Recommendations on mid-price Asian GJ Guitars

I play straight ahead and have been studying gj for a year or so now. A more daunting task than I anticipated. Never the less my respect/afficion for the music has increased exponentially since I attended Django in June '08. The virtuosity and humility of Adrien, Robin etc... was quite amazing.
My current axe is a Cordoba D-5. It's been a nightmare. Mostly because no one in Columbia, SC knows the style or how to set a gj guitar up. It's fine for a student axe but I'd like to get something a little nicer yet still affordable and I know it will be dressed and set-up immaculately if ordered from Michael. I've researched the Gitane DG-255 and Dell'Arte Pigalle models. My budget is $2000. Any input would greatly appreciated.
Much Obliged,
Ryan Taylor
"de non conveniendo cum hereticus"


  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    Hello Lucius371,

    I don't much about the Asian guitars. But for that kind of budget, I'd go for a Dell' Arte, a Manouche or a Patenotte. Those are all great manufactures, and some models have great reviews. For $1.500, 1,700 you'll definitely find something satisfying.
    There are plenty of Dell'Arte on this same website or from ****'s webpage : http://****/guitars.php
    I've seen Samson and Dorado Schmitt playing Manouche guitars here in DC and they said they liked them :
    The Patenotte would be my favorite, but it's a very personal choice. They're imported here by Jacques Mazolenni :
    And besides, from SC, you're not that far away from him...

    Those are all great guitars, and you wouldn't go wrong with any of them. :wink:
    - JG
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    I read these are pretty good: ... odrom.html

    On the top of your budget there are these:


    If you pay a visit to Jaques Mazzoleni be sure to try this one:
    Nomade $1750

    I have one and they are good! Though the bolt-on neck makes some people cringe...

    Or you might want to consider buying used to save some money though there's more risk.

    Good luck!
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,155
    Right now I'd say the Manouche Latcho Drom guitars are the best thing you can get under $2000. I've been really impressed with the volume, tone, playability, and overall workmanship of these. Unlike the Sagas, they are ready to play out of the box. Bridge and setup are perfect so that save you $ on setups.

    We brought a few to Djangofest and everyone loved them and was shocked how inexpensive they were:

    I'll actually run a little special shipping and case if you buy today!

  • Lucius371Lucius371 Lakewood, WANew
    Posts: 22
    I'm somewhat shocked that an authority, like yourself, would say these guitars are ready to play out of the box considering that you could hustle me for at least a fret level, ( LOL ). I know that's not in your nature, though naturally I'm skeptical. I like the OR 101. What's your "unbiased" position on Bigtones pick ups vs condensor /lapel mikes.
    Thanks, you were super cool to me (and everyone else) at Django in June
    "de non conveniendo cum hereticus"
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,155
    Hi Ryan....I don't believe in "hustling" anyone for anything more then is necessary. Bad business IMO.

    I think most people would agree that the Sagas are not in ideal playing condition out of the box, hence the setup options. But these Manouche Latcho Droms have had a lot more attention at the factory, so I don't really see the need for lots of extra work. It would only be necessary for personalization (like very low action).

    Comparing bigtones to sound hole mics is like comparing apples to oranges. They have totally different applications....generally, bigtones are more practical because they won't feed back. Mics sound the best, but unless you play at low volume and/or an ideal concert setting, you'll have huge feedback problems. More here: viewtopic.php?t=3850


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