I am selling my Sweet Chorus, serial number 109955, asking $1100 (US or Canadian, it doesn't matter much these days), reduced from $1200. I picked up a Manouche Modele Jazz secondhand from Rob several months ago, and it quickly became my gypsy guitar of choice. I need to unload a couple of my seven guitars.
I bought the Dell'Arte from Michael Collins, and Alain Cola identified it for me as a 1999 model:
"This guitar is a Sweet Chorus Rosewood model. Made in October 1999 in our Santee, California shop. It was our 155th guitar made and it was first sold to our dealer in Toronto, the 12th Fret. By the picture it looks in pretty good shape."
An in response to a question about the tailpiece:
" ... this tailpiece is a Billardi, the same type that Jacques Favino installed on his guitars for decades. Everybody was drawing from the same old stock and this tailpiece went out of stock around 2000."
The back and sides are solid rosewood.
It comes with a hardshell case, a couple of sets of Argentine 11s, and some spare single strings. It has a Josh Hegg rosewood bridge on it now. The original ebony bridge was shimmed a bit by Josh last summer at Django in June, because I found the action to be low for my taste. He then suggested we try a different bridge, and that one stayed on. The ebony bridge will be in the case.
Issues that I am aware of:
- There are two cracks in the top, the result of the previous owner tripping over a stage monitor. They were repaired by Michael Collins and are stable and purely cosmetic. My own luthier has checked them and pronounced them to be OK.
- There is a very slight hump in the fretboard, treble side around the 15th fret. With the original bridge, it was noticeable in soloing above the 12th fret. After a good fret dressing and the new bridge, it is no longer an issue.
- There is a small hole on the base of the neck, where the previous owner had a strap button. I took the button off. The hole could be easily filled, I've just never bothered.
Soundwise, it is responsive and woody and loud. It is OK as a lead instrument but really shines for rhythm, Ted Gottsegen tried it at Django in June last year and liked it. I do a lot of soloing and find the Manouche punchier and tighter for that, but the Dell'Arte would be great for someone who is primarily a rhythm player.
If you are interested, please e-mail me. Buyer would pay for shipping from Nova Scotia, cost would depend on destination and shipping method desired.
Here is a photo. I will try to post some more later.
"It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
-- Orson Welles