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DG-330 review

Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
"Tuxedo" Model - All black with white pearl binding and silver hardware and pearl tailpiece inset
Spruce top
Mahogany back and sides

I got the first of them late last night and had a chance to play them and let me say... They are great. I have played every Gitane and the 330 is tonally unlike any of them. It has a much more traditional GJ tone to it and sounds great for lead and really shines during rhythm. It's not as loud as the DG-300 or the D-500 but has a tight mid crunch that all the others lack and It's not as wet sounding.

Saga changed a few things on this model. I thought it was going to be a black version of the DG-300 but it is not. The first major change is the neck angel. The neck is now set at a steeper angle (like it should be) so the strings are higher thus making more tension over the bridge. This does not make the action higher but the bridge needs to be taller to accommodate the neck angel.

The second is the top arch. It is much more arched. This puts the top plate under tension this aiding in the tone of the guitar.

The other change is the neck. It's very nice. I like the DG-300 neck but I think I like this neck even more. It's hard to tell what is different about it but I think it might be just a touch narrower but still nice and thick. When I played it the first thing I thought of was the Selmer I have played a few times. This new neck on the 330 is really nice.

They also changed the bridge. It's a much better bridge. I think it is still not the perfect design but a huge step in the right direction.

I have put my money where my mouth is and purchased a 330 myself! I'll be doing some experiments with bridge design for this model and post my findings in the near future.

All in all this is the best sounding GJ guitar Saga has put out to date. I think the only thing that will keep this guitar from taking over the other models will be the color. Most players like wood over paint. I like wood myself but after playing the 330 the tone sold me over the looks. Don't get me wrong... It looks nice. But it's sort of a "bling" guitar. The pearl pushes it over the edge for me. The look is not my style but the tone is oh so tasty!

Get this guitar if:
You like a more traditional tone
Like an all black guitar

Don't get this guitar if:
You like a modern, wet tone
Don't like all black guitars

Better neck angel
Higher top arch
Better bridge
Looks different

Bridge still needs some work
Looks different

In the end the 330 is just another great guitar from Saga. They have changed the design from the 300 enough to make a guitar that still sounds great but different. Like the DG-300 this guitar will be supper with a full set up. A full fret level, truss and action adjustment will make this guitar play like a dream.



  • HereticHeretic In the Pond✭✭✭
    Posts: 230

    Thanks for the review, mate.

    Would it be possible for you to post a photo of their new bridge design?

    Some of us might live in remote (Isle of Skye) areas and must rely on mail order instruments; this would be particularly useful to know about.
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Josh, have you ever reviewed the DG-320? I have been interested in a 14-fret d-hole and wondered how the Gitane was, say, compared to the Manouche.

    I have a DG-300, for which you made a bridge and a Manouche jazz, which are really close, with maybe a slight edge to the Manouche in overall tone.

    I have a D-500 as well, but find that flipping between the two necks is troublesome for me.

    I know you like Sagas, and I would love to hear any thoughts you have about the DG-320.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    There is a little info here that might help in the mean time:

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited January 2015 Posts: 1,252
    That's the bridge that Saga had on a couple of the guitars at the NAMM show. I ran into John Jorgenson downstairs by the Schertler booth and he said they were more and more receptive to the two main points of improvement feedback they'd been getting - namely the neck profiles and bridge design.

    He also said he was working on some other improvements with them... must have been the arch & neck angle.

    This is a great company - they will become the "Taylor Guitar" of Gypsy Jazz - no doubt about it and I find that really cool because it means that the Gypsy Jazz market is catching hold and maturing. Let me put on my "day-job" hat and tell you what I think this means (I do product management and business development) When markets are young and sparse, you often see compressed price curves - what that means, basically - is that because they're specialty markets there aren't a lot of impulse purchases and there aren't a lot of people truly educated on the product... so... the entry level products cost too much and the highend products don't cost enough. As markets mature (in general) the base and education/experience level of customers grows and broadens. When this happens you start to see more elasticity of demand at the entry level and less elasticity at the topend. Essentially, it means that at the lowend - you get more "tire kickers" who are willing to drop a couple hundred to try things out (and inexpensive guitars like Aria, Lark etc...) pop up to meet that market, the midrange of the market matures and you start to get a broader range of solutions (Gitane is going to town in this area and it sounds like Dell Arte is or intends to along with newcomer Manouche) and at the highend... we should start to see rising prices for master grade guitars because the customers who are in the market for them become more and more aware of the differences between a good factory guitar like a Taylor and a master grade guitar like a Traugott or Doolin or Elliott etc... For instance, you can get a barebones Park for $3,500. In the flatpicking world - getting a barebones model from a top Luthier would cost you more like $5,000. So let's celebrate - the market for our little community is reaching its formative teenage years and we'll probably see the Gypsy Jazz market mature considerably over the next 5 years. I hope it retains its cool familial vibe as it does, because I'm tellin you for a fact: The Gypsy Jazz community is the most approachable music community I've ever experienced.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    edited December 2006 Posts: 551
    Hi Bob

    I'm not sure about your analysis, which looks like it comes from the demand side of the market. It seems to me that companies take advantage of the smaller amount of suppliers at the beginning and charge too much for their higher end guitars. Once it is proven that great guitars can fit into the large price space between that and entry level, there is incentive for both sides to fill in the gap - Saga at the low mid, and Dell Arte on the other side. Plus, the GJ market is not as elastic as the flatpicker's market, since they are all aligned to the Selmer model, which was a factory guitar to begin with, so there is somewhat of a ceiling at the luthier's handmade spectrum. Compare this to the classical guitar market, where the standard is extremely high in quality, causing a great deal more mediocrity at higher prices, and whose truly professional strata starts at $7500 and goes easily into the $20k-$40k range or more, with easier justification. There is also the relatively higher percentage of used guitars that flood the market in this genre once people find out how difficult GJ playing actually is and no longer have a use for them, whereas one can always justify hanging onto a dreadnought and playing an easier type of music from time to time, if you follow me, which has a dampening effect on demand for new guitars overall. Maybe it all depends on how many guitars any one company can churn out per month against demand that becomes the determining factor.

    Just thought I'd throw that into the mix....
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    The 330 gives DellArte a run for their money. It sounds like a $3,000 guitar. Now if Saga can make a model that sounds like the 330 and looks like the 300 they are really going to be on to something.

  • BohemianBohemian State of Jefferson✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 303
    sound and playability of the 330 and looks of the 300

    Ok Josh..

    when is this supposed to happen ? ? : )

    Like you.. the pearl is a bit much....
    black I can handle and I prefer nickle/silver to gold but pearl??

    not in my genes
  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,005
    Thanks for all these comments. I cant wait to try one. :-)
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622

    I have no clue... But I hope soon!

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