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Django-guitars compared to other acoustic guitars

ArnsteinArnstein New
edited February 2008 in Welcome
Is a $2500 Django-guitar as good as a $2500 other acoustic guitar(og a good brand ofcourse). I hope you understand my question, even though it's not very well explained.
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  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    edited September 2007
    I think you haven't gotten an answer quite yet because we're waiting for someone with luthier knowledge (and fools rush in...uh oh), and it is a complex question, but let me ask you this: would you consider a $2500 Dobro to be as good as a regular guitar of the same price? Hard to compare, no?

    Editors note: Effusion expunged.


    "Real men play acoustic guitar." - Keith Richard
  • If I understand your question, you want to know whether a dollar will buy you more or less Gypsy Jazz guitar than it will buy you Flattop guitar... right? In other words; the relative value comparison.

    All in all, Gypsy Jazz guitars are underpriced relative to the market - so are Flamenco guitars for that matter. There is the old joke among luthiers & guitar techs: "What's the difference between Flamenco & classical guitars?" (Answer... "Price")

    Bottom line, good competent flat-top guitars will run you into the $1,500 range and you can get several competent GJ guitars for under $1,000. Good handmade Gypsy Jazz guitars are similarly underpriced (much to my chagrin ;)
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • OK, I understand.
    I'm thinking of buying one of these:

    https://shoppingcart.djangobooks.com/it ... _oval.html

    https://shoppingcart.djangobooks.com/it ... omage.html

    Are they worth the money? What is good, and what is bad about them?
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    One may say that they are underpriced relative to their value, but the market is open enough to determine their worth. After all, he isn't looking to sell a guitar, he is looking to buy one.

    At this point I'm not sure how much I agree ultimately with the quality of GJ guitars - there is a greater range of plinky, tinny sounds that are acceptable in the GJ arena than others which makes a direct comparison more difficult. And call me prejudiced or old fashioned, but I am not fond of the sound that Sitka Spruce tops give quite often. It is a cheaper wood, easily found in California, and not one Selmer was ever made from it. Dell Arte has made it a point - a price point, actually, to produce a bunch of mediocre guitars until one reaches their flagship models, where the quality begins, which is exactly what you'd expect from a US company. My nephew's $400 Takamine is a better guitar than some of the $1700 and above models I've tried. And this is when they were made here.

    Having said this, they do make some great guitars at the top of the line, like the Hommage, which Michael says is one of the best Favino copies around. But if this is your first one, unless you are 6'4" with huge arms, are you sure you want to start with a wider guitar? I sure wouldn't, and if I did I would at least size one up to see if it is more comfortable and easier to play than a regular sized guitar first before laying out $2k and beyond.
  • True true... a lot of plinky sounding GJ guitars out there; and disturbingly you can find them at many pricepoints - I think it's a consumer education issue because the popularity of Gypsy Jazz came so quickly in America that it allowed makers to come out with guitars that were loud and looked like Gypsy Jazz guitars (and very little else) and we sucked them up like candy not knowing better. I'm hoping for (and counting on) a maturing Gypsy Jazz market like the one in Europe where there are many new and used handmade Gypsy guitars across the full price spectrum like Marin, Lebreton, Castellucia, Anastasio, Favino, Giambattista, Alves de Puga, Lafee, Gerome, LeVoi, Hodson (RIP), Barault, Chauvet, Dupont, Morin, Mazaud, Busato, DiMauro, Gallato and the list goes on... They have access to such a great variety of Gypsy guitars with heart & soul much as we (in North America) have access to a variety of great handmade flat-tops (like Weber, Manzer, Greven, Doolin etc. etc. etc... and classical (Elliott, Ruck, Hill etc. etc. etc...)

    Regarding the (real) Hommages, those are the basic points of consideration. (what Elliott pointed out) Hommages are among the best and most consistent guitars Dell Arte makes. IMHO I still think that a Jorgenson 300 is the best buy in budget GJ guitars ...they're more than enough guitar for the new or casual player. It will be interesting to see whether the new Chinese Hommages can unseat the Jorgenson and become the new 'killer budget rig'.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • mmaslanmmaslan Santa Barbara, CANew
    Aren't these guitars supposed to sound "plinky" in the upper register (say, b and high e strings above the octave)? Django's sure does.

    As for value in a Selmer-style guitar v. a comparably priced flattop, classic economic theory says that economies of scale should allow big companies that produce a lot of guitars to offer quality at a lower price than small makers of niche products like the ones we play. The problem is that you can't really compare on the basis of sound quality because these two types of guitar are designed for different purposes.

    That said, can anybody point to an American-made Selmer-style guitar that's comparable in materials and workmanship to a Martin OM-21 and is in the same price range?
  • I'd actually say the "plinky" ones are the better of two evils. Most cheap Selmer copies have the opposite problem. They're too bass heavy and basically sound like flatops. You see this all the time....sometimes even with the most prestigious and expensive luthier built guitars. With the cheap ones I think it's just lack of knowledge...but many top Luthiers are purposely building pricey guitars that look like Selmers but play and sound like flatops. The reason being, most Americans are accustomed to the warm, flatop aesthetic. Even the best vintage French made guitars will sound like tin cans to a lot of US players, so the flatop sounding Selmer copy has become a popular item. They actually do sound really nice....but you won't be able to hear a note you're playing in a jam. But nice for sitting by the fire at home.

    'm
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    I guess any stringed instrument in which the vibrating string length is 6" or less sounds plinky in a sense. A clearer illustration would be if you could compare something without frets, like a harp. I have a pretty nice 24 string Troubadour harp from Heartland Harps made here in the midwest which they stopped producing as their reputation rose (they were nice enough to upgrade the maple sides to cherry when I needed to get the sound board replaced). Compared to something like a Dusty Strings harp, the Dusty Strings harp sounds pretty dead. But one day my teacher brought in this tiny harp to show me which she has been carrying around for 30 years that blew me away. The thing had no more than 12 strings total, but it was made by some luthier genius - the staff was turned, it had hearts cut out, simply gorgeous piece, and when she played it, I almost fainted, it was so beautiful sounding. The man obviously knew what it took to make the harp resonate up in that range and the fundamental harmonics it could produce were simply outstanding. I suppose it wasn't a 'plink' sound, more of a 'ping', but words fail. Needless to say she won't be selling it any time soon. So I would say there is the sense of a plink as in a kind of deadness, or the kind of ringy mandolin plink Gypsy guitars are meant to do which is an essential part of the Gypsy sound, depending on how good the guitar is, but which makes it more acceptable than the wetness Michael describes. That dark red cedar guitar Bireli played for a while was plinky as hell!

    As to the last question, the answer is no, Dell Arte has had the mass market cornered for years here, and we all know what often happens when companies can take advantage of an inelastic market.
  • Ah... OK now I understand why the miscommunication.

    When I say: "plinky" I mean "dead" as in... "no power in the sweet spot" So, by "plink" I mean the opposite of "bark" Some cheap GJ guitars have good bark... like Josh's old $900 Patennote. it wasn't a tonemonster but it had very decent 'bark' (or in your parlance... very decent 'plink')

    ;)
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
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