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  • 10thfretBlues 10:20PM

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Jehu olivierb bhepp9 margimunson JezG

Is this a good gypsy guitar for the price?

I inquired on some local guitar builder here, they are famous here because they've been making guitars for decades here, in my country (Philippines) about their Selmer-Maccaferri style replica (original guitar plans by F. Charle), and here are the specs of the guitar:

- Top: Solid Engelmann Spruce
- Back & Sides: Solid Indian Rosewood back and sides
- Neck: Solid Mahogany neck with adjustable truss rod
- Fretboard: Ebony fretboard with Mother of Pearl dot inlays
- Bridge: Ebony mustache
- Nut: Bone
- Tuners: Vintage 3-on-a-plate tuners
- Tailpiece: Selmer Brass tailpiece
- Finish: Vintage high gloss
- Including hardshell case
Price: about $845 to $855

I did a bit of a research about Asian-made Gypsy guitars here in Djangobooks, and what I've found out is that Gitane D-500, Altamira M01, and Altamira M10 have laminate back and sides and their price range is from $659 to $1,035 which goes much more from the price of the replica I've mentioned. Altamira M20 has solid Ovangkol woods, I don't know which wood is better (Indian Rosewood or Ovangkol), and lastly, the Altamira M30 has the same specs as the replica I have mentioned but its price is $1,250 (exclusive of shipping fee, additional card and international fee, tax, etc.). So, what do you guys think? Is $845-855 a good price for the guitar? Or should I save and invest more money for a much more high-quality European/North American made Gypsy guitar? Another thing is that whichever option I choose (to order internationally or to buy this replica made locally) is that I will not have the opportunity to test the guitar because the builder of the replica in my country is like a thousand miles from my place, so I will also have it shipped without even testing it but the good thing is that there are less chances that the guitar will be broken as guitars being shipped internationally have more possibility of being damaged during the process. Please, I need your insights about this as this will be my first Gypsy guitar. Thanks!
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Comments

  • I think I got that part right haha ;) Thanks, Stuart.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,691
    I seem to remember that there was a thread on the forum a while back about a guy who got a custom built guitar from a luthier in the Philippines (assuming my memory is correct). It looked like a nice guitar. If you can search and find the thread you could contact him and see how it came out.
  • Al WatskyAl Watsky New JerseyVirtuoso
    Posts: 440
    I would give the Philippine guitar a try.
    You say they are using a Selmer plan , from Charle .
    If they follow the drawings , which are very detailed , for that price you should have something to play at the very least.
    If the Selmer turns out well, get them a set of Favino plans, which are also available and have them make one of those for good measure.
  • @Bones - I've searched the forums for that thread but unfortunately, I can't seem to find it. I guess I just really have to trust the build of the guitar if I were to buy it.
  • @Al - Yes, they have the original plan from F. Charle and I can see it is very detailed from every aspect of the guitar. I think I would settle for this replica as I can't find other guitar builders here who make Selmer guitar replicas. They have both plans for petite bouche and grande bouche, as well as the guitar that has f-holes in it, I think it's a Di Mauro or that Favino you've mentioned.
  • Posts: 2,431
    This is thread, you two have already exchanged a few words:

    http://www.djangobooks.com/forum/discussion/12864/neck-size-for-smallish-hands/p1
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Franz MoralesFranz Morales Philippines✭✭
    Posts: 85
    Hi Nathan, when we meet at our next jam, you can try out the guitar I had built from them (I assume this is the same maker we talked about before?).

    In case they never told you... they build their Selmer copies for a UK guitar company (they have been supplying them Selmer copies for more than a decade now). This is how they got their Selmer blueprints. This is also why the guitars have no branding whatsoever, because the UK company stamps their own brand on them (they never told me the name due to their NDA). I assume once the brand is stamped, the price rises significantly. Personally, I want to stamp my own name on it once I figure out how haha.

    As for the sound, since we are from the Philippines and we don't have anything to compare it to, I've been told by a couple of gypsy players (one is a guitarist and a member here, and the other is a gypsy violin player who tried the guitars out), that the sound is significantly better than any Chinese-made guitar, though of course, inferior to the French-made ones. You might say they're mid-tier guitars for third- or fourth-tier prices.

    Oh, after a few months of using the guitar, the sound really opened up. One of the guys I jam with (who you'll meet soon) mentioned how my guitar became louder and more "sonically pleasant" compared to the first time he heard it. He gets his F-hole this April (Not a De Mauro copy though. A Selmer copy with f-holes instead of a petite or grand bouche. :)

    You can opt out of the vintage 3-on-a-plate tuners and get the regular tuners to knock off around $200 off the price. Then replace them with Schaller tuners from this site (which is what I plan to do. I'm a bit OC since my tailpiece is brass and the tuners are silver, so I intend to get the gold-plated ones). I also asked that they use a thinner finish.

    My guitar has a solid European Spruce top (was told it was imported from Spain, though I'm not sure what kind exactly) with solid Macassar sides and back. The Macassar is very striking and looks awesome (check out the photos of my guitar on our FB page). Neck, bridge, and mustache are Ebony too while the nut is buffalo bone. Bridge and mustache are removable/adjustable. I adjusted mine nearer to the bridge to fix intonation and for a higher action.

    BTW, the pliage is heat-bent (which makes a world of difference from carved or forced bent pliages). I constantly reminded them to make sure it was heat-bent.

    Go for it Nathan. Then have it set-up but don't use the hardcase save for storage (it's free but it's made of thin plywood and cardboard. Not very "hard" at all). Get a Mono case :)

    I plan on having them make me a "mini-mac" soon. Same specs in 3/4 or parlor size. For travel and for my son when he's old enough to learn ;)

  • @Buco - Oh! His thread didn't show up when I typed "Philippines" in the search bar :D

    @Sir Franz - Yes, it's the same guitar maker we talked about, I'll PM you sir on facebook, I just have a few questions about the guitar build.
  • Franz MoralesFranz Morales Philippines✭✭
    edited January 2015 Posts: 85
    Hi @stuart, though I've heard of JWC, I don't know their history. Here are some clues given to me about UK company (of course I tried to learn as much as I can. I'm curious as well :) ) - it was started by two guys about a decade ago; The guys first started jamming, then had weekly jams, etc., basically trying to revive interest in GJ in the UK. When the UK GJ community grew, they then started selling guitars.

    edit: ok... after posting this, I searched JWC guitars, and on their site it seems they started making guitars 10 years ago. Could be a coincidence... :D

    edit again: Looking at the specs of JWC oval hole guitars, it's similar to mine, but then again, so are other Selmer copies. But what caught my eye was the build time which was 12-16 weeks. I had mine built in 14 weeks. Interesting.
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    Sounds like getting the Philippine guitar is a good choice.

    HOWEVER

    Connecting the JWC Guitar to this Philippine Builder maybe a stretch...

    Found this doing a search for Jeongwoo Cho

    JWC Replicas Selmer

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=http://www.djangomanouche.com/guitarras-jwc.html&prev=search

    Djangomanouche recommends undoubtedly excellent craft guitars JWC.
    All JWC guitars are built one at a traditional way, by the luthier Jeongwoo Cho in his workshop in the English countryside. The JWC Guitars are the choice of Samson Schmitt, Raphael Fays, Lollo Meier, Bertrand Le Guillou, Vernon Chester, Nacho Belda, Jimmy and Peter Gun Karapetenberg among others.
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