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AJL Oberg "Gypsy Fire" - Favino model; Gaffiero; experience?

PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
Anyone either own or have experience with the "Andreas Öberg Gypsy-Fire" guitar, made by AJL?

Cyril Gaffiero?
pas encore, j'erre toujours.
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Comments

  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,645
    I have played one, a Brazilian rosewood D hole. Fantastic guitar, one of the best modern gypsy guitars I've ever had my hands on. Beautifully built and finished and killer tone.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,283
    klaatu wrote:
    I have played one, a Brazilian rosewood D hole. Fantastic guitar, one of the best modern gypsy guitars I've ever had my hands on. Beautifully built and finished and killer tone.

    Thanks, Ben. You're talking Cyril's make, yes? (sorry, don't mean to be clueless - didn't know if AJL does a D-hole with Favino specs otherwise). Was this at DIJ? (and it can't come soon enough....!)

    Would you mind describing the tone, a bit? I'm thinking of a long-scale D-hole eventually, within the year, so appreciate whatever experience thoughts you might have.

    Thanks!

    Paul
    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,645
    Sorry, Paul, I wasn't being clear. I was actually talking about an AJL Gypsy Fire that was in my possession briefly. Yes, AJ does indeed build a Favino style D hole. Check out the photos on his Web site for some examples.

    The sound was exceptional. Very Favino like - i.e., much more bass response than a Selmer, very strong mids, but with the difference that it was much more balanced than typical Jacques Favino guitars, which tend to not have a strong high end. AJ's description is pretty accurate - "soundwise it's like Favino, but better response on high strings." This particular one had a rip-your-face-off bark. I had an opportunity to buy it, but it had some pretty serious finish problems (which were definitely NOT the fault of the builder), and I passed on it. I've wondered whether I made the right decision on that, because I went through a few guitars trying to find one that was as satisfying.

    I eventually found that guitar, a Rodrigo Shopis F model (pictured below) that I bought secondhand, which is every bit as good as the AJL.


    Here's a clip of Tchavolo playing it (before I bought it):


    You might want to consider Rodrigo. He will build you a Favino style D hole, at a cost far less than the AJL, since you won't have to pay any customs charges (he's located in New York City). I know a number of people who own Rodrigo's guitars, and any of them would recommend him highly.

    I think you would be happy either way. Rodrigo and AJ IMHO build the best modern Favino guitars, other than possibly those by Jean Paul Favino, which are far more expensive.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    I've been lucky so far with custom fees, so I don't know much about it.
    How much do you usually pay when a guitar arrives here (US / Canada)?
    - JG
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,645
    Joli Gadjo wrote:
    I've been lucky so far with custom fees, so I don't know much about it.
    How much do you usually pay when a guitar arrives here (US / Canada)?
    I don't know about the US. Here in Canada, it's declared value times 15% tax (Nova Scotia) + 6% for a non-NAFTA product, which would apply to AJL or any European-built instrument, plus shipping, insurance, and customs clearance (which varies depending on the carrier - UPS & FedEx can sock us for $100-200 for basically shuffling some papers around; Canada Post charges $5, and I think USPS is pretty low as well).
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,283
    Thanks for the info, Ben, fantastic. I wasn't aware that is Rodrigo, till seeing his photo - he was at DIJ, right? I know so little about the different makers, even the different qualities associated with Favino, Selmer, Busato, a "house" sound (I know that's way too broad). Michael Bauer's been a big help here.

    My sensibility tends to darker, warm, ideally what Michael H. referred to somewhere as "honey." Rhythm is vastly more important to me now than playing lead, and I'm not certain that's ever going to change (though I don't know - 'till I gain a certain mastery in all rhythm has to offer, won't be trying much, if any, lead). My body/arm size too, I think, would be more comfortable on a larger guitar, so Favino seems a natural fit. If you, or anyone, have any further thoughts as to this style of guitar, much appreciated.

    There's a chance my family and I will be going to France over the next year, for a fairly extended stay, in which case, combing shops there is a possibility as well. But absent this, I am looking for a step up, so thanks again for your info.
    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • noodlenotnoodlenot ✭✭✭
    Posts: 388
    oh god, i wan´t to be like Tchavolo so badly...
  • marcelodamonmarcelodamon Centralia, WA✭✭✭ 2005 AJL Custom & Dell Arte Blues Clair
    Posts: 36
    Hello group,

    I usually don't post on here due to my busy schedule as a soon to be medical school student, but with regard to the Favino guitar, I consider myself somewhat of an aficionado of these fine instruments. I currently own and love the "Blues Claire", a white Dell Arte Hommage based on the Favinos of the 70's. As I have played gypsy jazz since the early 90's, I have had an opportunity to own and or play on real Selmers, Busatos, and of course Favinos, in addition to many of the modern makers. In my opinion, and bear in mind this is just one guy's opinion, the Favino guitar is a more musical instrument than the Selmer or Busato (I am sure I am going to receive some rebuttals to this statement!). It is not as brittle on the high end, and possesses a more robust tonal palette over the entire spectrum of the instrument. It is a well balanced sound, and to my ears, more pleasing to listen to than a Selmer or Busato. But again, some people prefer the thunderous volume of a Busato, or the attacking sound of a Selmer (in the right hands of course).That's just my two cents.

    As for AJL, I owned one of his earlier guitars, and it was perfect in every way. Fit, finish, tone, and playability. If I had the money I would order a custom D-hole Gypsy Fire in royal blue, without batting an eyelash. However, you should also check out Michael Collins, as his guitars keep getting better all the time. Additionally, I have owned an Eimers, as well as a guitar by the english maker Rob Aylward (who has somewhat vanished off the scene despite making excellent guitars), and found them to be quite good as well. Of course, I am more than happy with my Dell Arte.

    If you would like to hear how the white Dell Arte favino sounds, take a listen at:

    http://www.djangology.net

    Bear in mind this is not a professional camera that caught the performance, but it should give you and idea about the sonic qualities I was talking about.

    Regards,

    Marcelo Damon
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,283
    Hi Marcelo -

    First, thank you for your site and work there - a wonderful resource.

    Thank you, too, for the info. I'm weighing Rodrigo Shopis, who a few players really spoke very highly of, as well. Thanks for the food for thought.

    Paul
    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • sjlsjl ✭✭
    Posts: 31
    Which are Favino's advantages over Selmer's (if any)?
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