As some of you may remember from my previous post "Who makes 14-fret short scale Selmacs?" http://www.djangobooks.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4407
, I've been on the hunt for what has become my Holy Grail of gypsy guitars, the elusive 14 fret short scale
D hole. A chance query to Alain Cola kicked off a lengthy correspondence during which it was revealed that Dell'Arte makes just such a beast, a special order Anouman.
Well, today's hot news from this part of the world is that mine arrived last night, when I took delivery of an absolutely gorgeous example of the same (see pix below - it's even prettier in person). This is a pristine 2003 model that Alain had on consignment and features amazing maple back and sides, a Bigtone, a great neck, and a punchy, biting sound that (to my ears) is almost more oval hole than D hole, but with the openness you associate with D holes.
If you have the same issue that I have (small hands and difficulty with the long scale), and you're also a D hole fan but you want 14 fret access, get in touch with Alain. He'll make you one. Laminates are standard for the back and sides, although mine is solid. Per Alain, "The scale length is 25.5 inches. The outer material for the laminate is either Indian Rosewood, flamed Maple or Walnut."
They also have a Tchavolo Schmitt signature model that's featured on the GypsyJazz.net Web site, a 14 fret short scale Favino
sized D hole, with back and sides made of Primavera.
I have to say also that Alain is every bit the great guy that everyone says he is. We had a really enjoyable discussion by e-mail, and he very patiently answered my many questions.