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A newcomer becoming immersed in the world of Gypsy Jazz

Orient-BlueOrient-Blue Manchester Gitane DG-255, Ovation Balladeer
in Welcome Posts: 21
Hi,

It's my first post on the forum. I'm 30 years old and have played guitar now since I was around 11 or 12 years old. My introduction to Jazz, really came from being exposed to standards such as "Beautiful Love" and "My Funny Valentine", I had heard Django Reinhardt's music at the time, his later stuff from the fifties, but for some reason or other I guess the timing wasn't right. Since my teens I've played in various metal bands over the years, and this was the style that I played mostly, writing songs for the bands that I was involved in.

These last couple of years I really became fed-up of metal and the culture associated with people within this genre. I started to listen to guitarists that I liked such as Holdsworth and Di Meola, and this slowly led to me becoming more immersed into the world of jazz again. As a result it's really given me a renewed love for my instrument, and I have the same enthusiasm for it, as when I first started playing.

Discovering the Jazz Manouche style has been a complete revelation for me, I've listened to players such Bireli Lagrene and also Stochelo Rosenberg. I really admire the skill at improvising so many of these players have. Previously I'd been more used to the picking approaches of jazz fusion players such as Al Di Meola, as such I use an Ovation guitar for that very reason. I do notice that there is a different picking approach to Gypsy Jazz, as I started to learn this way of playing. What i wanted to ask you guys, what kind of guitar would you recommend for someone that is new to the style such as myself? I've been looking at Gitane guitars, which are very reasonable in price, I really liked the look and sound of the John Jorgenson model.
nomadgtrBuco
«134

Comments

  • NejcNejc Slovenia✭✭ Altamira M01
    edited September 2015 Posts: 92
    It really depends on what tone are you looking to get. To put is shortly, altamira guitars have usually a more punchy sound (more mid range), and the gitanes are more bass heavy and have more of a mellower sound. Atleast thats what most people say.

    Another thing you should consider is that the Gitane JJ model has a very thick neck. Again a matter of personal preference.

    If you can afford the nomade go for it. Never read anything bad against this model.
  • Welcome!
    I concur with @stuart about the Nomade, especially if you're pretty sure about you're growing interest. A friend has a JJ and while it's nice and sounds great, it isn't a Dupont. If you're less sure, get a Cigano. Many people prefer them over lots of the Gitanes. I had a 250M for several years and really liked it as an intro model. Assuming that when you buy an upgrade GJ guitar you'd need cash, they would be tough to sell and you'd have more money wrapped up in it. I encountered this when trying to sell mine to help finance my Dupont. Luckily the guy I bought it from bought it back!
    Cigano is so cheap you wouldn't have to sell it.
    Looking back, if I were to do it again, I'd skip the intro model and dive into a real guitar.
  • Buy a Cigano and spend a little time with the music. If it's going to stick, then go right up to luthier model. Don't waste any time on the transitional models. If it doesn't stick, you really aren't out a mint.
    adrianjonpowl
  • edited September 2015 Posts: 3,707
    Welcome to the forum. You will probably get several more comments about guitars. There are a number of threads going down this road. You havent set a budget and that is important to know. Get the most responsive, GJ guitar you can afford that sounds and feels right. Get help with t his if you can. The more responsive the guitar, the better it will tell you when you are doing it wrong and right.

    Easier to get it right than to correct a mistake you have practiced for a few years.

    Most of all, enjoy yourself. Its a lifetime study.
    Orient-Blue
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Orient-BlueOrient-Blue Manchester Gitane DG-255, Ovation Balladeer
    Posts: 21
    Cheers for the encouragement guys.
    stuart wrote: »

    Your profile says you are UK based, whereabouts in the UK are you? There's a pretty good scene in some parts of the country and there are a few shops about the place that stock Gitanes, Altamiras and Dell'Artes. If you can get to some jams, you will get the opportunity to try out different guitars.

