I would just like to share the tale of my Altamira purchasing experience, I don't know if anyone else has had one like mine, and if you have maybe this is a place to speak up. I purchased mine about 6 weeks ago, and out of the box it had a number of issues. While its to be expected that import guitars aren't perfect, the guitar was supposed to have been setup by the tech at Djangobooks. The frets clearly had not been dressed, there were a number of high frets that needed to be taken down quite a bit, the truss rod had not even been touched (it was completely loose) and the neck clearly needed an adjustment. On top of that the action was 5mm high. I know these guitars are supposed to have fairly high action but that was excessive, it looked like when the stock bridge was replaced the new bridge was not fitted for the guitar. I brought these issues to Micheal and he said it was my fault for leaving the guitar out of the case in 60% humidity instead of 50%, so I'm guessing the truss rod is because of the humidity too? This all happened over the course of a few weeks. I decided to keep the guitar because I like it otherwise, and I did manage to get it playing well after leveling the frets, adjusting the truss rod, and fitting the bridge. But I feel like it was ridiculous that the guitar needed that much work, especially after the djangobooks website clearly states "Free Setup Included with all Altamira Guitars, Includes Fret Dress, Custom Bridge, Restring, Tailpiece Leather, Action and Truss Rod Adjustment." None of which were done on this guitar.
I'm making this public because it was aggravating, I hope that people who buy these guitars in the future won't have the experience that I did.
I did have a luthier dress the frets, add about 1mm of height to the bridge on the high side, and with that, it was almost perfect. I did the truss rod adjustment to get the action where I wanted and had a the 14th fret filed down a little to get rid of an annoying buzz plucking the 12th fret.
With all that done, it's a fantastic sounding guitar that's very comfortable to play. It took some work—and a little money—to get it there, but it's one of my favorites to play. Again, I can't speak to your grievances with the seller, but I can say that with some proper set-up, my Altamira guitar is as much of a pleasure to play as my Castelluccia.
Sorry to hear you're still having trouble with your Altamira. As we discussed in our correspondence several weeks ago, you're free to send the guitar back for replacement or we can credit it towards another instrument if you choose. I hadn't heard back from you in weeks so I was surprised to see this post from you on the forum. Regardless, you're still free to send it back if you'd like. Just let me know and that can be arranged.
As I mentioned in our previous correspondence, your guitar was fully setup by our tech Josh and was playing and sounding beautifully here at our shop. However, that was in the mild climate here in the Pacific NW. Since you're in NY, the guitar has been exposed to much, much higher humidity (often 90% or more for extended periods) which will cause the top to rise. It's not your fault, it's just the reality of summers on the East Coast which many of our members can attest to. It's very frustrating for everyone, but there's not much that can be done other than having the action adjusted to compensate for the rise in the top. Anyway, feel free to send back to be readjusted or replaced.
These guitars move around quite a bit..I had a high end guitar whose action moved up 3mm. in 7 days time in south asia. Also if you do dedicate yourself to the style you will find that the technique required to make these guitars sound good in in the 1000's of hours (retraining there right hand).
Anyway...It's super cool that your are diving in..I love the altimiras..they are great!!
Sold it to upgrade to one of my current guitars, the Alves de Puga petit bouche. It arrived in fine shape and ready to play. Granted, it was a much more expensive and higher quality guitar.
I think there's something to the fact that the higher-quality guitar I bought from Michael travelled better and was in immediately playable condition than the lower-priced Altamira. I don't know how often that's happened, but perhaps a little explanation regarding the possibilities of changes when shipping across the country would have made you feel a little better. But, my conversations with Michael and Josh were spot on, and they brought the Altamira into prime playing condition. I had then and have every confidence now that Michael will stand behind his product and make sure you are completely satisfied