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gitane d-500 vs dg-320 differences ?

constantineconstantine New York✭✭✭✭ Cyril morin
Anyone know whats materially different between these two models? Obviously 12fret D vs 14fret D and some superficial items. Any comments on playability, tone, overall quality?




  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,007
    i would highly recommend playing them in person. not very many dg-320's are floating around and so there are very few persons who really could tell you the difference. if you are new to gypsy jazz it is also nearly impossible for someone to guess at what you like.
  • constantineconstantine New York✭✭✭✭ Cyril morin
    Posts: 464
    thanks Djangology. I wish I could, but there are no dealers anywhere near me so I feel like I have to figure it out by garnering opinions.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    I haven't played a Dg 320 but I have tried several D-500 and they are pretty good.
    Very loud and punchy, with a good neck.
  • Dr. HallDr. Hall Green Bay, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 65
    Hi there, I own a DG-320 and have played a DG-500. The 320 I own has a much bigger, louder voice than the 500, with a lot of bass and mid-range. Great for lead playing, I have to back off a bit on rhythm playing. I use Argentine 11s on the 320 and fairly low action, 2.75mm at the 12th fret with just a hint of relief in the neck, and I still get bags of volume and tone out of the 320. So, as for playability, while the 320 is longer in scale than the 500, mine at least is quite easy to play. Not knocking the 500, but the one I played was brighter and had less character than my 320 and had pretty high action making it not much easier to play. I like the 14-fret neck on the 320 as well for soloing. Other advantages the 320 has over the 500 in my opinion are the better tuners it comes with and, purely asthetic I know, gorgeous Brasilian rosewood of the sides and back. Anyway, I love my 320 and that's my tuppence.
  • manoucheguitarsmanoucheguitars New MexicoNew
    Posts: 199
    Still looking? My advice would be to buy one of each... Gitanes are cheap enough that you can easily have one of each... that way you can pound the 500 for chops and play leads on the oval. I used to have one of each (prior to Manouche) and think I paid under a thousand for both of them.

  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,007
    If you are just starting with gypsy jazz, if I were you I would buy a Cigano-10 oval hole. Thats just my opinion. Its a cheap and respectable guitar. The D-holes are a little harder to resell I think, if you decide to sell it later. Everyone likes a 14fret oval or d hole but only some people appreciate the d hole 12 fret format.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    Even on the Ciganos, you should try both before you buy. While the 14 fret oval style has its advantages and fans, of the pair of Ciganos I tried at our local store, the D hole completely blew the oval away in terms of tone and volume. It's not just a matter of the D hole giving more feedback to the player - I had someone play both while I sat opposite, and the impression did not change. A friend came to the same conclusion independently.

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Robert is too modest to say it, but if you have the money, hunt down a used Manouche. You can usually get one for about $1200. I own a D-500 and have owned a DG-300 Jorgenson model, and my Manouche's are better than both. A new Jazz sounds like a well-played in Jorgenson, but then just keeps getting better and better as you play it. More stiking is the difference between the D-500 and the Orchestre. i know the D-500's have alot of fans here, and I am one of them. It's a great guitar for the money.
    But the Orchestre absolutely blows it away. More vintage tone, lots more volume, better intonation up the neck, and much higher quality tuning keys.

    We had a jam session at my house this past weekend, and I had all the guitars out for anyone to play. One of the guys played the D-500 and liked it. Then he played the Orchestre and said, "Wow! This is way better." And it is.

    I said in another post that when I had my Jorgenson I was always looking for a better guitar. Now I feel it would take a Veille Reserve or a good vintage axe to get me to part with my Jazz. Ditto for the Orchestre. Short of a fine, hand-made instrument, they are as good as you are going to find, and in my view, they are better than many of the hand-made guitars I have heard.

    That said, I have a nice D-500 I'll sell if you are interested...
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    I like my Manouche better than the sound of the VR.

    The VR is claimed to be closest to a Selmer, and has that dry wiry crunch that Michael says Selmers sound like. However, when it comes to comparisons, the only other guitar that sounds the same to me as my guitar is the Selmer the early Stochelo plays on the NorthSea DVD, which sounds much different from that.

  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,007
    Because of the D hole shape the sound is more directly aimed at your ear and so it sounds louder to the player but to the outside world, there is no difference in loudness or tone in my experience with all different brands of gypsy guitars.

    When some says "the D hole is louder" , its not necessarily the truth.
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