Banner Adverts

Welcome to our Community!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Who's Online (0)

Related Discussions

Today's Birthdays

L1631 TeshaLadem Brett750 finneroop

Another which guitar to buy question (mid to high end)

Hi everyone,
I'm an experienced guitar and mandolin player, mostly playing bluegrass. I've been fortunate to own some really nice vintage and modern instruments, so I understand the importance of a quality guitar. I am selling some of my other instruments so I will have several thousand dollars available.

I started listening to Django several years ago and right away I loved the music. I always thought I would like to learn some of that, and I have finally decided the time has come. I bought Denis Chang's Art of Accompaniment DVD and have started working on the rhythm part and it's coming along. I'm currently playing on a vintage Martin D-18. Since I have some money available I've started looking at getting a new guitar. Here are some more considerations. I like some non-Gypsy jazz, but it mostly tends to be acoustic: I love Frank Vignola's stuff, some of Martin Taylor's acoustic stuff, Eddie Lang, etc. I love Joe Pass's Virtuoso recordings. I do like John Pizzarelli, and I'm a fan of Charlie Christian. At this point I'm not a huge fan of people like Metheny or fusion sounding stuff.

I've spent a lot of time on the Djangobooks site looking at guitars and videos. I have to say the La Fee really speaks to me. I love the looks, the sound, and the whole concept of it. My concern with an instrument like this would be resale value if I ever decided it wasn't for me. First, it's a small shop that's not as well known as someone like Dupont. Second, it's non-traditional. People getting into Gypsy Jazz tend to want a guitar that looks like Django's. So part of me says I should go for something like a Dupont Nomade, MD-100, or even MD-50. I think I could easily sell something like that in the future. The downside is that it may not be quite as versatile for non-Gypsy Jazz as the La Fee.

The other thing I would consider is getting an F hole archtop modeled after something like an early Gibson L5. I have seen a Gibson reissue in the same price range as the above guitars. I know it's not the traditional Gypsy Jazz guitar but it seems that music would sound pretty good on it and it would be right at home with other jazz styles. I love the youtube videos with Julian Lage playing his.

I'm realistic enough to know that this may just be a fad and not something I stick with, so I don't want to be stuck with an expensive niche instrument that I can't sell. I may just take what I can learn and throw it in the next time Sweet Georgia Brown, Lady Be Good, or Minor Swing come up in our bluegrass jam!

Thanks for your time reading my long and rambling thoughts!


  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,068
    hi, i personally would not recommend buying a guitar unless you get to try it first or if the luthier was very reputable and therefore had good resale value

    otherwise, i'd just get an entry level guitar like the gitane dg 255 which is one of the best you can get for the price, and easy to sell when you finally find your dream guitar!
  • flacoflaco
    Posts: 25
    Hi Dennis,
    Thanks for the response! That's certainly the most practical advice. Do you have any thoughts on playing Gypsy Jazz on a non-traditional guitar like a Gibson f5 acoustic archtop? Have you played the La Fee or heard it in person? I particularly like this YouTube clip:
  • While an archtop may not give the sound and volume for GJ if one already has one, play that til one reaches the point of really needing a GJ acoustic.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 401
    I just saw Dorado Schmidt in concert a week and a half ago. Dorado was playing an Ibanez Es-175 type archtop through a Fender tube amp. I guess he missed the memo that you need a Selmac guitar to play Gypsy Jazz. :roll:

    It is the mechanic, not the tool. Amplified, Gypsy jazz can be played well on any guitar you like. Choose a guitar that inspires your playing. Where Selmacs rule, IMO, is the pure acoustic gig or Djam. Older arch tops compete well in this arena too.

    Denis gives excellent advice regarding the Gitane. It is the right place to start to see if a Selmac is a good fit. If you find a Selmac is your thing after trying a Gitane ( or Cigano), get a higher end Selmac.

    For resale consideration, and for a top notch instrument, I would recommend a DuPont or Favino. Both luthiers work have stood the test of time.

    My 2 cents to this thread...


  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,068
    I just saw Dorado Schmidt in concert a week and a half ago. Dorado was playing an Ibanez Es-175 type archtop through a Fender tube amp. I guess he missed the memo that you need a Selmac guitar to play Gypsy Jazz. :roll:

    He gave that guitar to me as a gift a few days ago! It's an Ibanez guitar that he modded himself; he put vintage gibson pickups on em.

    The reason he plays electric guitars is because of his car accident many years ago that nearly took his life, he still has health problems because of it; these days it's harder and harder for him to play acoustic instruments so he mainly plays electric

    i know i've tried lafee guitars, i dont remember anything about em though; my friend who tried em loves em if that helps.

    I personally think a DG-255 will last you many years until you find the guitar of your dreams...
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 401

    That Ibanez sounded great in Dorado's hands ( what guitar wouldn't?) and I am sure it sounds great in yours.

    I agree with you 100% about the DG 255. I think they are the best entry level Selmac out there.


  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,283
    Stuart, it's a common term to describe any guitar in the Macaferri-Selmer tradition. Just distinguishes the type of guitar from, say, an archtop.
    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • sjlsjl ✭✭
    Posts: 31
    I don't want to begin another post with the same question, so I've decided to borrow stuart's one (sorry pal)
    In Spain We have a good builder like Geronimo Mateos, and the fact is I can easily go to his lutherie and try his guitars.
    But just for ask, What to choose with a 2500 euros top?
    - Geronimo Mateos jazz A.
    - JWC Selmer or Favino.
    - ...

  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,283
    stuart wrote:
    So I guessed - it's still an ugly and inaccurate word. Personally I just use 'selmers' -- it's accurate (if imprecise) and doesn't sound like a make of vacuum cleaners.

    Stuart - I'm not generally a fan of modern language hybrids and mutants - "Refi," used by my restaurant's building owner, used to send me into paroxysms of righteous anger, something like the word "foodie" in most contexts (I've since lost my preciousness about the latter term). Though the term doesn't bother me at all, I honor the obvious care you feel for these truly beautiful instruments.
    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
© 2020, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2020 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.04228 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.444717 Megabytes