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neck & bridge adjustments on Gitane

This winter I purchased a Gitane John Jorgensen model. I've also been fighting midwest/heated house low humidity, which seems to cause problems to several of my guitars.

The Gitane is plagued by fret buzz on the first string, sometimes on the second string, which varies in location and intensity with variations in humidity. Note - not the real nasty fret buzz that makes a guitar unplayable, but just the kind that seems to muddy the sound, distinct from the clarity higher up the neck at say the 18th or 20th fret. I'm reluctant to take it in to have any permanent adjustments made until later this spring when the heating season is over, and I can see how it behaves in "normal" humidity.

Supposedly the Gitane has an adjustable truss rod. Since I don't see a plate on the head, I assume the is accessed through the sound hole. Though it looks like it's behind a brace just "north" of the soundhole. Any one know what tools are needed? I'd expect a 1/4" ratchet with extender, and a normal or deep socket, or an allen head. What size, does anyone know? I assume righty-tighty, lefty-loosey, normal threading.

Also I see much discussion of replacing the bridge with something a bit higher, giving 2.5-4.0 mm string height 1st string/14th fret ( or is it 12th?). Are the guitars all shipped "wrong" for the aggressive picking style of gypsy jazz, to meet "market" expectations of low action?

When shimming as a temporary adjustment, do you shim equally under each foot of the bridge? This would seem to promote better and more equal contact of the bridge feet with the top. Though one might only need to shim the high side to get more relief for the first string.

What about replacing the fixed bridge with an adjustable bridge? I've seen at least one sel-mac guitar with an adjustable bridge as used with most f-hole archtop guitars. This might be a good alternative in varying humidity and while finding out what action height is best for you.

As a permanent solution, seems a new Dupont bridge is recommended, and not really that expensive. Anyone have a set of bridges with varying heights in liew of an adjustable bridge?

Any thoughts welcomed. Thanks -

greg_martin.

Comments

  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Truss: Yes there is a rod that is adjustable and it uses a 4mm hex key. You need a long one with a "T" handle to get the truss to move. It is not easy most of the time on the Gitanes. If you have not adjusted a truss before talk to some one who has. you can email me if you like.

    Bridge: Saga does set up the guitars too low as well as supplying a bridge of bad design. The bridge blanks out there will help but the compensation on most is too much for the 300 so if you want to talk more about the correct bridge for email me (<!-- e --><a href="mailto:josh@djangobooks.com">josh@djangobooks.com</a><!-- e -->) As for shims you can make them both the same thickness as the bridge has the hight action. I have only seen an adjustable bridge on one Gj guitar and that was odd. Just get the correct bridge and set up and you will be fine and you tone will be much better. I have at least two bridges... One for winter and one for summer.

    Dupont bridges are great but the compensation is too drastic for the 300. Your intonation will never be right with a Dupont on that guitar.

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • DeziDezi New
    Posts: 15
    Josh I have GITANE DG-310 MODELE LULO REINHARDT the bridge and the action are OK . Are you still recommend other bridge than the gitane original. Will sound better with other bridge? Thanks
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Your tone will improve much with a proper bridge. The Saga bridge is made from poor designed for a bridge of a gypsy guitar. I’m not sure where they got their design but it is not correct and the tone of the guitar suffers greatly. The bridge is way over built and kills the transfer of tone to the top plate. The result is a harsh, wet tone rather then the dryer lush tone of a GJ guitar. Also the Saga bridge tends to be too low. Meaning that shims are needed to achieve the desired action. Shims also hinder tone transfer. If your action and is lower then 3mm at the 12th fret this will also hinder the tone of the guitar.

    "Will it sounds better?" I can tell you that with the proper bridge the 310 will have a closer GJ tone. To my ear that is "better" then then tone the 310 has with the stock bridge.

    Cheers,
    Josh
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