Jump to content


Please note: You can easily log in to MPN using your Facebook account!

THE acoustic for ELECTRIC guitarists......


dave251

Recommended Posts

Hey, I build guitars...so it's not too often I get GASsed about someone else's instrument, but I gotta tell ya, I was impressed with the Gitane DG250 that I played the other day.

 

These are "Django" style instruments, made in(sshhh!)China. The scale on the "petite bouche"(small mouth) model is a whopping 26 5/8"...but this allows the use of LIGHT ga. strings, and still puts out an amazing amount of power and cut...while retaining great touch nuance. And you can find 'em on eBay for less than $600!!

 

The build quality illustrates what the Chinese are capable of these days; and while the quality might not be quite what you'll find from the great makers of this design...these are pretty damn close, or so I've been told by a real expert on the design.

 

While I'm not a shredder, I found myself WANTING to be one after spending about five minutes on it. Seems like my good flattop likes a 13-59 string set to get the sound out...not these; they come with a 10-45 set, and I would probably go up to the recommended 11-46 set. Apparently, they need to have "jazz manouche" strings on them for optimal tone...although regular old steel wound electric guitar strings are touted to sound better than phosphor or brass wound strings.

 

I'm going to have one of these before the price goes up...

 

http://www.musicbrokers.com/JoeysWork2/NewGitane1.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites



  • Replies 21
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Very cool! Been diggin' the look of that guitar since I heard of Django. :cool:

 

How's the tone though? The old recordings make it sound like it's all attack, not much sustain, but that could be due to the nature of the way he had to play to be heard and recorded back in those days.

band link: bluepearlband.com

music, lessons, gig schedules at dennyf.com

 

STURGEON'S LAW --98% of everything is bullshit.

 

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: The Jackhammer of Love and Mercy.

Get yours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Went back to the store and put some nickel wound light ga. Martins on....11-49...VAST improvement over the silk and steel...

 

The typical "jazz manouche" strings are either 10-45 or 11-46 copper over steel cores. The standard string would be Savarez Argentines...these have been made since the guitar was designed back in the early thirties. The way the guitar is made, in addition to the very light construction and long scale length, allows for TREMENDOUS cutting power and volume, particularly in the treble/midrange regions. These also have the clarity of tone you would expect from an archtop.

 

I've tried several carved guitars, and even owned a very nice 1952 Gibson L7C; but that one required a very heavy string and my tender, chemical ridden fingers can't take the pressure anymore...so I need a guitar with lots of loud, but not requiring as much physical exertion....I'll probably have to sell my beloved NBN as I can't play it anymore for more than a few minutes without my finger tips starting to go south on my....life's a bitch...

 

BTW, my website is DOWN, major screwup at Yahoo, my host/domain provider...it will take a few days to straighten out. Meanwhile, you can reach me at my "ghost" site below....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll have to try one of those out when I can, as well as the other "gran bouche" (sp?) model they offer, with the apropriate strings, too.

 

How would you say that one responds to fingerstyle, or should I say, a pickless approach? (I hate using a pick, and rarely do.) Consider the fact that I'm comfy on a full-scale (a la Martin style) flat-top strung with .014" through .059" phosphor-bronze roundwounds, for comparison.

 

I would like to find a real lap-piano and canon that will enable me to be heard (and hear myself) in a small-pub setting with customers and other purely acoustic instruments and NO amplification of any kind. I do like some low-end and fat warmth in my tone, usually favoring cedar tops and the aforementioned linesman's wire for strings.

 

I've considered a resophonic (probably a bisuit stylee, I've just liked their tone more often), or- if and when I could afford it- trying out and picking from some of the pricier, high-end flat-tops out there (like Santa Cruz and Collings). (I'd love to get a good Dobro-stylee someday, anyways, just to have that option in the kit trick-bag.)

 

I tend to like a full, warm, but articulate tone, and the more richly laden with swirling harmonic overtones, the better. I've generally preferred Gibsons and Alvarez-Yairis to Martins and Takamines, for what it's worth as any reference...

 

Blah-blah-blah, I'm high-jacking your thread and turning it into the "Help me, Dave!"-thread, aren't I? :rolleyes:;):D

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know how they would respond to fingerstyle, but bass response without the flatpick might be hard to come by. The light ga. strings are great though. I would bet the "grand bouche" would be a better deal for fingerstyle though....

 

But, the internal reverb these things have is pretty magic.

