Before I bought my current Altamira M10D, I bought a Taylor 310CE. It's the closest thing I could find to a Gypsy Jazz style guitar in New Orleans, and, at the time, I wasn't sure I was going to really go all in on this style.
About a year later, after a lot of research and a couple of discussions with Michael, I bought my Altamira. After setting up the way I liked it, I felt I was really on my way. Everything I played in this style certainly sounded more authentic. I am still amazed how my first inclination was to find the Altamira too "tinny," sort of like a banjo. With a few variations in pick choice and technique development, I'm able to get more authentic variations on the sound from it. Now the Taylor sounds way too muddy and dark!
At this point, I'm now considering a purchase upgrade to the next level of guitar. I believe I'm going to now move to a petite bouche, but I still want variation in range in tone. If I were to say I aspire to anyone's "sound," per se, I would want to range between Angelo Bebarre's melodic solo sound and Stochelo Rosenberg's light touch but energetic sound.
Now, I realize, a guitar is not going to give me this. But, I think there are variations in guitar makers I can choose from. I'm thinking in the $2000-$3000 range. Some obvious questions arise. For example, other than a collectible status, are the more expensive guitars that much better than the less expensive models? Other than "heat pliage," are there other aspects worth paying for (or is the authentic "heat pliage" worth it too)?
Opinions vary wildly. One site I visited dumps all over every modern Dupont, for example.
Unfortunately, I can't travel to Seattle or the other cities with extensive collections of these guitars. I'm not averse to used; it may actually be the best option. I'm sorry I missed out on the Dupont MD-60 that came up on the forum.
I'm interested in hearing how you guys came to a decision on a situation like this