Manouche 14 fret D-hole

Did everybody receive the last newsletter from Michael mentioning the new guitars from Manouche, including the 14 fret Orchestre? As it turns out, I have one, the only one in the U.S. actually. I haven't even had it a week. So here is my impression of the new addition to my guitar family.
First off, the guitar is the loudest acoustic I've ever owned. I had a chance to play it in a non-amped/mic-ed duet gig this weekend with my fiddle player. My other guitars have no chance keeping up with the acoustic volume of a piercing violin. But this gig was different because of the Manouche. I was heard clearly, even when soloing, all the way to the back.
Second, tone. Strikingly, this guitar has an amazing deep dark, rich tone. When soloing, using the proper gypsy picking technique and a 3mm pick, it comes alive without buzz. When playing 'le pompe' rhythm style it achieves a nice sharp attack with a big envelope of tone that follows.
Third, craftsmanship. Manouche guitars are nothing short of pretty and the 14 is no exception. The wood used, especially the rosewood back and sides is some of the best I've seen. Take a look at the detailed images here:

So, if you are interested in having a dark D-hole counterpart to your bright oval-hole while still keeping the 14 fret mobility and versatility this is a guitar worth checking out.

Lovingly, Johnny 'One Tear' Sandlin
of Le Chat Lunatique, mangy jazz and gypsy swing


  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Johnny, thanks for the info, because I have been considering the Manouche 14-fret D-Hole. Have you played a Manouche Jazz? I'd love to hear from someone who has played both what the sound differences are. I'd also be curious to know if your guitar's sound improves with continued playing. I just bought a used Maunouche Jazz that I think had not had alot of playing hours on it. When I first got it, it sounded pretty close to my DG-300. I was somewhat disappointed but decided to give the guitar some time. After a month of playing 3-4 hours a day, the difference is incredible! My Manouche is not only much louder that the Saga, but the tone is much richer as well. I feel that the Jorgenson, which is a good guitar, peaked about where the Manouche began.

    So if you would, let us know after a couple of months of playing if the sound has opened up even more. In the meantime, I'll keep saving up.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • Posts: 10
    Michael, I have compared the Jazz Manouche to the Orchestre, and the D-hole seems to have a richer and darker tone. The Jazz has that typical bright, straight-through, tone and the D has more of a broad envelope to the sound. It has taken a while to get accustomed to it, as I am used to my Dell Arte Dark Eyes. I did a side by side comparison of the two guitars in a recording studio this weekend and my band mates and I decided the Manouche was the winner. It just seemed to have more presence and punch than the subtle-bright-quiet Dell Arte.
    It is also quite true that when I first got the guitar it felt and sounded tight, just like your used Jazz. The Manchus on the whole feel that way if they haven't been played very much. After a couple of weeks of bangin' on the thing it has really loosened up and warmed up. Unlike some guitars, when you beat the crap out of them they tend to lose tone and feel floppy, the Manouche seems to like the punishment. I suspect that your Jazz has been responding the same way.
    If you have any other questions, feel free. Johnny
  • A.K. KibbenA.K. Kibben Tucson AZ USANew
    Posts: 217
    How are the necks?
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Mine is flatter in the back than my DG-300, and even flatter in the back than my D-500. The curve is more abrupt. There is still a decent sized neck, but the Jorgenson is closer to a vintage Gibson electric, which, I my curmudgeonly view, should be the required fatness of every neck. If I don't think I could hit a home run with in, it doesn't belong on a guitar! :wink:

    It's a good neck, just more of a flat profile in the back than I prefer. Johnny would have to tell you if the D-hole is the same shape. The business side is excellent. It doesn't fret out anywhere and intones better than the Sagas higher up the neck. The tone is, at least to my ear, good all over the neck.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    It's a good neck, just more of a flat profile in the back than I prefer. Johnny would have to tell you if the D-hole is the same shape.

    I was initially a bit puzzled about it - I'd call it an 'Art Deco C' - but to my surprise I discovered I've come to prefer this shape for GJ playing because it fits the hand so well when doing all those thumb over chords. I betcha that's why they make it that way....
  • Posts: 10
    Yes the neck does have a very gentle C shape with a flatter back than most. Its great for thumb over chording and soloing alike. The fretboard is very smooth, and with some minor action adjustments, has become very fast. There was some slight intonation issues in the higher registers, but minor bridge adjustment remedied that. Johnny
  • Just an update on the Manouche 14 fret D. This guitar has become my new favorite. It rocked an all night gypsy jam session with flying colors. The tone is just opening up, and the thing seems to get louder and louder. Argentine strings make it sing! Keep an eye out for a sound clip from some of my recent studio work. Johnny
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