 

Regarding resos....a pac rim instrument with a National or Quarterman cone is a lo-budget answer...watch out for neck angles/construction though, whether the guitar is import or not. I've reset the neck on entirely too many old Nationals and Regals.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i used to have a D hole gitane D-500 and bloody hated the thing :mad:

 

it's a nice price pooint on the gitanes, but i highly recommend you check out a Dell Arte, an Anastasio, or even a Shelley Park before buying one Dave. there are a tone of great builders to be had in the 1000-2000 range that offer SOOO much more tone and vibe.

 

just so you don't think i'm blowing smoke, i've been a hardcore Djangophile for the last five years, and have played all the guitars i recommended. not to mention, my only paying gig currently is in a gypsy jazz combo :D

 

if you do buy one, though, get a BigTone pickup and some Wegen picks. you'll get the django sound to a "T".

 

oi, i'll get off the old soapbox now...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Dennyf:

Very cool! Been diggin' the look of that guitar since I heard of Django. :cool:

 

How's the tone though? The old recordings make it sound like it's all attack, not much sustain, but that could be due to the nature of the way he had to play to be heard and recorded back in those days.

django used picks made from real turtle shell. YIKES. talk about attack. the wegen's do a good job of approximating the tone, though.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

okay, i get a little excited when we get on gypsy related topics... .but here's a great link to a reputed dealer:

 

http://www.gypsyguitars.com/inventory.php

 

and the dell arte's can be found here:

 

http://www.gtrs4u.com/Inventory/dellarte/Dellarte/dellarte_guitars.htm

 

the dell arte "sweet chorus" is probably the best value out there in this style. the Fontaine is outstanding as well for the $1500 price.

 

it's a lot like playing a cheap yamaha, then playing a martin d-28. the yamaha seems fine until you get the martin in yer hands :eek:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by FunkJazz:

okay, i get a little excited when we get on gypsy related topics... .but here's a great link to a reputed dealer:

 

http://www.gypsyguitars.com/inventory.php

 

and the dell arte's can be found here:

 

http://www.gtrs4u.com/Inventory/dellarte/Dellarte/dellarte_guitars.htm

 

the dell arte "sweet chorus" is probably the best value out there in this style. the Fontaine is outstanding as well for the $1500 price.

 

it's a lot like playing a cheap yamaha, then playing a martin d-28. the yamaha seems fine until you get the martin in yer hands :eek:

Don't let Prague get a hold of this information :eek::eek:
Link to comment
Share on other sites

FJ- Not meaning to dispute you or anything...but I'm a pretty good judge of guitar making; probably more so than my guitar playing abilities...

 

These cheap Chinese guitars are a complete anomaly...much better than their price dictates. They surprised me so much, that I started doing some research, and contacted one of the foremeost authorities in this country to get his opinion.

 

Here's his pages from his website on the Selmer/Maccaferri instruments...

 

http://www.lutherie.net/sitemap.html

 

Paul Hostetter is a very well known instrument repairman and luthier, and even imported Dupont guitars for several years. I wrote him a note, asking about the Gitanes....here's the email, I'm sure he won't mind...

 

Dave Wendler wrote:

 

Paul- I happened upon a "Gitane" (petite bouche) yesterday in the local music shop, and was astounded by not only the workmanship in the

guitar, but the "playability" of the design itself. It was pretty much an execise in expression for this player....subtle touch nuance...

 

I was curious regarding your opinion of these instruments....I know you've played the REAL one...and probably have a couple of examples of well known makers. If this Chinese instrument was this good, how much better are the real thing? I guess I've lived a sheltered life, as this was the first one that I've been impressed with....

 

They are pretty nice alright, far better than Saga's earlier things and far better even than a lot of handmade ones as well. Better than most of

the Dell-Arte's, for sure.

 

As you may know, I imported Dupont for many years. I started him in the US and the internet before anyone, and before anyone else except Favino was even making Selmer copies, period. I have played dozens of original Selmers, hundreds of copies by Dupont and others. So I do have a pretty good grip on the range.

 

How much better are the real ones? Real Selmers? Some of them are duds,some are so-so, but the best of them are pretty amazing. I played Django's #503 and that takes top prize, not because it was his, but because he'd played lots of them before he met that one and he obviously

realized it was one in a million, which is why he hung onto it for the rest of his life. I would have too! F-A Moerman has a converted 7-string

that is amazing. Jorgenson's is right up there as well. But to show ya, Stochelo Rosenberg had #504, the next consecutive guitar from Django's,

and he offed it because a) it was worth a lot of money and that scared him, and 2) it wasn't that good a guitar.

 

What are the BEST modern copies you've encountered?

