I was having a discussion/debate with another guitarist about how loud the gypsy rhythm should be. His take (from having taken a lesson with a couple famous players) was that you have to play all 6 strings on each beat, and that because of this, the rhythm is supposed to be loud.
I've always felt from a musical standpoint that the melody and soloist is the central part of the music and any rhythm should never cover it up. I know this to be true in all other styles of music and I can only assume it to be true in gypsy jazz as well. If the rhythm player is playing 6 strings and the soloist 1, then obviously there is a likelihood the rhythm will cover up a soloist if they are not careful. Also, different soloists have different dynamic range capabilities, so the rhythm player has to adjust to make sure they are "accompanying" and not forcing the soloist to play with more right hand force than they'd like to. I've watched/listened to a lot of different rhythm players, and the ones that I like such as Hono Winterstein and Nous'che Rosenberg do not seem to be playing all 6 strings all the time or hitting the strings with much force. Also, it doesn't seem to me that playing lightly and playing all 6 strings are mutually exclusive. I personally really like to have the option of playing a melody or solo with a wider dynamic range. If I'm struggling to be heard, then that forces me to play fortissimo and I end up not feeling like I can play musically. I've heard some gypsy rhythm that is very loud (mostly in jamming situations) and to my ears it sounds like the soloist is buried in rhythm and/or forced to play too hard.
Anyway, there must be other players thinking about these issues so I thought I'd post this debate. What are your opinions about how loud the gypsy rhythm should be and whether or not you need to play all 6 strings?