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Review of Dupont Vieille Reserve

Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
In a comparison to my Cigano long scale and my D-500, the VR simply has more volume, more of the reference tone (to Django recordings), and more complexity. This adds up to a significant but not earthshaking difference. At 22 times the cost of the Cigano, it isn't 22 times better, but certaily is some "better" and very exciting to practice and play with. The VR simply translates more of what you play into a sound very much like Django's sound.
The VR has more bottom than the Cigano but not much more (though different) than the D-500, and more volume than either Saga guitar.

I elevated the bridge 4-5 millimeters from the stock #1 Dupont bridge. This fixed the unecessary amount of string slap it came with. It did not dimish the crunch of a chord hit hard. It has a lot of crunch. It also has more of that distinction in sound between wound and unwound strings, with the wound strings sounding more classical and round when played moderately.
As far as fit and finish, I'm not one to notice. The woods are all muted either stained (the top) or very regular grain (Indian Rosewood sides and back). Not flashy but rather understated.

Micheal's description in the "sticky" comparing Busato and Selmer is a very usefull one and includes a sound clip that sounds a lot like this VR. The only exception I'd offer to Micheal's desctiptions is that I'm not sure "Selmers" are as bright as he suggests, but my experience is limited to one Dupont copy only.

Having sat and listened in a quiet room to a talented guy playing an actual Busato and this Dupont, the Busato was clearly more high pitched overall both low strings and high. The Dupont sounds dark in comparison particularly the wound strings. Very classical and gentle to my ears when picked moderately or softly. When a wound string is picked hard, the sound of the string still isn't strident but is of course louder. This seems consistent with the sound I hear in Django's recordings. On this guitar, I percieve the low E string as being louder than the other three wound strings.

I'v only had it a few days and I'm still in the very romantic phase of the relationship. To be fair, I'm still in love with the Cigano too. It has a usefull sound for me, just less of everything except fundamental clarity in the bass strings; which it has more of.

Hope this helps
"We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
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Comments

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,777
    Hi Jeff...thanks for the review!
    Jeff Moore wrote:
    The only exception I'd offer to Micheal's desctiptions is that I'm not sure "Selmers" are as bright as he suggests, but my experience is limited to one Dupont copy only.

    Well, ultimately all guitars are individuals so sometimes these broad, sweeping generalizations don't measure up to reality. I've heard Selmers, which are both bright and dark, and Busatos which are both bright and dark. But in my experience, Favinos have the least brightness, Selmers usually have a lot, and Busatos can go either way, but when they're bright, wow they're really bright!! Again, more sweeping generalizations.....but I still feel from my experience that Selmer type guitars tend to be on average brighter then the others. The Dupont VR, being a very close copy, is also usually very bright. But it's all relative...


    'm
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    What sold me on this guitar was hearing it. On the web page advertising this guitar you described VR's as "extremely bright".

    I percieve this guitar as average brightness in the trebles and round and smoky in the bass. If it had been extremely bright, I wouldn't have been as interested.
    If in the future other prospective buyers wanted a very bright Dupont and bought sight unseen one that sounds like this, it might spell trouble.
    I'm mean no critisism of your description but rather that people reading this review might get another take on at least this one Dupont VR and take both descriptions as well meant but as you say, relative.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,777
    Jeff Moore wrote:
    What sold me on this guitar was hearing it. On the web page advertising this guitar you described VR's as "extremely bright".

    I'd say it's very bright compared to most Favinos, Parks, Hahl, etc., all of which are much warmer and/or darker then the VR. Also depends on how you play it and have it setup.

    Ultimately everyone will hear it in their own way....all of these things depend on any given individuals experience and sense of aesthetics. I try my best to give an unbiased evaluation of the guitars we have in stock. But ultimately that's impossible as my own personal preferences will inform my review. The bottom line is if you like it, then it's good!

    'm
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Hi Jeff and Congrats on your new VR!
    That's la creme de la creme in contemporary gypsy guitars, isn't it?
    Post some pictures!

    How do you have it set up??

    Here's a long post with my two cents:
    Some things that can affect the brightness and tone of your guitar are strings (brand, gauge and age) and the overall setup.
    Here's what I've found out:

    With Duponts is cool to have two or three bridges of different heights and try them with 10s and 11s to find the ideal compromise of playability and sound.
    If you go higher in bridge height you can use less neck relief and keep in mind that too much tension on the top makes it vibrate less freely and can kill the tone, particularly the highs.

