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My first Selmer/Mac Style guitar. A little help please?

TexasRedTexasRed South Texas, San Antonio✭✭ Dupont Nomade
Hi, I guess this could be an introduction post too. I have been playing guitar for about 10 years. I also play mandolin and fiddle. I started playing blues and then moved onto bluegrass, still play alot of both. I heard the Stephane Wrembel Trio album with David Grisman "Gypsy Rumble" and really have taken a liking to the Django gypsy jazz sound.

Ive been using my old 50s Gibson LG2 so far and im mostly working on chords to popular tunes like Dinah, Nuages, and Minor Swing. Id like to get closer to the true authentic sound so naturally i want a real selmer/Maccaferri style guitar.

Id like to spend around or under 1000. The main thing im curious about is the hybrid long scale D hole guitars. To me this seems ideal since im not very likely to be playing in a group any time soon, (i live near San Antonio TX, i dont imagine theres a big gypsy jazz scene) so i think maybe the deeper sound might be appealing in a solo context, while still being able to cut in an ensemble if the need ever does arise. Am i right in these assumptions?

Im also a little confused about certain models. I see quite a few 14 fret D models, but im wondering if they actually have the longer scale, since the number of frets to the body is generally independent of the scale length. But can i assume that any 14 fret d model has the long scale? Which models in my price range have this long scale D hole configuration?

Any other recommendations are welcome, just trying to learn. And i havent discounted the oval models. But if i did get an oval, i would want one with a warmer tone that sounds good by itself, any ideas for something like that?



  • TexasRedTexasRed South Texas, San Antonio✭✭ Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 22
    Im sorry i meant to post this in the gear category. Sorry if this is a bad place for this question
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited January 2015 Posts: 1,809
    Tex, I'd recommend you hold off on that purchase until you've had a bit more time with your mitts on some real live gypsy guitars and see what feels right for you.

    Best way to accomplish this goal would be to attend "Django in June" in Northampton MA where you can see, hear and play lots of 'em.

    D hole guitars are a minority taste, to be sure, but in my own experience they don't sound all that different from oval holes to the listener, although they may do to the player.

    In fact, I've got an F-hole gypsy guitar and even it doesn't sound very different from the other kinds!

    But the main thing is to purchase one that YOU are going to be happy playing, and for a thousand bucks I'd say you can certainly find one that will.

    Good luck!
    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
  • There you are.....and I would think that a conversation with @pickitjohn ....would get you well and truly on the right track.

    I have always found his thoughts and suggestions to be well considered and forthright.

    Welcome to our community.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 4,111
    I've heard D holes sound from bright and focused to bass heavy and diffusive and anything in between. I just wouldn't order one based on a prevailing concept of how they should sound. Either play it in person or trust someone with good ears who can give you accurate description.

    One thing that maybe a misconception but I'm not sure, maybe I'm just assuming, is short scale guitars aren't as loud as ling scale.
    A friend has a short scale D hole, I think 650mm, and it's deafeningly loud and will cut and project through any noise with a snap of a hunter's bow. And sounds very balanced as well.

    There's a D hole for sale on a forum right now I believe.

    Definitely second hooking up with John.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Welcome! Agree with others. @stuart is right about Cigano and unbeatable price. I didn't listen to Michael and others and my first GJ guitar was a Gitane, which I got for only a bit more than the Cigano. It never played or sounded quite right. A Cigano set up correctly is a good deal.

    Like most of the folks here, if you're serious you'll outgrow it pretty quickly. If I had to do it over again, I'd spend the extra and skip the beginner model and get the Nomade. Likely the best value for a handmade guitar that you can rely on being great, sight unseen.

    Hold off, save some more money, and play GJ on your other can at least work on la pompe and learn some songs to be ready when you get the guitar. I played GJ on my Martin and Gretsch for awhile before plunging. Then you'll also be several months into knowing whether you have the bug or not. A Dupont will also be a lot easier to sell if you decide to get out of the GJ business.

    My 2 cents.
  • Insightful summary from @stuart. As Buco points out, the sound hole shape and size isn't the only factor in the sound. The size of the opening relates to the body cavity volume and the desired resonant frequency if my physics memory is still working. The size, shape and location of the opening, affect the resonance of the top, which affects the resonance of the guitar...and round and round and round it goes. Which is why Lutheran is an art, science based, but an art.

    Tap tuning the top can only be well done by experienced luthiers who have the time to spend on the top. You really do get what you pay for.... If bought carefully. (some brands one pays a fair bit for the name)
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • TexasRedTexasRed South Texas, San Antonio✭✭ Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 22
    Thanks everyone, I've talked to John and he's been a lot of help with both choosing an instrument and giving me direction with the actual learning part of things.

    I've got my eye on a guitar now, I'm not going to say more because I'm hoping no one buys it before I'm ready to grab it, but I'll be sure to let you know whatever I do end up with.

  • Good luck with it
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • TexasRedTexasRed South Texas, San Antonio✭✭ Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 22
    Just put this one on hold. A Nomade for 1500. I figure I can pass it on relatively easily if need be later, and It should take me a very long time before I outgrow it.

    Can't wait!
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