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Manouche vs Gitane Jorgenson

constantineconstantine New York✭✭✭✭ stringphonic
Anyone have the opportunity to compare these brands? I currently use a Gitane D500, and looking to upgrade. Not sure if going to the Jorgenson model will be a significant upgrade. My D500 has a new bridge and sounds great, but I am looking for a faster neck I guess.



  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I have owned a Jorgenson, which was my first GJ guitar. I had it about 16 months, but sold it after buying a Manouche Jazz. I liked the neck shape a little better on the Jorgenson (it's more a full "C", where the Manouche is a bit flatter (almost classical), and I liked that ithe Jorgenson had side fret markers, which the Manouche doesn't, and the Jorgenson had prettier wood, but in every other way, I prefer the Manouche.

    When I first got the Manouche, it sounded about the same as my much-played Jorgenson, but while the Jorgenson had peaked, the Manouche just kept opening up. After 2-3 months, there was no comparison in sound, the Manouche was richer, louder, and more Selmer-like, while the Jorgenson seemed to me a compromise in sound between a standard acoustic and a GJ guitar. After nine months, my Manouche Jazz still keeps sounding better.

    Another major difference was intonation. Playing chords on the Jorgenson was pretty grating higher up the neck, where on the Manouche, intonation doesn't seem to be an issue anywhere.

    I solved the side fret markers with white out applied discreetly and replaced as it wears off. Someday I'll get proper ones added.

    I am not knocking the Jorgenson, which was a very nice guitar, and much cheaper than the Manouche, but the Manouche has a much better bridge (You'll need to replace the stock JJ one with a Hegg or Dupont bridge), much better tuning keys (It will sometimes stay in tune for days), and to my ear, a much more authentic and expensive sound.

    I have a D-500 as well and a Manouche Orchestre. There is even a bigger difference between these two, especially in volume, but also in tone! To me, the Orchestre sounds even more vintage than the Model Jazz, and has a much better neck than the D-500. Again, intonation is nearly flawless anywhere on the neck.

    I think Saga makes the best entry-level guitars out there. I really do. But if you stick with GJ, sooner or later you are going to want to upgrade. If you can afford it, buy a Manouche. For one thing, Sagas sometimes are hard to sell, but every Manouche that goes up for sale seems to get snapped up quickly. Short of buying a top-shelf guitar from a top luthier, I don't think you are going to beat a Manouche. I consider both of mine to be keepers. Everyone who's played them seems to really like them as well. I think a used Manouche is the best bang for the buck out there.

    Just my two cents, having lived with both brands.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • constantineconstantine New York✭✭✭✭ stringphonic
    Posts: 453
    Mike - wow what a much appreciated response thanks. Mike you said you have both the jazz and the Orchestre. Which do you prefer for lead playing?
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I'm not sure much of anything I play qualifies as genuine "lead playing", but I find myself playing the Jazz more often than not. That said, there are weeks that I am captivated by the Orchestre's more vintage sound, and I will play it exclusively.

    Honestly, either guitar will do. The Orchestre has a darker, more mid-range to bass emphasis to my ear, while the Jazz is more treble to mid-range. Most people will tell you that the 14-fret neck is better for soloing, but Django and many others like Moerman played some amazing solos on the D-hole. I think you need to go with whichever tone and neck you like better. The 12-fret neck is wider than the 14-fret, and that may be an issue for you, but I'm guessing not if you have a D-500.

    You live in New York, it says. Anywhere near the city? If so, send me a PM. Maybe we could arrange for you to try both of mine to see for yourself.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • Pugs47Pugs47 New
    Posts: 102
    Hi Constatine,

    I've owned both and also for a period was a dealer for Manouche. Recent financial issues forced me to vacate the dealership, but I have a modele jazz demo for sale, which would cost you less than a Jorgenson.

    I also sold Mike B. his 12 fret Orchestre, which was my personal guitar.
    I concur with Mike's comments and would add the neck profile on my Jorgenson was very, very fat. It also dove down at the nith fret towards the heel, which made higher playing difficult. Mine was one of the first, so they may have changed the neck profile. But you will find yourself wanting to up-grade the bridge ,tuners and tailpiece, which nose-dived on the D and G strings.

    The sound is also continuing to improve on the Modele Jazz, as Mike stated.

    I live in West Chester PA, about 2.5 hours from mid-town. You're welcome to stop out and try it.

    I can email you photos. Send a personal email to : <!-- e --><a href=""></a><!-- e -->

  • constantineconstantine New York✭✭✭✭ stringphonic
    Posts: 453
    just sent you an e...thanks ernie
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