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New ideas for GJ guitar designs

woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
If I was filthy rich, and could experiment on making a new guitar, I would like to see if any of these ideas would work on a Manouche style axe:

1) A tone port (hole) on the upper bout. I don't know how many times I wish I had this inacoustic jams where it is a bit too loud. Sure, people should be able to play quieter, but I don't know if any amount of money would buy you that in some jams I have been in.

2) A height-adjustable bridge like on my archtop, you know thumb screws for the height adjustment. Maybe this would be too heavy and muck with the tone, but it would be cool to try it. If it worked seems like it could give a lot more flexibility. Who hasn't had to resort to shims at some point?

3) A way to use heavier strings, at least 12s or 13s on the top E. I like a very thick tone.

4) A built in magnetic (preferably single coil) pickup that mounts at the end of the neck, and does not cover the tone hole. Tone/volume mounted somewhere easy to get to and still out of the way.

I realize that there are very good reasons these guitars are built along accepted principles, but after all, if Macaferri didn't try something new..........well, you know the rest


  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited March 2017 Posts: 1,013

    1. Alex Bishop makes most of his gypsy guitars like that. Check em out!
    2. Stefan Hahl makes something close enough, the bridge has a slot where you can swap out different heights of bone saddles to raise/lower action.
    3. Just do it. I use 13s on my Barault and it works fine. I don't think you need a special build for this.
    4. Meh, what's wrong with Stimer or Peche? I wouldn't want electronics built directly into my guitar, personally.
  • Posts: 2,431
    1 Shelley Park does this on some models

    2 I will hopefully soon have something like that in hand, adjustable bridge that doesn't impede the acoustic sound

    3 I doubt this is a possibility the way these guitars are built

    4 You've been down this road already... with deeper pocket I'm sure this is doable, well Rodrigo already did it.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 226
    So I don't have any new ideas, what a shock! As far as the Steimer - I would try that if I could, but the idea of spending like $400 for a guitar pickup is crazy. I know this is a specialized market but come on, really? When you consider that a handmade GJ guitar can in many cases be had for much less than a comparably made dreadnought, then there is no way to justify the extra expense of the pickup IMHO.
    I am pleased to see someone is using heavy strings - may I ask what brand? I do like the Argies just fine, I just would like them heavier over all.
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited March 2017 Posts: 1,013
    I've tried a few brands, the ones on my instrument at the moment are Dean Markley guage 13-56. But I only use the 13 (E) and 17 (B), the basses are the set of Argentines 1510MF. Really any acoustic string should work fine, I only put this brand because that's what Aurelien Robert use and I like his thick tone a lot (lead guitarist from Kill Bob band).

    I agree that $400 is pretty expensive for those magnetic pickups. You can find better price on second hand market. I got my Peche for 185, and have seen a few others around the 200 mark, and I think that's a better product than Dupont's Stimers anyway.
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Anastasio, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 698
    What about Krivo pickups ?
    always learning
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 226
    Went thru that whole Krivo thing, its great but don't like the attached chord, yes I am that freaking picky. They sound great though, no doubt
    As far as the Peche/Stimer, under $200 much more interesting to me.
  • Posts: 2,431
    I myself don't use heavy strings, standard 10 gauge.
    I'm afraid how my guitar would take it, or wouldn't be able to take it.
    But also getting a nice round tone out of 10s is possible too, you can hear it in the hands of the top players.

    Yeah, a guitar with these specs, a mere 8K.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • Brad HermanBrad Herman San Francisco, CANew JWC Modele Jazz, Stankevicius Alena, Alexander Polyakov Selmer #6
    Posts: 115
    Have seen a lot of gypsy guitars with the sound port... Shelly and Alex were already mentioned. Have also seen on Stankevicius and Alexander Polyakov guitars... If you have one built by a luthier, getting a sound port added wouldn't be an issue I would guess.
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Anastasio, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 698
    Just a word on soundports. IMHO they do allow a slightly greater volume for the player but it's not huge. Having said that it;s greater effect is on increasing the bass response and a general fullness to the sound of the guitar.
    always learning
  • Michael Dunn put a port in the top of the upper bout on the ultrafox he built for me. Works a treat.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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