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Dell'Arte: Good guitars or just good marketing?

pdaiglepdaigle Montreal, QCNew
With the number of professional musicians that 'endorse' Dell'Arte guitars and end up with signature models (Jimmy Roseberg, Angelo Debarre, Boulou, etc...) I was asking myself:

- are Dell'Arte guitars really that good that all these guys want to play with them?

OR

- is Dell'Arte simply very aggressive with their marketing and going towards all these big names and making them 'free' signature models in exchange for endorsement?

I had the chance to play 3 Dell'Arte guitars : an early production petite bouche, a swing 42 and a Robin Nolan model. While the Robin Nolan model was great, the other two were good but not exceptionnal.

What do you guys think?
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Comments

  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    Let me get this right...

    Are you asking whether they follow the American Business model like say the Gibson Guitar company where they create a flagship item, find a big name to put on it and charge a typical professional luthier price, and then as they proceed down the scale, say at $300 increments, leave out key elements so that although pretty well built they have say, non-encased tuners, thinner ebony fingerboards, local, less expensive, higher yield top woods like California Sitka, no truss rod*, and finally a completely flat top, thus justifying the high price of the 'preferred' model(s) and taking advantage of the up-to-now unoccupied mid-price range????

    Not sure, but I do have my suspicions....:wink:

    *(I know, many great models including Selmers have no truss rods!)
  • pmh425pmh425 Middle Island, NY✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 86
    pdaigle wrote:
    With the number of professional musicians that 'endorse' Dell'Arte guitars and end up with signature models (Jimmy Roseberg, Angelo Debarre, Boulou, etc...) I was asking myself:

    - are Dell'Arte guitars really that good that all these guys want to play with them?

    OR

    - is Dell'Arte simply very aggressive with their marketing and going towards all these big names and making them 'free' signature models in exchange for endorsement?

    I had the chance to play 3 Dell'Arte guitars : an early production petite bouche, a swing 42 and a Robin Nolan model. While the Robin Nolan model was great, the other two were good but not exceptionnal.

    What do you guys think?

    I cannot speak for the signature models, but I have a Dell'Arte Sweet Chorus that I purchased used in December and after some setup (the action was far too low), I am very pleased with the instrument all around.

    -Peter
    -Peter
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Dell'Arte guitars are just like any other. Meaning that even when it comes to Dupont some are better then others. That being said I have played some Dell'Arte models that have been bad across the board. I think they spread them selves a bit thin. They have many models that very in a wide range. I feel that there are a few models that giver them a bad name for those that have not had the chance to try the gamut. The Nolan model, as has been said already, is nice and fun to play as is the Homage.

    Now as for Dell'Arte marketing.... I think there has been allot of product placement as there has been with many other manufacturers in the U.S. and others. But I know first hand that Boulou likes the one he has. What I don't know is that if other Boulou signature models fallow the exact same specs. The one he has is really a great guitar.

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • fraterfrater Prodigy
    Posts: 763
    I suspect guitars made special for endorsers like Debarre or Ferre may have some edges over regular production. Personally I regret each day not having had enough money to buy the Hommage Debarre used to record "Entre Amis", sold on Guitare Village for 2300 euro or so , Bigtone included...
  • Charlie AyersCharlie Ayers Salt Lake CityProdigy
    Posts: 273
    I think that they both build good guitars, and do good marketing. I've liked every one of their D hole and Homage models I've owned/played, which have been several. They have built a large variety of instruments, which naturally vary quite a bit in tone, but all those I've seen have been impeccably built, and their customer service is hard to beat. I believe the company expends a lot of time/money/energy supplying European artists with guitars, when they're playing on this side of the pond....

    Charlie
  • V-dubV-dub San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 266
    frater wrote:
    I suspect guitars made special for endorsers like Debarre or Ferre may have some edges over regular production.

    That may be true in some cases, but I do know that at the last djangofest SF, Angelo and his rhythm plyaer were handed plain old bottom-of-the-line Dell'Arte pigalle's and they made them sound like a million bucks.

    I know for a fact that Jorgenson probably gets this sort of special treatment from Saga, if the all-black gitane he was playing last I saw was any indication.
  • fraterfrater Prodigy
    Posts: 763
    That's certainly one of the first "Tuxedo" model, developed by JJ for Saga.
  • MontereyJacquesMontereyJacques ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2011 Posts: 81
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    Didn't Tuck Andress pass recently? An interesting, introspective person, amazing solo guitarist, and Meher Baba devotee.
  • pmh425pmh425 Middle Island, NY✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 86
    Elliot wrote:
    Didn't Tuck Andress pass recently? An interesting, introspective person, amazing solo guitarist, and Meher Baba devotee.

    As far as I know, he is still around. The Tuck and Patti website shows upcoming performances.
    -Peter
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