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Garcrogo claus_01 ehbarnet

A newcomer and a guitar question.

Hi Everyone,

I am a newcomer to gypsy jazz and I’m having lessons with a teacher. I’m enjoying it so far so I’m reaching out for advice on a guitar.

My research has led me to be lusting after a JWC model jazz or catania swing. But then again the Polak guitars are making me interested. I prefer the oval hole over the D hole. Another member here has kindly offered to let me try his JWCs.

There seems to be a fair few guitars on ebay and gumtree and one in particular is a Gallato 1939 Debarre. To be honest I’m a bit naive regarding gypsy guitars and my past record with buying acoustics has often been the more expensive does not always mean the best.

Basically, any advice would be appreciated.


  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 647
    Best advice I can give is play it if possible, see how you like it. GJ can be a bit tricky as when your technique progresses the guitars reveal new things about themselves you did not know existed, both good and bad. In general when your technique improves you generally can make anything sound good. JWC makes a good instrument, i have not played a Polak so no experience there. Bones here has 2 Gallato's and once i play them for a minute they are fine.
  • Posts: 2,786
    Lot's of threads covering this topic but kinda comes down to:
    try before you buy and wait until one comes that speaks to you,
    if this is not doable then,
    buy from a reputable source be it from Djangobooks or another dealer or a long time forum member,
    buy a reputable brand which once you get around $2,000 and up you're mostly safe from an unpleasant surprise,
    but not always which is why all of the above applies.
    Either of the two brands you mentioned are safe bets though.
    Playing before you buy is best because what one person likes in a guitar, another one doesn't care for, so following a good and honest advice you would end up with a guitar that plays and sounds good but not necessarily the one you're going to love.
    Which is maybe why you can often find great guitars for sale here on the forum for sometimes a really, really good price.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Thanks for the replies.

    I guess the issue will be finding enough guitars to try without doing a lot of traveling but since searching the forum there is indeed plenty of information.

    But I’m not going to rush into it and do whatever I can to try others.
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    edited December 2017 Posts: 535
    One point you may want to consider if either you decide Gypsy Jazz is not for you, or you want to upgrade later, is the potential resale value. In that case beware of Gallato. I have heard they are nice enough guitars and I have never played one, but unfortunately, the Gallato story is not what it seems. While they pretend to be made in France, they are made in China (one source - I can't name - says the same factory that makes Altamira). But it does not end there, the early ones are claimed to be better because they were made in Spain by Geronimo Mateos, but I am told that after building the first two himself, even he was having them made by sub-contractors, possibly also in China and shipped to Spain for finishing which was the cause of Gallato and Mateos falling out. Significantly, given that these stories have been around for some time, neither party wants to give an explanation.
    Whether the prejudice is justified or not, it will be difficult to sell on an Asian made instrument at a European price but as a rough guide, there are a few 'budget' brands around $500, and the general concensus is the Cigano is much preferred over the Aiersi or the Aria.
    Better Asian models go between $750 up to $2,000 max, which is where the entry level European or American luthier made guitars start. The used market can throw up some bargains IF you are lucky, but buying unseen (ebay, Gumtree, Reverb etc) can be a disappointment.
    Apart from that, yes, as above, try as many as you can, it is surprising how one guitar may work for you, and another not. Then pay attention to the details, is the scale length comfortable? Neck width and action height? Are there good quality tuners? What height is the bridge (string tension affects tone)? Does the tailpiece rattle? Then there is the aesthetic aspect of the look of the timbers and the lacquers used.
    Some on here attach maybe too much importance to the name on the headstock (that resale worry again) but it would be interesting to see people try guitars while blindfolded!
  • BonesBones Moderator
    edited December 2017 Posts: 2,883
    Two words. Dry and loud. If the guitar has those qualities you are most of the way there and it will make life a lot easier. If the guitar doesn't have those qualities you will outgrow it as you progress. The rest is more about personal preference. Tone, neck shape, etc. Oh and it goes without saying that the setup, playability, structural soundness, etc. need to be there.
  • Thank you again.

    In response to Chris, I guess any lack of transparency in guitar manufacturing puts me off and it happens a lot in the classical guitar world too - mainly with established names fronting a production line with claims of handmade.

    I have played guitar all my life but only the last 7 years have seen me become more serious. But I have honestly found that there is a point of diminishing returns and my most expensive acoustic was £6000 and it was nothing special. In the end I found two moderately priced acoustics that I love and won’t part with.

    There is a lack of guitars to try where I live but I will certainly do my best to play as many as possible.

  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
    Posts: 584
    Not that it matters, but I believe JWC guitars are now made in Korea. From their web site: Announcement: Our Master Luther Jeongwoo Cho has returned to his home in S Korea for Personal / Family reasons and is continuing to exclusively hand build our full range of guitars. There will be no change to our range of guitars, processes, and materials utilized nor the quality of the materials and guitar manufacture.
  • Yes I believe so too. I’m not particularly bothered by this, I’m more bothered about having a guitar made that I haven’t played. It’s a bit risky.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,883
    Lots of great factory built guitars out there but yes if possible try before you buy.
  • jonpowljonpowl Santa Cruz, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Cigano GJ-10
    Posts: 584
    Of course Djangobooks would probably be happy to ship a great guitar to you, but you can try
    Here is a great looking Dupont DM-100 which I have never seen before but I would love to have.
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