DjangoBooks.com

What does a "Gypsy" set-up entail?

Hello All! This is my first post, so if there are any mistakes please bear with me.

I am an experienced guitarist and teacher and started playing this style about 3 years ago shortly after first picking up (and later buying) an Aria MM-10. When i got this guitar i thought that it was fantastic because it gave me that "Djangoish" sound. Last year however i learnt that this guitar is almost the bottom of the line (where i live GJ guitars are few and far between and until this time the Aria was the only one i had seen in real life). But i found and played a Gitane D-500 and fell in love all over again. Unfortunately i cant afford it at the moment but will hopefully be buying soonish. This bringing me to my question - Is there anything i can do to improve tone on my Aria, and what is done in a GJ set-up? (i do alot of service work myself, and there are no real people where i live to give me a professional GJ set up) how does it differ from standard set-ups. My intonation is fine but i am playing with Martin Finger style phosphor bronze (.12 - .52) strings.

(Until viewing this sight i had no idea that there where even GJ strings (i had assumed but as i've said there is nowhere to buy them here)

Comments

  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    edited January 2008 Posts: 476
    See Below
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    Jeff Moore wrote:
    Your post sounds so similiar to my own experience I thought I'd chime in. I've bought three GJ guitars ($1400. $325. and $340) and have very limited experience (hands on) with the great guitars of this genre. I play professionally but that doesn't take me very far from your questions about the sound of these guitars.
    I want to say that my own values are the following (roughly): Squelch the aquistion urge down to the most practical level, Practice like hell and regard the guitar in my hands as if it was gold. The ability to play with conviction and put your ideas into action is almost independent of the sound of your guitar.
    I play my D-500 and a Cigano (referenced above) amplified and not in local venues every week. People listening and the few appreciating what I'm playing have never once commented on an inadequacy of the sound. Quite the opposite. They've never made a helpful suggestion about a better guitar. The few who already know the style don't seem to have strong preconceptions of sound.
    All of the advice I get refers to other guitarists: "Have you ever played (Joe Superfret!)?", not suggestions about guitars.
    When I can afford a new guitar, I'll buy it again from this site because: I support those who support GJ, and because knowledgable and friendly advice in a rarified market is as yet unbeatable.
    Now to answer your question: If the sound of your Aria is dark, I'd leave it alone. If bright, I'd carve all the fat off the bridge, or buy a lighter one.
    Buy GJ strings before you decide you need a set up. They're lighter than what your using. The ones your using are heavy enough that they could damage (bend) your top and bracing down over time.
    Once you've put on GJ strings (look elsewhere on this site for string recomendations) your bridge height may be to high or low. High means greater than 3mm between the top of the 12th fret and the bottom of the small E string. Low means the strings buzz more than you can tolerate. Both are individual and subjective.
    Leveling frets is always a good idea if your going to play a guitar for hours and hours over months or years. I do my own fret levels and without getting into technique, my goal is a perfectly straight top to all the frets. No fret higher than its neighbor and all straight. Most technicians put slight relief (curve using the truss rod) such that the neck is slightly concave. I bet Josh's (moderator of this thread) fret levels are as near perfect as you'll get if you can afford to send the guitar to him.
    You said the intonation was good, so no fix necessary. I think that those are the components of a "set up". Even if my guitar was "bottom of the line" (and it is) I'd want it to play well if only because its best for learning and practice.
    You'll likely want to satisfy the desire to know what is out there in terms of great guitars. If you scan this thread you'll find a wealth of good opinion from many directions on that topic.
    Feel free to call.
    Jeff Moore
    206 842 9487[/list]
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,044
    ya just put some gypsy strings on , set up the action the way you like it and you should be fine.... however, one thing about the aria is that (at least the ones i've tried) the neck is bigger (almost like a classical guitar) which can make it awkward for certain gypsy chords...
  • KlezmorimKlezmorim South Carolina, USANew
    Posts: 160
    dennis wrote:
    ...one thing about the aria is that (at least the ones i've tried) the neck is bigger (almost like a classical guitar) which can make it awkward for certain gypsy chords...

    Dennis,
    I've read that Django didn't care much to play other's guitars because the necks weren't wide enough to suit his playing. Admittedly, I doubt any of us are playing with the same left-hand challenge he had, but might not the Aria's neck be closer to what DR might have preferred?

    (I realize this may reopen the whole philosophical can of worms about 'Do we try to imitate Django's fingering or do we play his music with what *we* have for a left hand,' which is not my intent.)
  • AAAWAAAW AustraliaNew
    Posts: 3
    Thanks for all your posts. Yes i am meaning to get some Argentine Strings 1610MF or Argentine Strings 1510MF. What is the difference between the red and the blue?

    BTW the neck size its self doesn't bother me i play just about every style of guitar (professionally and teaching) there is including classical so i am used to the neck but i did find the Aria very difficult to play in comparison to the Gitane.

    ((thanks again for posting))
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,044
    Klezmorim wrote:
    dennis wrote:

    Dennis,
    I've read that Django didn't care much to play other's guitars because the necks weren't wide enough to suit his playing. Admittedly, I doubt any of us are playing with the same left-hand challenge he had, but might not the Aria's neck be closer to what DR might have preferred?

    i tihnk he meant FAT necks, i was actually talking about the width (is it the "width"?) which is unusual in an aria (at least the ones i've tried); like i said it's similar to a classical guitar....
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    We say "gypsy setup" so that people know that it's not a setup like you would get on a Flat Top. The action is set at around 3mm a the 12th fret unless other wise specified. If we just said "setup" people new to this style might over look the fact this it's a little different then a setup you get from your local guitar shop.

    Cheers,
    Josh
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
Follow Us
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
DjangoBooks.com
Search
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
Follow Us
© 2019 DjangoBooks.com, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2019 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.042259 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.446075 Megabytes
Kryptronic