    I'm based in the Greater Manchester area, I've been to a music shop in the city centre that has a few Gitane guitars, and I liked the feel of them.
    It's funny I saw a jam night at club called Matt & Phred's, where a Gypsy Jazz group were playing and were inviting people of all levels of skill to come and play. It just so happened that it clashed with my schedule. Otherwise i would loved to have gone to that. Typically my playing used to consist of strict alternate picking interspersed with other techniques, but I've really been taking on board the Gypsy rest-stroke and other techniques, it's opened up a whole new way of playing for me.



    Nejc wrote: »
    Altamira guitars have usually a more punchy sound (more mid range), and the gitanes are more bass heavy and have more of a mellower sound. Atleast thats what most people say.
    I have heard good things about Altamira, Nejc.

    I've also had a look at the MD50 by DuPont. It looks and sounds beautiful, I'm guessing that the Nomade is on par with the MD50 in terms of sound quality, it looks like the MD50 is more for eye-candy.

  • altonalton Keene, NH✭✭ 2000 Dell'Arte Long Scale Anouman, Gadjo Modele Francais, Gitane DG-330 John Jorgensen Tuxedo
    Posts: 109
    Welcome!

    I too played metal for many years, and I also began to dislike the culture of metal, and I really dislike most modern metal in general. I still love the music that I grew up with, but newer metal just doesn't do it for me.

    I was drawn to Gypsy jazz because I appreciate good technique, but as I got older, I wanted to hear more melody. For me, this music is the perfect combination of amazing technique and beautiful melodies.

    As for guitars, I am still on my first GJ guitar. I purchased a used mint condition John Jorgenson DG-330 tuxedo off eBay. I got it for $615 USD delivered to my door. Not a bad deal, eh? It is very warm sounding compared to other Gypsy jazz guitars, which I actually appreciate since I consider this guitar to be my transition into this world. I honestly thought that this guitar wasn't going to work for Gypsy jazz until I heard Ghali Hadefi play it at Django in June. He made it sound authentic and amazing! Then it dawned on me - it's all technique!

    Anyway, that's my 2¢ - try eBay. You can get something decent cheap. It helps that my wife is a damn fierce eBay sniper too. She won it for me in a late night epic sniping. I imagine that someone somewhere was pretty pissed off at that one.

    On another note, I used to practice perfect alternate picking and economy of motion. I got really fast. In February, I decided to make a commitment to rest-stroke picking. As a warning, my friend, I will say that you will lose speed and for a while, you may get frustrated at struggling with licks that you used to nail with no effort. On the bright side, you'll be able to turn an acoustic guitar into a cannon!
    BucoNejcOrient-Blue
  • Guaranteed you will lose speed, feel like a beginner again, and yet through it all comes the delight as the awareness of the changes in the way you phrase things dawns.
    alton
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • altonalton Keene, NH✭✭ 2000 Dell'Arte Long Scale Anouman, Gadjo Modele Francais, Gitane DG-330 John Jorgensen Tuxedo
    Posts: 109
    Jazzaferri wrote: »
    Guaranteed you will lose speed, feel like a beginner again, and yet through it all comes the delight as the awareness of the changes in the way you phrase things dawns.

    I agree. The first few months were rough. At times it still is, but I am getting to the point where I don't have to think about my pick strokes as much.

    Honestly, losing speed has been a blessing. Since I got into rest-stroke, when I am playing electric in a rock/blues setting, I find that I am scaling back the overdrive, getting a clearer tone, and playing better and more interesting licks. I feel that it has made me a much better player all around. Not faster, but better.

    Orient-Blue
  • Franz MoralesFranz Morales Philippines✭✭
    Posts: 85
    I've been playing two years now and I still feel like a beginner :) gypsy jazz picking is a different beast. I'm pretty used to it now (though far from perfect), though I find I can play faster than I did using alternate picking. Weird.
  • My first musical mentor, who was a great swing jazz guitarist in the 40's and 50's always. Used to say "there are 3 stages in a musicians career.....first they see how many notes they can put into a solo, then the transitional dawning of awareness of musicality......and finally, they see how many notes they can take out of a piece."

    The rest....that most overlooked wondefully rhy thmic device.
    Nejc
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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