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Need Advice Buying a Gypsy Guitar from Classifieds

I live in Oakland in the SF Bay so there's no where around for me to try out guitars in person really. I'm looking for a quality guitar preferably under 2k. I'm a musician already and don't want a starter instrument. This is my first gypsy guitar.

Only thing in my area is Gitane guitars, e.g. this DG-300

From what I read and expect Asian guitars are very inferior so my next choice is to look through the classifieds here, but there's a lot of stuff in my range and it's a bit of a gamble, so I'd really appreciate some advice! Here are some I'm looking at:

In forums: FOR SALE: 2003 GALLATO 452 PETIT BOUCHE for $1900

Dupont Nomade $1800

Dell'Art Hommage $2000

Geronimo Mateos $2200


  • richter4208richter4208 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 484
    personally I think that Dg300 is a great candidate, sounds like its been already setup and new tuners (which is huge). Bigger bonus you get to try it first and make sure its playable. Of the other guitars you listed the only one I'd be interested in is possibly the Dupont.
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    An Alta Mira costs the same as the DG 300 but sounds and plays much better (I own both). I have heard several dupont nomades at django in june over the years, and I think you're better off going a little cheeper with the Alta Mira. I've heard a Mateo recently and it also sounds better than any nomade I've heard.

    My 2 cents
  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2017 Posts: 796
    You are probably going to get a ton of opinions cause everyone here has bought at least one Gypsy Jazz guitar and we are all experts!
    That said Anthony above mentioned Alta Mira and I have played good and not so good, all guitars are different but in general bang for the buck I like em. In fact i'm trying to sell a guitar to get an Alta Mira so I can bang around our bar gig instead of taking a more expensive guitar. Here is one thing I have learned about gypsy guitars, even if you have been playing guitar for a while, gypsy is different and unless you know how to produce the proper tone on a gypsy guitar it won't matter if you find a good one. By the time you learn to produce the proper tone on what could be a good guitar you will have probably tired of the same tone and want something different. That said you may want to look at resale as an important factor based on that alone. If you know a good gypsy player take him along for the purchase if possible, it's not like buying a Martin.

  • LindyhopperLindyhopper Oakland, CANew
    Posts: 3
    Really helpful advice so far. Right now I'm checking further into the DG300. My worry would be that I would be frustrated with it in a few months and be stuck with it. I'm not sure how the resale would be?

    If I were to buy an Alta Mira from an online store I'd rather just find a pretty good deal on a Dupont (not a Nomad) or Mateo or something similar.

    I didn't realize how hard buying these guitars is! I play mandolin and violin and buying either of those there are way more options and retail stores to check them out at. This is hard!
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,286
    In my experience and from what everyone says the Gitanes are too 'wet'. It will sound cool for a while but eventually as you progress in this style you will want to trade up because you will become increasingly bothered by the wetness (overtones, ringing). That's a generalization and every guitar is different but the generalization seems to be accurate.

    I have 2 Gallatos and they are both dry and loud (the two things you want) so I think you would be good with a Gallato (again a generalization and every guitar is unique). BUT, there are other factors besides volume and dryness. Those two parameters are necessary but then there is also the quality of the tone, total weight (if that concerns you), etc.

    Hard to describe but I would classify the Gallatos as very dry and a "classic"??? tone for lack of a better term. Not a 'modern' tone (again for lack of a better term). I'm getting into an area that I've yet to be able to categorize or put my finger on exactly WTF I am talking about but if I compare them (Gallatos) to my Patenotte or a couple Holos that I've tried and other luthier built guitars, I guess the term for the Gallatos would be 'dry' and 'traditional' and/or 'fundamental' while the others are more 'modern' sounding. Sorry I don't have a way to verbalize it, just the way I hear it and feel about it. Maybe others have a better description....

    PS- the only down side to the Gallatos is the big square-D neck profile (again 'traditional' Selmer copies) but you can always have that reshaped for a price from a good local luthier.

    Good luck.
  • t-birdt-bird Portland, Oregon Castelluccia Nuages, Dupont Nomade
    Posts: 119
    ...I'd rather just find a pretty good deal on a Dupont (not a Nomad)

    I like my Nomade. At numerous jams, I have been told it sounds great. I had a very good player who owns a number of GJ guitars play it and tell me "It's the only Gypsy Jazz guitar you'll ever need." I'm not going to tell you it's the greatest GJ guitar of all time, but as Michael says, "Nothing better in this price range." I believe there is also a good resale market and value with the Nomade.

  • terrassierterrassier France
    Posts: 101
    If you are ever in France there are often Nomade's @ around 800€ - might be worth a city break ;)
  • I would favour the Nomade. But then I like Dupont guitars so I am a bit biased
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • adrianadrian AmsterdamVirtuoso
    Posts: 511
    I live in Oakland in the SF Bay so there's no where around for me to try out guitars in person really.

    You might try giving Schoenberg Guitars a call. They're up in Tiburon, and I bought a gypsy guitar there once. At the time (circa 2007), they had three in stock.
  • LindyhopperLindyhopper Oakland, CANew
    edited March 2017 Posts: 3
    Update: Last night I tried the DG300 from craigslist and it's sound and great playability impressed me. It was also being sold by a really great guitarist. I hear some wetness I think, but the benefit of having a guitar I can use now for a good price, then when I outgrow it can resell easily and have time to look for the right luthier guitar at my leisure, was too much.

    Input from here was invaluable and I look forward to being a member of these forums as I begin my journey.
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