DIY Bridge adjustments; (2) bridge upgrades on a DG-300?

PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
Hi All -

I recently took my newly acquired Gitane DG-300 into a Chicago luthier who came highly recommended to me by a Chicago bandleader I admire a good deal. The guitar had some low register buzz, and after tweaking the relief myself a bit, I decided to take it in for a professional job. I'm glad I did - I got the guitar back and was very happy with the tone, playability, etc.

That said, I am noticing a return of low register buzz, and now, some higher register buzzing as well. My hunch is that with light argies, a lot of playing time daily, coupled with weather that is basically making hay with the guitar, it is to be expected this guitar will have to be tweaked for some time to come (maybe, intermittently, as long as I have it?). This luthier said he'd gladly take it in again for a truss rod and bridge adjustment, etc., which I may yet do.

Thinking on all this, it occurred to me that these seasonal changes, even changes once strings are changed, or start to get worked in, may come fairly frequently. I have no issue taking the guitar in several times per year, esp. to leave it in good hands, but it strikes me that self-maintenance of this kind isn't a bad thing for a player to know - esp. when on the road, and the guitar needs to be brought in line then and there.

I have the very basic understanding that low register buzz tends to mean too tight a truss rod, with possible back bow; and high register buzz can simply mean an action too low for the strings, style of play, etc. (I'm a big guy, and am in the baby-era of my GJ playing of learning to relax, make efficient striking for sound dynamics desired, etc.). Can anyone direct to a source that discusses low-level maintenance of this kind, for the non-luthier player?

Guess it's a good time to admit my frenetic need to tweak everything, generally.

So - while we're at it - I freely admit it may be my playing...I play rhythm with the rounded edge of my pick(s), trying to tone down the attack and get a smoother, more mellow effect. That said, I still feel like I get a lot of bass, not altogether unpleasant, just not entirely sure it's all my newbie playing (just "very nearly sure"). I've got argies for strings - but has anyone any thoughts about tweaking a DG-300 with a bridge upgrade, in the hopes of optimizing tone?

pas encore, j'erre toujours.


  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Has some useful info, tough not all applies to gypsy guitars.
    If your action is too low you'll get a lot of buzz, old strings, especially trebles buzz as well.
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Thanks, Harry - I had come across the site earlier, will poke around.

    Just came across this, from a brief excerpt on Youtube, "Setting up the Gypsy Jazz Guitar":

    Anyone have any knowledge of this DVD? Thoughts?

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • asd123321asd123321 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 121
    I think you should take it to someone who will look at and show and explain it's status to you. He should be able to indicate how straight the neck is and tell you what to look for. Get the height of the strings which you would report back here. Most likely a shim of the bridge on the bass side would be needed.
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Thanks, asd. Oddly enough, with only a mild relief tweak, it's playing clean again - I would have expected as the strings are worn in, I would have seen a worsening in the effect. Nevertheless, yep, it's a good idea - the luthier I work with is widely hailed, came recommended highly to me as well, and I do think it will be a good idea to go over this with him (some festivals coming up).


    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • JazzDawgJazzDawg New
    Posts: 264
    Hi Paul,

    Oddly enough, I ran across a couple of outtakes from the DVD set on YouTube. ... re=channel

    Looks pretty interesting, though I'd probably take my guitar to a more knowledgeable person. You're more adventurous than me. I've never done my own setup work - should have learned though.
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,471
    Hey Phil - thanks, I'd actually seen that and considered buying his book (which I'd run across somewhere else, can't remember where). Cool shop, huh?

    I think I'm hoping for a kind of band-aid set of instructions for minor tweaking, rather than always taking it in - part of this comes, I think, from the gut sense that the more I know about my instrument, the better I'll be able to play it - e.g., if when weather changes hit, my treble response gets jiggy, or midtones go to nothing, etc., well, I guess I'm thinking by learning some modicum of this stuff, I'll be able to better grow in exploiting the full potential of my humble Gitane.

    I'm sure that's light years ahead, though. At the moment I'm trying to cleanly master a c6/9-cdim-c6/9-c#dim-Dm7-G7-c6/9 progression, at anything other than

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
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