Guitars with dry sound and quick decay?

CraigHensleyCraigHensley Maine New
in FAQ Posts: 67

I recently played an ERG Yaakov Hoter guitar with a surprisingly sweet tone I'll describe as dry with a very quick decay, unlike any gypsy guitar I've played. It also had really nice volume because of the larger body size slightly over 16". It had some odd design and structural components, including a wood shim under the fretboard extension to accommodate the neck angle. The top had settled in a weird way under the bridge so the tailpiece was only about a 1/16 inch above the top, like an unintentional reverse pliage the way the bridge shifted the top over time. Although it seemed really stable as the guitar was almost 10 years old.

I've played and owned several gypsy jazz guitars and really don't like most of them. I'm very picky, obviously. Many of them seem to sound really "modern" with too much sustain which I despise.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but gypsy jazz guitars aren't supposed to have a nice sustain, which many people seems to illustrate on their instrument description?

Does anyone know what other guitars have have a dry tone with a quick decay?

Any current builders who nail this "traditional" sound, if that's what you call it?

Also, I'm not interested in old/vintage instruments with astronomical prices and no truss rods.

I searched other threads but couldn't find any specific one about this topic, except for Duponts perhaps. I owned a Dupont MD60 with a horrible sympathetic vibration that could not be diagnosed and fixed that makes me very skeptical about their guitars now. Also it was really quiet. Although I'm sure there's some really great Duponts out there.



  • geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew 503
    Posts: 443

    I would recommend Barault.

  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 640

    A mid-80s Favino typically has exactly that sound and isn't usually too expensive. But no truss rod... A modern guitar that has that sound is a Mazaud Vieux Paris model. The last one I played was the only guitar I ever played that I would have traded my 1984 Favino for. It sounded like the Favino but better and was just beautiful. He still makes them

  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    edited October 24 Posts: 1,427

    Like Gian, I was also thinking you're describing the Barault sound. The notes sort of "explode" from the guitar with a loud pop, and then they're gone before you know it - quite remarkable. It feels a bit like a banjo (perhaps the similarity here is a very thin top?)

    At least, this is the sound of his 503 replicas, the previous Barault I owned had a thicker top and did not have the same quality.

    Some Di Mauro's I've played had a similar quality albeit to a lesser degree, they're more "plinky" and were not able to produce the bass end of the spectrum as well as Barault has achieved, but if you don't love big bass then an old Di Mauro may also be a good choice.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 423

    I think the whole guitar, not just the top, has to be lightweight to get that explosion and decay all the way to the bass notes -- like flamenco guitars. Not sure about "sweetness," though.

  • Jangle_JamieJangle_Jamie Scottish HighlandsNew De Rijk, Gitane 255, 270, 310, 370, 500, Gallato RS1939, Morena F hole, Hofner President
    Posts: 111

    Interesting to hear about the ERG Yaakov Hoter. I bought one late last year and it has exactly the same things going on - some movement of the top where it seems to balloon out a bit under the tailpiece, and the shim under the fretboard. It sounds great and plays nicely, and yes, it has punch without ringing on too much. I like the thin finish on the whole guitar, and it's also very light. What I find a bit odd is the shape of the neck/fingerboard edges - I need to take a bit off the edge of the fretboard to create a chamfer top and bottom. I bought the guitar for a friend and he loves it. I wish I could have kept it myself!

    Wish I could try a Jean Barault!!

  • CraigHensleyCraigHensley Maine New
    edited October 24 Posts: 67

    Thanks for the input everyone. I listened to the Mazaud Vieux Paris videos, what an amazing guitar. Love combining elements of both selmer and busato into one.

    Barault seems to be a the strong obvious choice.

    @Jangle_Jamie I'm glad you experienced the ERG. Loved the thin finish, also. Surprisingly awesome guitar despite a few quirks.

    Wonder if the newer Polak models from the same company are similar tonally to these ERG's from 10 years ago?

  • ethanwmethanwm Burlington, VermontNew
    Posts: 2

    I've found played a 4-brace Stringphonic Basic and found it had the dry/decay tone (3.65 lb). It wasn't a sharp tone if that makes sense, more like a sweet and dry tone. (Like more towards nylon strings than steel strings, despite they being Argentine 10s. Flamenco vibes.)

    It's so hard to know if they're all like this, but I've read a post on here (from Denis?) that talked about how they are very consistent from instrument to instrument. Though I've also read people trying a few and all finding them very different, so who's to say. Anyway, just a potential option that's cheaper than Jean B.

  • JDRookeJDRooke New
    Posts: 87

    Sssh.. don't tell anybody about Mazoud. I just nabbed one. And it is as you say. But, ssshh!

  • CraigHensleyCraigHensley Maine New
    Posts: 67

    @ethanwm Good to know about the 4-brace Stringphonic basic, indeed a great choice for a quality economy guitar, especially if you find a used one. Stringphonic's resell value is low but there seems to be plenty on the market. I've seen several used basic's and other models the past year, thanks for the suggestion!

    @JDRooke Mazaud sounds so sweet! May I ask where you picked up yours? I couldn't find any online for sale and even emailed Alain on his website with no reply. Congrats on a fine guitar!

  • JDRookeJDRooke New
    Posts: 87

    Ha, I played one at Samareau 2022 and felt that it was "the one", so to speak. I was disappointed to learn that the guitar I was playing was a model and that he could make me one over the next year. So, I went ahead and had it made, with a cedar top to boot. I nabbed it at Samareau 2023 and it has been all that. The bummer is I'm dinging the crap out of the cedar top, my first one. I'm a guy on crutches and it a stinker for me not to ding instruments.

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