When/How did you decide to spend the Big Bucks for that special guitar?

ChiefbigeasyChiefbigeasy New Orleans, LA✭✭✭ Dupont MDC 50; The Loar LH6, AJL Silent Guitar
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


  • The best advice I got, which I was unable to take advantage of due to location was to try as many as you can and get the one that tells you what notes to play.

    When I got my Dunn, it was built for me, and we talked some about what I wanted soundwise. Neck was made to my exact specs. Michael was as good as his word on delivering what we had talked about. When I bought my DuPont I had to go on Michael Horowitz's insights. At first I found it a bit odd sounding, but as I get used to it, 6 months in, I am getting closer to the sound I want and expected. I will have to get a different pick for this one too.

    Takes time, dedication, a clear idea of the sound you want, and unless you live in an area where you can try them some luck. I have 3 tenor saxes and 3 different mpces. The first two of each were part of the learning process and a little luck on the third and I have a magic horn...I just have to paly what it tells me to play.LOL. That's harder than it may seem
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • The folks that dump on the Duponts crack me up. They are consistently good from guitar to guitar.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    I got a Dupont MDC60 and have played a dozen more.
    Duponts are great.
    They get bad mouthed a lot by amateurs but you'll still find them in the hands of a lot of the top players.
    Tchavolo still plays his, Bireli had his at the Live a Vienne DVD, Seb Giniaux is playing one now... It just goes to show that a good guitar still must have a good player behind it

    They are all over the recordings and I have not played a bad one yet.

    If you're into the traditional Selmer sound you can't go wrong with Dupont plus it'll be easier to sell in case one day you have to part with it.
    Good luck!
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 465
    I have owned many Gypsy guitars and played countless others. Dupont makes the best. I have kept two of the many that I have owned and they are both Duponts (Okay, My Favino was up there with the Duponts, but that guitar now belongs to my good friend Doug Martin where it belongs!)

    When you are ready to trade up from the Altamira, choose a Dupont. You will not be disappointed. I have never played a bad Dupont, only very good ones and great ones.


    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • Posts: 4,713
    I saw a YouTube video by a luthier, Risto Ivanovski, who eventually made my guitar. At the time I knew nothing about his work but after hearing the sound of one of his guitars on this video I knew I'd want a guitar built by him. And a few years later I did.
    In a world of these guitars his prices are a relative bargain.
    I'm not a "buy something cheaper and trade up later kind" of a guy. For one I don't like losing $ on a used sale, which is the case often, but I'm more of a "buy once and own it" type. I got all of my guitars like that and it worked for me.
    Your budget is a good sweet spot for a lot of the used deals that come along fairly often, but a newly built instrument too.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Charles MeadowsCharles Meadows WV✭✭✭ ALD Original, Dupont MD50
    Posts: 432
    I bit the bullet and ordered an ALD (cost me $3700) because Angelo Debarre endorses them. I was not able to try much of anything before buying and was fortunate in that it turned out to be a great guitar. I would love to have tried others. I must have played 500 dreadnought guitars before settling on the Collings D1A varnish that I have currently. I'd like to have been able to do the same with GJ guitars!
  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    Posts: 1,445
    The best way is to go to France and play a lot of them. A shop like guitare village has a room full of them.
    You can find some amazing deals on le bon coin too. Or if you go to samois in June for the Festival Django Reinhardt, there are literally hundreds of guitars to check out as the luthiers set up tents on the island. I love but no online store can compare with doing it in person, it's such a personal thing and it's all about how the guitar feels in your hands.

    I know you said you can't even travel to even Seattle but I think you should reconsider! :)
  • Another option is to consider putting a down payment on a guitar and having it built for you. You may be able to effectively afford something that has a longer wait list. That being said, my buddy did that with a Barault. A year in and it sounds really fantastic.
    I bought a guitar from Craig Bumgarner unseen, but had a similar guitar in my hands at DiJ. That is close to your range.
    And really can't go wrong with them. If you see a 60 or 50 in your price range, I'd consider it. Especially if it pops up here.
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    There's a Dupont MDC50 not a petite bouche, on Craigslist in Asheville NC... for $3000.00
    675 miles away from you,
    Perhaps someone closer may be interested.
    Wish I were close enough to play it.
  • husyhusy Seattle✭✭✭
    Posts: 58
    > I'm interested in hearing how you guys came to a decision on a situation like this

    "Wanna check out this style, I like how those weird looking guitars sound"
    ==> Gitane D500 from CL... easy

    FF 1 year: "I can now play passable (?) rhythm for soloist in jams, but these overtones on the Gitane bother me. I wish its tone wasn't so dull. I need a proper handmade guitar"

    ==> used Dell Arte Dark Eyes from Horowitz. I decided within a few weeks after trying 5-6 alternatives locally, most at Michael's. Sold the D500.

    FF 2 years: "I now get why people are into 'dry' or 'traditional' tone. Those more expensive guitars which previously sounded too tinny to my ears (given the ridiculous prices) are now more appealing because I can produce a wider variety of tones on them with better pick technique. I also like how the authentic sound propels my playing. My search for The One begins"

    ==> used AJL. I decided within several months, after trying dozens of guitars at various places. It was an open ended search. I knew I wanted an AJL when I tried someone's at DFNW14. Later when I found one for sale Michael again helped as escrow and was kind enough to let me compare against his similar inventory. The Del Arte stays too because it has its own place. It will be a while until I make enough progress to be worthy of the AJL though :)

    I guess the point of my story is, one's taste and expectations evolve quite a bit, esp. if you've started relatively recently. As others stated, the best way is to try as many options as possible. It may not be that crazy an idea to travel (or wait) a bit for that.
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