 

Dupont. I'm somewhat loathe to admit it, since our business relationship crashed and burned so painfully, but some of his better ones are head

and shoulders over any of the other copies I have seen. However he now makes a budget guitar that's rather embarrassing, and he has lots of screwups out there (which never used to happen). I have played a few Favinos (le père) which kicked butt, but in general they don't work for me, though Dave Grisman had a Favino with a Selmer neck and tailpiece on the larger Favino body, it was a terrific guitar, one of the best. A few other modern makers are doing pretty well, but nothing I have played yet comes close to the best real Selmers. A lot of the copies include cut corners, weird aesthetic touches that seem a bit too arbitrary and recious. Makers such as LeVoi, Aylward, Moustache, et al, are offering a fine guitar, but the Gitanes are really changing the landscape. I may have to get one myself, though I have a gorgeous Dupont MD20 (maple and spruce) that I really don't deserve already!

 

All the best,

 

ph

 

Apparently, Saga introduced this style several years ago, and they were dogs...but the new ones are something else...at least the one I played....I'm going to get one....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

wow. that's a really interesting perspective. i'm surprised.

 

well, i agree that that saga are a fantastic value, and you should grab one. (i think i said that before)

 

but i have a really hard time agreeing with the statement that they are "better than most of the dell arte's." there is just no comparison, and i've owned both. different ears, i guess.

 

the selmer is a strange design that doesn't lend itself to higher quality woods like a dreadnaught does. plywood basically sounds as good as solid.

 

the best sounding selmer/macc copy i have ever heard is Jorgenson's early 80's Ibanez (when maccaferri was actually involved with them) so i really have no quarrel with lower end stuff.

 

anyway, i would NEVER question you're ability to judge a guitar, dave! hope i didnt offend you... i just wanted to offer a perspective, you know, most people haven't had a lot of gypsy guitars ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

FJ....Well, this is the first one I've really PLAYED, so I have nothing to judge from, except my ears and my luthier experience. The one I played might just be that one in a thousand....

 

Regarding plywood, and I don't know the actual plywood used in the Gitane, can be widely varying in quality. Ramirez and several other spanish makers often use laminated wood in their high end classicals; if it's done RIGHT, you should'nt lose any tone, and gain a lot in crack resistance. Torres claimed you could use papier mache and make a good back and sides set...

 

Maybe someday I'll be able to afford one of the "good" ones...but for now, this one ought to be very entertaining....

 

What are you playing on?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm playing a 30 year old Anastasio with a bigtone pickup through and AER compact 60. i get a really good, authentic gypsy sound... i'm extremely happy with this setup. the guitar is ugly and beat up, but it sounds right.

 

my gypsy trio is recording this year, so i'll post mp3's as soon as we have them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

argentine loop-end mediums, sometimes the dell arte mediums. any heavier is sort of pointless, and the lights don't project quite as much (we try to play unplugged whenever we can).

 

my string is height is quite low, but i haven't measured it, so i can't be exact... sorry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm going to have to take another look at the DG-255, it's getting some really good reviews on the gypsy chat sites. apparantly it is vastly improved on the old D hole.

 

were you looking at the maple 250, or the rosewood 255? the 255 has the improvements that Jorgenson suggested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was actually looking at the rosewood 250. At least that's the one I've been playing. THe slotted peghead looks WAY cool, but they really are a PITA when it's time to restring. So I don't really care about that.

 

Regarding Jorgenson's suggestions...I can make those changes myself, except the toner in the finish, which I don't care about.

 

While I would like to play the maple body, I'm concerned about it being TOO bright; my preference is the rosewood...but I'll bet that both "veneers" are cored with some kind of "junk" lumber(usually luaun), and so the pretty veneer wouldn't make that much difference regarding tone.

 

The finish on the one at Mass St. is reasonably thin, although it looks and smells like a catalyzed lacquer, rather than nitro...which again, I don't really care about, as long as it's applied thinly enough.

 

I would most definitely get rid of the POS tailpiece though, or at the very least, try some different ones. A lot of the "reverb" in the guitar comes from the length of string behind the bridge, and the TP would have a lot to do with that. I use a wood(cocobolo)tailpiece on the guitars that I build.

 

I'm not really after a "gypsy" tone either...although the manouche tone is great...I just want that sucker to be as loud and obnoxious as the player.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'd go with the rosewood as well. the slotted headstock is minor PITA, not so bad after a couple of re-strings.

 

"as loud and obnoxious as the player" sounds like a great slogan for Saga :D definitely works for most of the manouche freaks that i know...

 

if you get a chance, check out the Birelli Lagrene & friends video "Live at Jazz a Vienne." it has everybody in the modern gypsy jazz world, angelo debarre, stochelo rosenburg, babik reinhardt, fapy lafertin, sylvain luc, florin nicholescu, it's just beyond amazing. the most ferocious guitar playing you'll ever see.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...