Manouche Guitar: Aria, Gallato or Richwood?

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Manouche Guitar: Aria, Gallato or Richwood?

Postby FerCa » Sun May 27, 2012 4:03 pm

Hi, I recently started to learn to play Gypsy Jazz style, now I'm looking for a entry level guitar. I'm lefthanded by the way. I searched a lot and I found this three models of manouche guitar for left handed:

- Aria MM-20.
- Gallato Django.
- Richwood RM-70.

I need some help: Which one you think its a better option? Anyone know of another left-handed guitar at this level?

Thanks a lot!
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Re: Manouche Guitar: Aria, Gallato or Richwood?

Postby pinkgary » Fri Jun 15, 2012 10:24 pm

What's the most you're willing to spend?
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Re: Manouche Guitar: Aria, Gallato or Richwood?

Postby viehmeyerjazz » Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:59 pm

defanatly gallato if your choosing out of those three.i truly believ youlll be dissapointed if you buy richwood .arias not so bad but ithing gallatos your best that price range there are also ciganos, but if its the oval hole your looking to get then defanatly get the gallato.if your considering a d hole then perhaps the cigano because its very loud and better than most begginer guitars but personally i prefer oval holes and the oval hole cigano i dont care for so much.gallato!gallato!gallato!.i hope i was convincing enough lol
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Re: RICHWOOD ~ Manouche Guitar: Aria, Gallato or Richwood?

Postby ukenlayle » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:34 am

Hi Chaps, new to the forum but not to gypsy guitars, as I first played a Selmer Mac back in the 1950s and am still in love with them. Deciding to go to Samois this year and not wishing to risk my lovely minty 1973 CSL Mac being damaged, or worst, lost etc, I looked around for an alternative guitar to take. A few days ago I saw a secondhand Richmond Gypsy being auctioned on Ebay, but not described as such, just having the model number, so there were no bidders. It arrived yesterday in mint condition. I got it for under £60, and here are my thoughts on it for those who are interested. Firstly, this is not a Selmer copy, the body shape and dimensions are not similar at all, the cutaway is angled upwards and is rounded on the shoulder, the oval soundhole is bigger and has sharper ends. The bridge is clunky and ugly in shape and the tailpiece does the job well but is industrial looking ~ more Ikea than Selmer! The build however is good ( I make Guitars, Mandolins and Uke's myself ) with nice attention to detail, well chosen woods and a decent finish to the surface. The bindings are excellent and the wooden inlay to the soundhole ~ this is NOT a photograph as somebody has suggested ~ is solid wood veneer, but could have been more accurately fitted, are they all short sighted at the factory? The Neck feels good, is slim in profile and pleasant to play, although I am used to a 12 to body Orchestra model, and therefore miss the slightly wider nut and fretboard. The fretboard has a subtle camber, very similar to that on a KC series Washburn electric that I own, and is not far off flat but fast, as the action is presently lower than on the average Selmer copy, but with no string buzz however. Fret ends are well dressed and the board is nicely bound. The belly is flat, no pliage at all, and the neck is set back at an angle with a wedge under the fretboard at the body to get the string height up. The bridge is very high because of this, but the action is superb, very fast and comfortable! This guitar is easy to play. The sides and back are of laminated "Mahogany", some fast growing variety, the front is of well chosen close grained spruce and is SOLID wood. A cheap guitar I know, but the overall finish cannot be faulted. The fittings are cheap and nasty ~ but can be user changed if desired, I myself will change the machines and the tailpiece and I will also make a new Maccaferri style helical bridge and moustaches from ebony, to replace the Chinese disaster in place at present.
Now, THE SOUND. Given that this is a 200 quid or less guitar, has a flat top and very poor bridge, it actually sounds great, better than the Gitane petit bouche amazingly. The strings are old, however, as fitted when it arrived, so It may sound even better with a new set of Argentines. OK, so, ~ the tone is gypsy sharp, and the volume is loud, with clear highs, mids and bass ~ I personally have no problem with how this particular Richwood sounds, I would gig it. It does not have the warmth of the Mac, but the Mac is a D hole with resonator, and has a very distinctive sound of its own anyway, as other owners of Macs to the 1932 specification will recognise. The Richwood is cuttingly loud, and produces both good excellent single string and very good chord sounds. There is no rattle of any kind, and the rather odd tailpiece works well, although it can only be used with ball end strings. If Richwood put their mind to it, and paid more attention to detail such as providing a little pliage to the belly, a decent bridge and quality fittings, they could easily be up there with the other quality mid range Selmer copies. In summary, this is actually quite a good instrument, let down by a few details, but which I would recommend as being an amazingly good buy if you want to play it, rather than look at it or critisise it! You can hear one on YouTube. Mine is a keeper for a while, just right for summer outdoors, traveling and picnic gigs, and I may even grow to love it too, when I have upgraded the fittings. It will never be a Selmer, but it is far better than a lot of guitars being sold at higher prices, so eight stars out of ten for me. Remember, better golf clubs won't make you a better golfer, a professional camera does not make you a professional photographer, and the best gypsy guitar in the world won't make you Django!
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Re: Update on Richwood. Day Two.

Postby ukenlayle » Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:21 pm

Right, Back to the Richmond RM70 NT Gypsy Guitar ~ have now worked on the existing rosewood bridge and refined it somewhat on the band sander and finished it carefully by hand, looks much better, why did they not do this at the factory, it only took a few minutes. New set of Argie's fitted and left overnight to stretch in before full tuning. Put a small pad of felt under the tailpiece fitting ( tailpiece looks like a spare part from a Landrover when compared to that on my Mac ) and cut a scratchplate from an iPad screen guard for the body, nice idea this if you own an expensive guitar, as it does no damage to the finish and can be easily replaced when needed. Had a goods look inside the body when the strings were off using a mirror and also a mini video camera. Finish inside is very good, no glue drips or grubby fingerprints and all bracing very nicely finished and of appropriate size and strength. No ladder bracing, but some light support in the correct area. Front is confirmed as solid spruce. Lowered the action by a half millimeter or so, by working on the feet of the bridge. No rattle and an action to die for, very near to my favourite Washburn electric. Guitar with new strings very loud and responsive, plays well with great tone and expression. Good right along the board and the highs are bright with decent sustain. Still nowhere near a Selmer of course, but a very good, very cheap, very playable, and frankly, very good looking instrument for £60 ~ but, would I pay more? Yes I would, in fact I am considering buying another to give to my son who plays jazz guitar, but will work on it a bit before he gets it. In a darkened room I believe it would be hard to tell this from a much more expensive gypsy guitar. but that is only my opinion of course.
Now, anyone got any experience of the LAG gypsy guitars?
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Re: Manouche Guitar: Aria, Gallato or Richwood?

Postby Teddy Dupont » Wed Jun 04, 2014 2:03 pm

I would get a ukulele instead if I were you.
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