    I've found that my Dupont MDC 60, which is the brightest guitar I ever heard or can imagine, sounds a bit less bright with the (lower)#1 bridge and 11s but plays easier on the higher frets and gives a somewhat more balanced and modern sound.
    That same bridge with 10s sounds too buzzy and slappy.

    The #2 bridge with 11s makes the guitar too hard to fret and also closes up the top making the highs go away and killing much of the tone.

    My favorite is the #2 bridge with Argies 11s and a little relief. It's brighter and more traditional sounding while still keeping a comfortable feel.
    I'm gonna get a #3 bridge to keep that same action (3.5mm) but with a straighter neck.

    My Dupont Nomade which is not nearly as bright, only likes 2.5mm action with 11s, otherwise it kinda dies.
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I only had a set of Pearse 11's, so that's the sound I've got for the moment.
    I made a bridge that left the lows about where the Dupont #2 bridge put them and a little higher on the upper strings than where the #1 held the high strings.
    Your idea about string tension - tone is a new one for me. I ordered some lighter strings and another brand.

    I don't have any digital wherewithall to post pictures. I'm a bit Luddite!

    Its beautiful to play both sound and feel wise. The neck alone is easier to play than just about anything I've played. I can hit double stops (two strings with one finger) better than I was before. The "singing" quality and crunch are a joy. It supports the fingerstyle stuff I play very nicely too.
    It has the tone I was after!
    Makes ya wanna practice!


    Thanks Micheal
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Jeff Moore wrote:
    Your idea about string tension - tone is a new one for me.
    I first became aware of it HERE thanks to Michael. Afterwards I did some experimenting of my own on my guitars.

    Enjoy your guitar!!

    Just one last thing... how's the Cognac????!!:D
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    When I tried a very high bridge, it "banjoed" quite dramatically. It's very reactive to changes in set up. Thanks for the post.
    What kinda set up and strings do you use?
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 887
    With Duponts is cool to have two or three bridges of different heights and try them with 10s and 11s to find the ideal compromise of playability and sound.

    You cant compare a Veille Reserve to a DuPont MD-50 . In my opinion they are very different with the biggest difference being the neck angle and bridge height.

    The Veille Reserve has a shallower neck angle, lower action, lower bridge and the Dupont MD-50 has a typical modern steep neck angle and fairly high bridge and typically high action.

    I would say the MD-50 is exactly like a newer Shelley Park or Cigano-CJ10 and the Veille Reserve has a bridge and neck angle more like a Gitane-255.
    ---
    "I want to party like its 1939!"
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Djangology,
    I'm not comparing guitars, I'm only recommending that one experiments to find the "ideal" setup for any particular guitar.

    Jeff,
    I already posted the setup that I like, VR owners may chime in... but I believe most VRs go for the low bridge (2.5mm action) and Argentine 11s.

    Every guitar is different so if I may suggest, either make or buy two or three different bridges (I like Duponts) and a set of Argentines 10s and another of 11s.
    Put one set of Argies on your guitar and play it for a couple of days with one bridge then change the bridge... after some time put the other gauge of strings and again try each bridge and see what you like best. You can save the "used" strings as spares.

    The idea is to find the point where you drive the top to the max before it closes up while keeping a relatively comfortable feel.

    Note: when you are in the low bridge setting you might need a little more neck relief to play buzz free.
    Also give yourself some time to get used to playing with higher action if usually you play lower.

    The whole process only takes a couple of weeks at the most and will help you find out what your guitar and you like.

    Good luck and make sure to tell us what happens in the end.

    By the way I was serious about the Cognac... How is it??? I always been curious about that.
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    If a sophisticated pallete were required to play, I'd be sunk.
    I've had time to make and try some bridges, but still waiting on a string order to have strings to try. The basic set up, Dupont #2 and 11's seems to be maximizing the sound. I raised the lower strings a bit on the bridges I've made, but used the Dupont #2 as a temlplate.
    It's a very juicy guitar! It'll take some learning to be able to play it in such a way as to use the greater sounds or tones it has. With the other guitars I was always laying into the strings hard. It's unfamiliar for me to have sort a "range" of soft tones to work with. Less seems to be more sometimes, which is new to me. It's a little like an electric guitar through tubes.
    I've been going back to listen for how hard Django seemed to be picking, not that I hadn't before, but its different when your guitar has a range of sounds all with adequate volume. Maybe its something else but I'm noticing that I'm stopping to change how I'm playing because there are good results from techniques I either wasn't using or just weren't available. Going back to basics to reorient.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
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