of a ukulele and a classical guitar. In my youthful years I had been known to pack a ukulele just to have something to play with when traveling. So my curiosity was piqued and I ordered this little guy.

I liked it right away. While the ukulele tuning and strings give it a distinctive soft tone, the added bass strings provide a more familiar set-up for guitar players and give the thumb something to do.

APC GMX Side Hole Guitalélé

I had so much fun playing the above little guy – it is an instrument one literally hugs to play – that I decided that it’d be nice to have something with a better, tactile feel.
I found this little beauty, made of solid KOA wood (from Hawaii), which looks, feels and sounds wonderful. And it oozes a sunny island flavour that is so nice to wake up to – my favourite time to play.

Bit by bit, I am adapting Brassens songs to an instrument that is suited to softer approaches and sweet tones. It is a fun, joyous explore.

Le joueur de guitalélé – Didier Delahaye, 2023