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  • misterdanielb 3:06AM

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Ivory4066i wyatt824 mrnevvyn Hahl98Git Duncan

Took the plunge on a Dell Arte Manouche Oval

I'm here in San Francisco for a tradeshow and couldn't resist the opportunity to visit Gryphon Strings. What a great shop. It's an open, high-ceiling place with enough beautiful boutique and high-end factory guitars to make a grown man cry - and plenty of nooks and stools to sit and play. The inventory consists mostly of folk, bluegrass & country instruments, but they have a small quality selection of archtop, gypsy & classical guitars.

The icing on the cake was that I got to meet and talk with my personal hero, Frank Ford. If you’re in the area – make the trip.
You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
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Comments

  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    congrats Bob! It is great to have an instrument you love to play! I'm loving mine more and more every time I play it.

    Can't wait to jam with you some day soon!
    Cheers
  • jazzmanouchejazzmanouche Arvika, SwedenNew
    Posts: 8
    I got mine about 4 months ago. I think it's number 23 in a series of 50, built in June '03. Love it to death. Just got a Schertler from this very site and used it live for the first time this week. Very cool. I know it won't replace a good mic, but everybody loved the sound.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,240
    Cool - mine is #20. Our guitars probably hung together in the spray booth.

    Yep, heck of a guitar. They really nailed the tone and it projects well.

    I've been playing it so much that I have blisters under my calluses !

    I swear it has opened up a little even in these first few days.

    I can't imagine what it will sound like in a few years.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • campfirecampfire New
    Posts: 70
    Welcome to the Dell 'Arte Manouche "Club 50"!!! :D I have the first one they made with a "Bigtone" pickup. Ordered it from Alain himself, when they first came out. It's a great sounding and playing guitar. I haven't played the DA "503", but my "Manouche is very authentic sounding. Congrats, and enjoy!

    Larry Camp
    www.larrycamp.com (my personal jazz guitar website)
    www.impromptujazz.com (my gypsy-jazz website)
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,240
    I just had the strangest experience...

    I was playing along - Honeysuckle rose - so a lot of low 2nd & 3rd fret 3-string chord stuff... not really "barky" chords... and the high e string broke.

    And the tone got better! ? ! ? ! ?

    When I mean the tone got better, I mean that it sounds more relaxed and "chunky"... "throaty" you know... that Selmer hollow cupped-hands kind of texture - really neat.

    So - what I'm wondering is, am I loading the top too much with my current setup? I have 10's (Manouche Tone from that little company in East Los Angeles) and my action is set to 3.6mm on the low E at the 12th and 3.1mm on the high E at the 12th with just a little relief. The bridge is fit perfectly to the top - I took a great deal of time to do that, so it's transferring all its energy into the tonewood.

    when I spoke w/ Alain, he said I could get more volume by going to 11's and lowering the action a bit. I've always assumed that the physics of it would mean that raising the action would give you a little more tension... and going to a larger string size would give you a lot more tension... and that the more pressure you put on the tonewood the more it would bark (my old epi archtops are that way - raising the bridge is like turning up the volume knob)

    Am I going crazy here? If it sounds this good with 5 strings - I'm going to cut the B-string and turn the da***d thing into a tenor :)
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • mitch251mitch251 marylandNew
    Posts: 70
    I am a very very happy owner of 2 Dell Artes and I had a couple of thoughts.

    1 If your guitar is new I would play it for a while before doing too much to
    it ,let it get its bearings and open up. They sound great out of the box but
    play the hell out of them and they will sound even better

    2 I have a setup similar to what Alain suggested (bigger strings lower action)
    and it is great for me but seasonal stuff (hot cold wet dry) does affect
    my action so there is some tweaking is involved ie (shims) no big deal.

    I have been thinking about raising the action on one of them and going
    with a lighter guage.That way when stuff starts to move around with the
    seasons the strings will have a bit further to go before they start buzzing.
    I am sure that some of the folks here at this site will tell you that Django
    probably had lite strings heavy action. There was some discussion about it not to long ago.

    Last of all I would like to say that Dellarte is a great company !!!!
    Where else could you get the owner on the phone and have him
    give a damn about whether you were happy with your guitar or not.

    Play on
    Tom
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,240
    Thanks for the suggestions - I'll keep the setup as is for a couple months, play hard, and try a couple different brands of strings. I usually play Argentines, but tried Guadalupes on this one (Guadalupe Manouche Tone) maybe stiffness / string tension are part of it. Maybe I should try DA strings.

    It is so true about Alain - it's a wonderful thing. I think the note he sent me when he found out I got a DA said something like "Welcome to the family - remember to send me your registration card and give me a call if you get to San Diego."

    I bought my OM from David Webber for much the same reasons and in the next few years I'll be looking to get a Prarie State from John Greven here in Portland - again - as much buying the person as the guitar. It would have been neat to be around to meet Epi Stathapoulo - I'd love the opportunity to let him know how much I respect and enjoy the work he did in his prime.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Charlie AyersCharlie Ayers Salt Lake CityProdigy
    Posts: 270
    I'm with the rest of you; Alain is one-of-a-kind as a both a fine individual and a great customer service provider.

    Charlie
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,240
    update...

    I had the bridge off to replace those Guad strings which were pretty much all dead or broken except the B & A... so... um... (well, mom always said: if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all) OK so focusing on the positive, I'll just say that after spending $50+ on 4 sets of those buggers, I am now grateful to have the opportunity to go back to buying Argentines (or maybe trying DA or Pearse or Galli)?

    Long story short, I took the opportunity to lower the bridge to a religious 3.5mm / 3.0mm and replaced the strings w/ Argentine 10s but upped the G-string (used the G-string from a set of 11's as I'd already used the G string from the 10's to replace a popped Guad G string...)

    Oh, and I steel-wooled the crest of the bridge - first perpendicular - then parallel to its length (to round the bridge slots and smooth any edges) I also blunted the tuner and tailpiece openings by reaming them very lightly with a tool made for de-burring holes w/ sharp edges. (this at the suggestion of a friend here in a local jam group who did that and now breaks fewer strings)

    The sound is much fuller on all strings; I don't know whether it's the strings or the slightly lower action. The G-string sound is great except that its tension is just a tiny bit higher than the surrounding strings - not really noticeable unless you're looking for it. In the future I'll string the whole thing w/ 10's and maybe expiriment with using an 11 for the high E as I like a really clear piercing high-e string.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 887
    Long story short, I took the opportunity to lower the bridge to a religious 3.5mm / 3.0mm and replaced the strings w/ Argentine 10s but upped the G-string (used the G-string from a set of 11's as I'd already used the G string from the 10's to replace a popped Guad G string...)

    last time i played your guitar it felt fine to me... hopefully your measuring the distance between the top of the fret and the string and not the distance between the fingerboard and the string right?
    ---
    "I want to party like its 1939!"
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