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uli Twerkthomson

Vintage Gitanes only

Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
Dear all,

I asked the same question on Manoucheries, and I got some pretty interesting answers. I am curious to see what you guys think.

It's obvious that for several years now, the market of gypsy guitars has completely exploded for the traditional hand-made guitars and also for the later generations of more industrial / chinese ones.

It has been said so many times that any given guitar needs a couple of years to mature or "open", and that old woods / vintage guitars have wonderful qualities.

So what about the Gitanes or Gitane-inspired ones ?
You bought one 3~5 years ago, and have played enough to know what's a good guitar and a bad one... So what's up ? The sound / the tone has changed ? The guitar has open ? How does this kind of guitar do with time ?

Are we going to see them on in 50 years sold for 20,000 USD ?
- JG


  • djangologydjangology Portland, OregonModerator
    Posts: 1,011
    One of my guitars is 9 years old and other is 5 years old. Personally I don't notice any difference since they were brand new, but like anyone else, I like to THINK that the guitar must sound better. The truth is that I cannot tell. I am just as likely to say that my guitars don't sound as good as they did when they were new. When you spend every day with your guitar, how is a person supposed to remember exactly how it sounded when it was new?

    There are a few guitars that get a special sound with age, but not all of them do. I think it takes a special set of circumstances for a guitar to sound better with age, and it does happen. I wouldn't expect it in general though and most of these gypsy guitars will probably just depreciate over time.

    A good comparison would be a mature modele, such as a DuPont MD-50. You could compare one of them from 10 years ago to one today. My guess is that the new one is going to sound and play way better.
  • fraterfrater Prodigy
    Posts: 763
    My DG 250 M has dramatically improved in the first 3 years (I have played it a lot, I must add!). Also I noticed my Manouche really got better with age.


    A nine year old Gitane? Damn it seems like yesterday I read the first ad...
    As for the Duponts, I'm afraid the new ones don't play as good as the one made in the "golden era"... and that has nothing to do with aging. :(
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,068
    frater wrote:
    As for the Duponts, I'm afraid the new ones don't play as good as the one made in the "golden era"... and that has nothing to do with aging. :(

    I found the opposite to be true...the newer ones play like butter. The older ones usually need a lot more setup work to get the buttery feel of a new Dupont. I think Maurice has really dialed in the design over the years...he's really giving more bang for the buck then ever before.

  • fraterfrater Prodigy
    Posts: 763
    Actually the workmanship used to be kind of rough way back when. Dupont are more refined now and easier to play but IMO the tone used to be better in the old days (maybe just because they were harder to play!)Just my opinion, based on some not so great sounding guitars I happened to play made in the late 90' s . I hear great things about the present production, though.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited July 2008 Posts: 6,068
    They definitely changed over time and I'm sure there a numerous "periods" with their various merits. Either way, I've been really impressed with the new stuff, especially the Vieille Reserves which are hands down one of the best new guitars out there.

  • CiganoCigano New
    Posts: 19
    Dupont the man, actually made the guitars himself until about 2000 (correct me if I'm wrong), then went more automated. Late '90s Duponts are highly regarded. I've got an MD30 from 1998 that was Fapy's, and he only really uses Selmers for playing festivals, so it's a good one...(although now he plays the Boonstra Fapy Model which is good - he played it at Samois a couple of years ago).
  • djadamdjadam Boulder, CONew
    Posts: 249
    My 250M definitely mellowed out somewhat after a couple of years of heavy use, but these says it just sounds thin after a year plus with my Park guitar. It seems like the 250M is so heavily lacquered that I don't know if it can ever really mature too much.
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I bought a VR just 3-4 months ago. I played another newer one just the other day. Through Micheal I've had the chance to play old and new guitars in the higher price range.
    The Dupont I bought is as good a guitar as I can imagine, and better for me than any other acoustic guitar I've played.
    I don't think its relevant how a guitar is produced nor should it matter who plays what guitar. The tones you get on the VR and volume are exceptional.
    Like any good guitar, it makes you stretch to use the potential sound that it has. If the old Duponts are better than the new, I simply don't know how much that could be true. The old Busatos are louder but lack the tone density in my opinion. I play solo and I find the VR gets a richness and a variety of sounds unmatched by anything else I've played to date.
    I like my 500, and my old Harmony too. It's not snobbery. I gig with any one of them just for the differences. It's great to have something that sounds like the different styles and eras and then mix things up. but the sound of Django is closer to the VR than any other I've played, yet carries off other styles (minus the electric stuff) very well.
    I can't say the new ones are as good as the old ones cause I have no evidence, but I'm dubious simply because the new ones are very good indeed.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • CiganoCigano New
    Posts: 19
    You could say the same thing about Favinos, but everyone would prefer a guitar made by pay for the more experienced luthier, and rarity value (once they stop making).
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I'm not sure which part of what I said is also true of Favinos. I wanted only to add my doubt about the declining value of Duponts.
    As to top woods improving with age: I'm a carpenter and have dealt with a lot of old soft woods (2x4's). The old ones are harder than the new ones! I've also had batchs of wood (hard and softwoods) that got considerably harder after 10-15 years. On the other hand, having played guitar for 40 years, I've tried to hear the difference between old and new guitars, but always remain agnostic about which variables make them sound different.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
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