Nylon string gypsy jazz guitars - some questions

Hello all,

I am new to the world of gypsy jazz. I’m primarily a classical guitar player and i dabble in flamenco and folk. I only play nylon string guitars these days, although 20 years ago i played funk, rock, jazz on steel strings.

I have recently been listening to and playing more jazz, mostly chord-melody (in the style of Ted Greene) and also gypsy jazz.

I currently play jazz on my flamenco guitar, but I can see myself getting a dedicated jazz guitar soon. I’d like to stick with nylon strings and wide string spacing because this feels like “home” to me. I seem to prefer the tone of nylon gypsy guitar over nylon archtops for jazz, plus i think they would be a versatile guitar that could crossover many styles.

I’ve heard some nylon gj guitars sound fairly similar to other nylon string guitars, but this nylon string seems to have a distinct gypsy vibe to it:

Given my inexperience in this area, i would appreciate this forums feedback on some questions re nylon string gypsy jazz guitars:

Given my circumstances described above, would a nylon string gypsy jazz guitar make sense?

How different is the feel / setup of a nylon string gysy jazz guitar versus a flamenco / classical?

Can a nylon gj guitar play chord-melody jazz? I am a little concerned about fast decay.

What type of soundboard bracing do these guitars have? Classical fan vs ladder vs other?

Do the nylon gj guitars have the bent soundboard like the typical floating-bridge steel string gjg? Or are they flat-tops like a flamenco / classical?

How common and well regarded are nylon gj guitars in the gj universe?


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited June 2020 Posts: 6,061

    @TrickyFish Nylon string guitars have always been around this genre in some way or another (the original Maccaferri design was a nylon string) and many have theorized that some of the Hot Club rhythm tracks were done with at least one nylon string guitar. Despite his fame as a maker of Gypsy guitars, Jacques Favino mostly made student classical guitars and Maurice Dupont was originally trained as a classical builder.

    Quite a few players have taken up nylon string Gypsy guitars in recent years, The Dupont MCC100 is seems to be the most common choice:

    Seabstien Giniaux and Bireli Lagrene among others have played this model.

    There are a lot of advantages as they are very easy to play, have a very warm, mellow tone, and amplify much more easily than steel string guitars. However, they aren't nearly as loud acoustically so they don't do well in bigger jams and are really best in intimate concerts or recording sessions.

    Hope that helps!


  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 364

    Just some thoughts:

    Chord-melody vs. Gypsy jazz playing have very different sustain and attack requirements. I think flamenco and GJ are on the "more attack/less sustain" end, then maybe classical, then maybe stuff like bluegrass, etc., and then, to me, chord melody is "low attack/long sustain."

    Some archtops seem to have a nice attack in the sense of initial treble, but followed by long sustain.

    Not sure where this all leads!

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