Setup options - which ones are cosmetic?

I'd like to purchase an Altamira M30 as a starting / beginner guitar, but it comes with a bunch of options, and I have no idea which ones are worth investing in.

  • Install Clear Pick Guard ($60.00)
  • Install High Quality Ebony Tailpiece Ins ($40.00)
  • Set Up Special: Fret Dress, Custom Bridge, Restring, Tailpiece Leather, Adjust Action and Truss Rod ($215.00)
  • Install Strap Button in Heel and Endpin ($30.00)

I imagine the pick guard and setup are mandatory. I think the strap buttons could be useful for me. But are the tailpiece (pins??) cosmetic only? Or do they serve an aural purpose?

And I guess the same thing goes for the tuners

  • Install Schaller Three on a Plate Tuners ($165.00)
  • Install Saga Deluxe Tuners ($175.00)
  • Install DR Brass Tuners ($465.00)

and the tail pieces.

  • Dupont Nickel Tailpiece ($155.00)
  • Dupont Brass Tailpiece ($155.00)
  • Dupont DR Tailpiece ($225.00)

Are these just cosmetic? Or do they serve a purpose? I imagine that you do want a high-quality tuners that rotate easily but doesn't detune under tension, but I would assume that Altamiras would come with decent tuners from the factory --- is this a wrong assumption?


  • JasonSJasonS New
    Posts: 21

    The pickguard is mostly personal preference. Some players only rarely inadvertently strike the top and others hit it pretty often. It's pretty simple to install one yourself though, you literally just peel and stick it.

    The tailpiece insert is just cosmetic.

    I can't comment on the setup, I bought the Altamira I had used.

    The strap buttons are unnecessary unless you plan on standing which is generally uncommon for Gypsy jazz.

    I think the Altamira tuners are just fine, I never had an issue with them.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 959

    I have an Altamira that I picked up second hand. The tuners are just fine. So is the tailpiece. All of these things are, in my opinion, unnecessary for you, with the notable exception of the setup. Altamiras are great value for money but they have a reputation of being rough when new. The fret ends might be rough, bridges can be heavy, etc. As a beginner, you don't want to have to fight your guitar. Michael's guitar tech (John Saba) will give the guitar a good setup and make it playable so that you can learn without handicap (in fact, the setup is free with purchase if you see the note at the top of the M30 page). Instead of blinging up your basic model, save that extra dough for your next guitar.

    As for pickguard, agree that it is personal preference. Here's an old thread (and there are several others like it if you search "pickguard") that talk about just using cellphone screen protectors. I don't have one on either my Altamira or my Park.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,061

    @caffeine The setup is the most important thing and that's free on the Altamiras. I would also recommend a pickguard as nearly everyone damages the top in that area overtime so it's a good idea to protect it. A Dupont tailpiece definitely looks nice, but also dampens unwanted overtones resulting in a drier, clearer sound. The fatory tailpieces aren't as strong and sometimes break and they tend to produce unwanted overtones.



    Jangle_JamieBill Da Costa Williams
  • Get the pickguard and the setup.

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