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badjazz PauletBeau doctorklez

Gitane 250M Modification

Hey -
I just thought post this to see what the feedback would be like:

I have a Gitane 250M, the petite bouch with all maple sides and back. The fret markers on the top edge neck and on the fingerboard are European style - 5, 7, 10, 12.
I thought I could think my way through the 10 fret marker, but my other primary guitar ( a beautiful Dell'Arte Homage ) is fret marked western style at 5, 7, 9, 12. In the heat of playing, I tend to get flummoxed by the european marker.

I am planning to have a luthier move the fret marker back one fret. The plan is fill the existing marker either with a plug, or a black marker to simply blend in. A new white marker will be installed at position 9. The markers on the top of the neck will be adjusted also.

Currently I have majik-markered out the top edge and put a dot of White Out fret 9. This helps if I keep the fretboard tilted away from me, but if I glance at the fingerboard the the trouble starts.

The initial quote is between 100$ and 200$ to do this.

Has anyone else done this?
What say you???


  • dwannabedwannabe Coupeville, WashingtonNew
    Posts: 21
    I saw this same question on the Hotclub forum. The consensus seemd to be to leave it alone and learn to use it. I have one and it doesn't pose too much of a problem. Of course I took a pen and marked on the side of the neck a little "10" at the 10th fret to help. I'm the only one that can see it unless someone wis looking over my shoulder.

    Another question I have for the maple Saga is fret buzz. I have raised the action to a full 4 mm at the 12th and still get a buzz on the bottom strings. Anyone else have this problem? Do I need to do some fret filing? there must be a high fret above the 12th.
  • Posts: 101
    I'd say stick it out, I had the same problem when I got a Dupont, further compounded by going back and forth between the Dupont and a Dell Arte with the 9th fret marked, but in the long run I think it's made me less dependent on the markers.
  • drollingdrolling New
    Posts: 153
    Hey Major7,

    That 10th fret marker really bugged me too, at first. What you're proposing sounds kinda costly considering the price of the guitar - I think you'd be better off spending that money on a good setup, for sure a new bridge and maybe even a tailpiece or tuners as these are generally regarded as the weakest spots on Gitanes. To get back to the fret marker, one trick that's working for me is just not looking at the neck so much. I'm reminded of classical players who look at the conductor and the music simultaneously- never at thier instruments. Since I've stopped looking at the neck, I'm finding I can play for longer periods of time, as my spine isn't all twisted around.

    Hey Dwannabe,

    One of my Gitanes arrived with 'fret sprout' and alot of buzzing. A levelling and dressing of the frets cured the problem. Any competent luthier should be able to do this for you.

    Good luck,
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Change the Dell Arte. :)

  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    Josh Hegg wrote:
    Change the Dell Arte. :)


    Really!--don't sweat the small stuff--you get used to anything after awhile!
    I'm pretty certain the Saga will sound better than the Dell Arte in any blindfold test--you get used to the french fret markers after a week.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    As for "what" you should do... your call I guess... but I've noticed that some of the gypsy runs and chord voicings seem to be easier to understand when you're using a guitar with the 10th fret marker. Either I'm way off base and imagining this - or perhaps some accomplished player on this list can confirm or deny this and help us understand what's going on in layman's terms (and why the two styles came about)

    Now as for your guitar tech questions... I pointed a friend to some of these this morning - I'll point you at them as well. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Frank Ford, the godfather of guitar restoration, and his magical mystical website of luthiery knowledge....

    About what's involved in moving / removing inlays. ... inlay.html

    How to find what's causing your buzz. ... tbuzz.html

    Personally - I found two bass string buzzes on my 250M. One was caused by that darned cheap tailpiece ... it vibrates / hums / rattles / whatever... at certain frequencies. I glued the plastic in place better and backed it with leather. Also - I did a fret level on it... which cured a WHOLE bunch of little playability issues. Look at the end of this article to see how Frank levels the frets once he's installed them. It's simple, it's brilliant, I've tried it, it works. ... ret01.html
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • drollingdrolling New
    Posts: 153
    Hey Bob,

    Great links. Really useful stuff.

    I wanted to mention in my earlier post that the 10th fret marker seems to make more sense when playing gypsyjazz, but I couldn't back it up with any music theory as I'm an ear player. I thought I was just crazy, but it seems that no matter what tune I'm butchering, when I do look down at the neck, I'm hitting that 10th fret alot more often than the 9th. Could it have something to do with all that demented augminished stuff? I would love it if someone could chime in here with an explanation.

    And surf music. I've always loved it almost as much as Django. When I heard Jogenson's Hot Club style take on the Shadow's "Man of Mystery" I thought 'Ah-Ha - someone else is making that connection, too!'. There's got to be a technical explanation for this as well. Or maybe not. I don't even know what key I'm playing in sometimes, but it's sure more fun than playin the blues (unless it's 'Minor Blues', of course).

    Thanks for posting,
  • MontereyJacquesMontereyJacques ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2011 Posts: 81
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    I was not trying to say that the Saga was a better guitar then the Dell Arte. I think that that Dell Arte is a much better "gypsy" sounding instrument then the saga. My point was that one of the things the Saga really has right is the 10th fret marker. The Patenotte I just got has the 9th fret marking! I was bummed when I found out that was the way it is but... I'm going to change it to the 10th fret. Again thanks for the links Bob. great "hand holding" link for this project.

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Frank Ford is definitely the guy you want holding your hand on that sort of thing.

    Hey, I visited John Greven the other day, he's making a repro finger-rest for a cool old pre-war archtop of mine. That was inspiring. He's really talented - some of the project's he's working on were amazing - he had a big modified jumbo design with Sitka that was almost nice enough to convert me to playing bluegrass. His guitars bark - but have a tight bell-like clarity - they don't just make tones... they launch tones. This big round-shouldered beast with the bearclaw top is nifty too.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
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