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Gitane question - Is this a fake or a factory second?

ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.

I am not too bothered either way as I picked it up cheap enough as I was told by the previous owner he thought it was a Chinese copy. That may well be the case and I know there are many copies of anything out there and certainly the factories in China now are capable of making anything.

But.....

As a copy of the DG-255 model every detail is totally accurate, the ebony/maple/walnut layers of the edge binding, the size and spacing of the fret marker dots, the timbers used, the bridge, tuners and the tailpiece with the Saga stylised S, everything is identical, closer in detail to the original than any other 'copy' I have seen. Even the dimensions, and the 1 3/4" nut width are exactly the same. The only detail that does not match as far as I can see, is that the front of the headstock is lacquered mahogany where every other Gitane DG-255 I have seen have an ebony veneer. Or am I wrong about that, did they make some without the ebony? If someone went to such lengths to make accurate copies that would seem an odd detail to miss.

So, as Saga have the Gitanes made in a factory in China and we know many other brands have fallen victim to 'back door exports' (Epiphone, Burns, Squier to name a few) I wondered if this could have been made on the production line alongside genuine Gitanes and while the official production run was shipped to Saga there may have been some 'extras' that were sold direct from the factory.

Obviously the headstock logo and paper label inside are easy to fake, but here is another odd detail; while the label is an exact copy, it has no model or serial numbers, just two blank spaces and yet my trusty inspection camera found a serial number stamped on the heel block in the same place as a Gitane would have (see photo) so if someone can print copies of labels, they could easily add model and serial numbers too for authenticity yet this was not done.

It is in excellent condition with no marks or wear showing except a chip on the inside of the treble side slot in the headstock where the G string tuner is fitted.

So, I wondered if rather than being a copy intended to deceive, could this have been a second, rejected by some quality control operative answerable to Saga, that was then sold out the back door anyway ? That would explain the lack of numbers on the label at least.

I only bought it as to use with a Stimer to try for the post-war Django sound and it does a decent enough job of that so I am happy with it but I wondered if anyone else has come across anything similar or knows about either Gitane fakes, or Gitane seconds?


Comments

  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    Posts: 959

    By the way, I did contact Saga with this question some time ago but have heard nothing back.

  • krzyskrzys New
    edited August 2022 Posts: 136

    There are some "Django guitar" on Aliexpress for about $180usd. I noticed that some of the photos show the Gitane logo, despite their efforts to obscure it.


    After living in Asia for quite some time, my gut instinct is that another factory has copied Saga models.

  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    edited August 2022 Posts: 959

    Yes, I am aware of the many models offered by AliExpress and many of the Chinese sellers blatantly offer to add any logo the buyer wants. We all know this much but it does not answer my specific question; is this an exact copy down to every small detail (rather than just a guitar with a fake logo, like those Aiersi Duponts that were around a few years ago, or is it a factory second that was not allocated a serial number just because it failed QC? And why would you suspect that "another factory copied Saga models" when surely it would be more likely the same factory that makes Saga guitars that would make such good copies? At various times in the past we have read about how Altamiras, Latcho Droms, and Gallatos are all from the same factory with different labels applied, possibly Dell Arte and Paris Swing too. Or has it got so confusing now that there are Chinese factories copying the copies?

  • krzyskrzys New
    Posts: 136

    I cannot answer for certain, but I lived in Vietnam for 7 years and worked a lot with factory workers there. It is very common to open up a direct clone of another factory as the workers can be paid to leak the plans, or just poach the workers and make copies of copies. As soon as something, be it a service, product or idea is a success, there will be countless shameless copy cats, so I have no doubts that this goes on in China but on a larger scale.

  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    Posts: 959

    Thanks for your input, yes we can all speculate about the possibilities but maybe I was not clear enough, guesses are one thing but I was asking if anybody KNOWS if it is a copy or a second.

  • guitarmikeguitarmike Montreal, Quebec✭✭ Old French Gypsy Guitar
    Posts: 112

    The heel does not have the Saga Gitane shape.

  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    Posts: 959

    Well spotted, yes it is a little chunkier than normal, although many Gitanes I have seen down the years were not all exactly the same either. But yes, a clue......

    Thanks.

  • dumb1224dumb1224 New
    Posts: 1

    I'm chinese living in Europe and I'm wondering the same when I saw your post! It is the first time I started to use chinese auction app such as 'Xian Yu' and I see Gitane DG255 for 200 bucks. They claim that is the only one left and it's a factory extra from the orders. From my experience no one would 'actively' copy gypsy jazz guitars because there isn't a market in China and virtually no one knows them. So it wouldn't make sense to copy a copy to smallest details to be financially beneficial.

    I'm very curious and currently I'm asking my family in china to order one to see myself. But I haven't played any high end high quality gypsy jazz guitar either so it'll be an interesting experience. Let me know if you find anything out after these years. Best regards.

    BucoAndyWbillyshakesBillDaCostaWilliamsDoubleWhisky
  • radrad New
    edited March 1 Posts: 5

    One of my Gitanes has a label with no serial number. It also has the model on the opposite side from normal, and the model is not written with a marker, as usual. The serial number at the heel of the neck is all '0's and '1's, and is not printed, but engraved. Whatever. Perhaps someone grabbed these from the factory before they were completed. ??


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