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What to be mindful of when buying an old gypsy jazz guitar (help?)



  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 158

    Other than a couple frets fewer, I wouldn't say it would hold you back terribly. The shorter scale length might make it easier to play, and at least there is a cutaway to reach the high notes. If it sounds good and plays well, it's a winner in my book!

  • Posts: 6

    Thank you @mac63000

    I was already thinking it would be a real shame to find a beautifull sounding 12 to the body guitar and ending up regretting it when i get stuck in the solo's.

    Testing out a Sonora D-hole 12 to the body on thursday. :)

  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    Posts: 1,104

    Opinions differ, I find short scales annoying for solos! 12 frets to the body feels cramped and kinda limiting, and the lower tension makes the strings feel too "floppy", with the higher register just not cutting it on many guitars.

    And if you get too used to the shorter scale, you will have a more difficult time if/when you change to a long scale guitar, because the distance between the frets is now slightly longer. Everything already practiced now needs slight adjustment in your technique (learned this the hard way, working for years with a Cigano GJ-15 before "graduating" to a long scale)

    Majorpandamac63000Bill Da Costa Williams
  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 158

    Those are good points as well @Wim Glenn . Best bet would be to play it and see how it feels. Volume is certainly something to consider, as is ease of playing high notes.

    Overall I think the longer scale is more commonly used for lead but imo it ultimately comes down to the guitar and what works for the individual player. If you want easier to reach frets further up then 14 frets on 670mm scale might be best. Otherwise, if it's built right, a shorter scale can certainly be a wonderful thing:

  • Posts: 6

    Fell in love today after playing this guitar.

    No labels but am i right to presume this is a Sonora guitar? Vintage sound and very good playability.

    Is there any danger that these guitars get a lot of problems with the neck because they do not have a trusrod?

    And does anybody know if these vintage guitars need any kind of annual setup or neck resets?

  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    Posts: 541

    Sonora yes. There has been much discussion about these on here before as some like to believe they were made by Busato; probably put about in the hope of adding value, but others have been attributing them to either Jacobacci or Carmelo Catania. Sonora was just a retail brand, NOT a guitar maker, and other guitars have been seen with the logo suggesting they bought in guitars from varying sources and had their brand added. Try Sonora in the search box on the right.

    But they are good guitars in their own right and the 13th fret join solves the 12th or 14th argument. I had one a few years ago, (photo below) it had a very arched back with no braces which seemed to give it a big sound and plenty of volume. The neck should not give any problems, these were built strong enough not to need any reinforcement and if it has not moved by now it is a fair bet it is not going to.

    Have fun.

    BucobillyshakesMajorpandaBill Da Costa Williams
  • Posts: 2,808

    What Chris said. If it's nicely setup and playable now, it will be 10 years from too with a regular care, really as long as it's not abused. Seems like it's in a pretty decent shape too. Lucky for you to find something you love and can afford (I presume) fairly quickly. Good luck!

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 260

    I'd have to agree on the above answers to the neck question. If it is that old and still hasn't moved by now, then provided it is cared for responsibly, there should be no impetus for it to drastically change. A new guitar, however, might have had greener would that can still begin to move as it settles in.

    If you like the sound, use the lack of label to your advantage in negotiating the purchase price. Understand that the "mystery" status might affect any resale value so be sure you are comfortable with what you are paying.

  • edited July 3 Posts: 6

    Everybody who helped me so generously with youre thoughts and advice, a big thank you! 😊

    It felt like you had my back through this proces of looking for a new guitar that would fit my wishes.

    Couldnt have bought it from a nicer man and unbelievable amazing player!

    mac63000BucobillyshakesBill Da Costa Williams
  • edited July 4 Posts: 2,808

    Wow what a great photo! Somebody has a nice eye.

    Wonderful story too.

    PS looks like it even has a built-in pickup, nice!

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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