I want a new guitar but am very confused

Makers of Gypsy Jazz guitars

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I want a new guitar but am very confused

Postby jackspoon » Tue Aug 12, 2008 6:55 pm

Hi all,
I've been reading a lot of the posts in this section of the forum and some of what i would like to know has been covered but I still have some questions that I can't seem to answer on my own.

I have a saga gitane d500 d hole 12 fret to the body model and it is a remarkable guitar. I am having so much fun with it.

I have been in touch with rob awlward and godefroy maroujuols and they have sent me pics and prices of some of their finest.

What i would really like to know is am I going to really appreciate the difference in sound and playability between one of their delicious handbuilt guitars and my astonishingly fine chinese saga?

I would be gutted if I ordered an awlward or a maroujouls, waited several months to a year, shelled out the best part of £2000 and discovered that It didn't sound particularly sweeter than my 500 quid gitane.

One reason for wanting another guitar is the 12 frets to the body. I need those extra frets. However, I played a gitane oval 14 fret and was most underwhelmed by its sound. I bought the 500 because it sounded far and away the better guitar- perhaps each one is different (anyone have any thoughts on this?)

Obviously the chinese can do a lot more with a 500 quid than a european luthier, the sagas have laminated sides which from reading posts here, seems to make a tangible difference to the sound. Is there anything else that makes a big difference. i read that the setup is really important. Would it be worth buying a quality bridge (dupont) and fitting that to the gitane?

would it be worth buying a 14 fret oval gitane and playing with the set up?

My gitane seems to have a fairly weak top end, with the treble not having the punch I am after. I like playing solo stuff (echos of spain for example).

So. If you were me, would you shell out the cash on a lovely new guitar?
I have a budget of 1500-1800 quid but I want it to blow my socks off. And if you would shell out the cash, where would you spend it?!

All comments would be greatfully received,

Jack
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Postby Phydeaux3 » Wed Aug 13, 2008 8:43 am

Yes, Yes, Yes.
Gitanes are entry level. Have you ever played a hand made guitar? You will definitely notice the difference.
However, John Vickers' Manouche Guitars are extremely good guitars. Check out their website www.manouche-guitars.com
They are placed bang in the middle of entry and higher priced.
Players like Moreno, Howard Alden and Samson Schmitt own John's guitars.
Rob Aylwood is a great luthier. You should also check out John le Voi.
You can make certain tweeks to your guitar but you cannot just put on a Dupont Bridge as it won't fit correctly.
The Gitane's as far as I'm aware are relatively flat topped. Normally bridges are more curved to follow the contours of Duponts and other hand made guitars. You would need to flatten the bottom which means you would lose height and therefore sound and tone.
ALL guitars are different (Favino, Selmers are no exception)
If you have the money upgrade if that's what you want to do. If you are happy with the Gitane stick with it until you get even more bored because in time your ears will become more attuned to the differing sounds guitars make. One thing you must do before you buy is try the guitars out. You have to be comfortable with it and happy with the sound.
Finally the sound you get out of your guitar is also down to technique. You can have the best guitar and still not make it get 'That Sound' because of a weak technique. I have heard gypsies play crap, non 'gypsy' guitars and made them sound incredible
Alors! Un, deux...
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Postby jackspoon » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:29 am

Phydeaux3,

Thanks for the sound advice, I do own a hand built guitar, and it is in a class of its own, sadly gypsy stuff sounds ridiculous on it!

I think you have made my mind up for me. :D

Cheers

Jack
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Re: I want a new guitar but am very confused

Postby Thrip » Wed Aug 13, 2008 10:51 am

jackspoon wrote:I have been in touch with rob awlward and godefroy maroujuols and they have sent me pics and prices of some of their finest.


I have a guitar by each of these makers. One of them might be for sale...

If you want to know more pm me.
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Postby BluesBopHarry » Wed Aug 13, 2008 3:24 pm

I say, stick with your Gitane for a while longer until you feel that you have really outgrown it as a player.
I've tried about ten of them and they all were remarkably similar in terms of sound and feel.
They sound really good, especially for the dough, with a very fat and pleasing sound. A better bridge and setup (likely with Argentine 11's) will improve the sound considerably, enough to last for the first 4-5 years of Jazz manouche learning stages, and worthwhile to keep even after you've own a better instrument.
When you are ready to trade up i recommend you go straight to the top and get a Dupont or a Favino,you will then really notice the difference. To me in not worthwhile to step up incrementally.

And don't worry about the 12 fret thing...Django didn't make the switch to the 14 fretter until the late 30's!

Good luck
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Killy Nonis....the new Favino?

Postby Fordy » Thu Oct 09, 2008 1:44 pm

Hiya, Havn't been in for a while, but just found this thread and thought I'd bung in my tuppence worth.
If you have already bought a hand made selmer type, then this may be irrelevant, or annoying, but I own a superb guitar built by the wizard known as Killy Nonis. For me, its an excellent guitar, (way too good for me!) great tone, superb character and a 'flick in the eye' treble..Plus its a beaut to look at! My Nonis has been played by Stochelo, john jorgensen, Daniel Givone, amongst others who all compared it favourably with their Selmers, (Daniel, whilst playing in the dark thought it was his selmer!) Killy is a Freak (In the nicest possible way) and is making some of the best guitars I have heard, They may be slightly above your price range, but It would be worth talking to him. Tchavolo played one of Killy's D-Holes at Samois this year and would not leave it alone, insisting that it was one of the finest he had played...he now has it and will be recording with it soon....I know John and Rob and many others make superb guitars and you have a lot of great makers, sound styles and great guitars to go through, but I would recomend a Nonis very highly indeed, not least as it would appear that he seems to be the 'New Favino!' Who's guitars will become very sought after in years to come.
I will learn to play this thing!
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Re: I want a new guitar but am very confused

Postby uthterii » Mon Apr 20, 2015 12:55 pm

You can make certain tweeks to your guitar but you cannot just put on a Dupont Bridge as it won't fit correctly. The Gitane's as far as I'm aware are relatively flat topped. Normally bridges are more curved to follow the contours of Duponts and other hand made guitars. You would need to flatten the bottom which means you would lose height and therefore sound and tone. ???
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