Looking to step up from Gitane D-500 but keep it short scale

bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.26, Altamira M01D-12 fret
Any recommendations? I really enjoy playing the 12-fret, short scale guitar. It fits my hands and it's easier for me to play than the long scale. But as I'm looking to go a step up from my Gitane D-500, I get the impression that the step up requires me to switch to a 14 fret at the body, long scale. I don't believe I can afford having a luthier make one for me. So I'm looking for recommendation, if you have any.

Merci Beaucoup!


  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Shelley Park, Dupont, Dell arte and others make 12 fret Macaferri copies, though they are expensive... maybe you can stay on your Gitane and save for a while longer... it usually isn't worth it to step up incrementally.
    Also give consideration to the short scale 14 fretters they give you the ease of playing of a short scale with the added 2 frets reach.
    Best of luck
  • bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.26, Altamira M01D-12 fret
    Posts: 243
    Thanks for the tip! I don't want to sound too needy, but that leads me to two questions:

    1. Does anyone know the difference in fret length between the traditional long scale 14-fret and the short scale 14 fret for gypsy guitars?

    2. I believe I saw that Dell Arte makes the short scale 14 fret. Are there other makers people are familiar with?

    P.S. There are no guitars shops in St. Louis, MO, that carry gypsy jazz guitars (except 2 stores carry the Gitane D-500). I'll be in Vancouver, British Columbia, on October 10. Any guitar shops known there that carry any variety of gypsy guitars? Please let me know if you are aware of any.

    Merci Beaucoup!
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Well you're in luck!
    Shelley Park is in Vancouver, BC she makes high end gypsy guitars and has a very good reputation amongst gypsy jazz players.
    Here's Stochelo playing on one, I'm pretty sure Denis is playing one as well and I believe Sebastien is playing a Holo:

    Her guitars are not cheap but right now she has a short scale 14 fretter in stock that you might be able to try (would love to hear your opinions if you do) ... d-elan-14/
  • JazzDawgJazzDawg New
    Posts: 264
    Although, I've not played one, Park guitars seem to have a nice rep. There is a short-scale D-hole model on this site for sale. The price is more than reasonable for a guitar of this quality. Take a look... ... rice_.html

    Feel your pain about Guitar shops not carrying GJ models. In KC there is one 'lefty' D-hole Enorez, and 1 in Lawrence, a Patonotte 256 oval hole. Not much else around. I've not even seen any GJ players around, either. I think there may be a couple of players around here, because I had to wait for a library book, Know The Man Play the Music - Django Reinhart, which somebody had checked. I've just not seen much GJ played here at all.

    Hope to change that soon. Good luck. BTW - I visited Vancouver and Seattle back in 2005 - be sure to check out the GJ scene there while you're up there.
  • bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.26, Altamira M01D-12 fret
    Posts: 243
    Thanks for the advice, but I'm afraid with one daughter only a sophomore at private college and another one who only be starting in college next year, a $3,000+ guitar would be too indulgent on my part. The economy hit me last December and left me without a job until this August. Luckily, I'm back at work (now teaching at St. Louis University), but I'm only good for close to half of that $3,000.

    Thanks for the video too. I love the Rosenberg Trio. I'm strictly a rhythm guitarist and Rosenberg Trio put forth pay due homage to the rhythm section in their compositions, so I pay close attention to them. A Shelley Park guitar might very well be in my future, but not at the moment.

    Merci beaucoup!
  • GregLewisGregLewis Chicago, IL (Oak Park)New
    Posts: 68
    Check classified for "Constantine" back in Mar/Apr 09. He had a Patanotte D (251) for sale and I think it's still available. Also, check out the "Who makes handmade gypsy guitars" thread in the first section of the forum. Also a french luthier named Gallato. May have something in your price range.

    Chicago GJ fest this weekend. Probably worth the drive. Workshop at the Old Town School on Saturday!

    Good Luck

    Greg (also toothmarked by the economy)
  • DjangoJimDjangoJim Edgewood, WA✭✭✭ Dupont MD50 Cedar Top
    Posts: 32
    Truth be told, I love my D-500. It's a joy to play because its so comfortable and my playing has improved because its always fun. Plus, it holds it's own volume-wise in any jam session. And like you, I really can't justify spending too much on another guitar at this time. Here's a trick I learned. To tone down the boom in the bass, I quit using a Wegan pick and switched to a 2mm dunlop. It evens out the tone a bit more.
  • bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.26, Altamira M01D-12 fret
    Posts: 243
    I like my Gitane D-500 as well. Like you, I find that it's a joy to play because its short scale is comfortable on the hands and "my playing has improved because its always fun."

    But I got an itch to play something else that will give me a different tone and experience. Also, like you, I got rid of the Wegan pick. It made my guitar sound "wonky"! My trick is to use a fingerpick turned sideways on my thumb. I lose volume, but it fits with my style of playing so I can use my finger tips in my rhythm strum patterns. To make up for the loss of volume when I'm performing in a club-type setting, I can use my amp. I'm uncertain as to actually give up my D-500, especially if I decide to go for a petite bouche.
  • B25GibB25Gib Bremerton WA✭✭✭✭ Holo Busato, Dell'Arte Hommage, Gitane D-500, Eastman AR805
    Posts: 184
    .......I too discovered that the Wegen 3.5 mm and even 2.5 mm sounded too bassy and a little muddled on this old mid 90's D-500. I think the Dunlop 500 "Turtle" .096 works real well for my guitar but even up to 2.00 mm in this Pick series is almost the same quality of tone.
    .......I'd hold onto your D-500 for awhile yet until you actually find a 14-fret short scale that you like better.
    .......I have two other GJ guitars, both small hole long scale with better tone, but I'm keeping this old easy to play and comfortable D-500 with it's vintage woody tone and even likeable "Tubby" sound!
    .......Looking forward to Josh Hegg getting it back to me with new tuners, fret job, new bridge with a K & K floating bridge PU installed.
  • bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.26, Altamira M01D-12 fret
    Posts: 243
    I live in St. Louis. As far as I know, only two stores locally carry a GJ guitar currently, and both happen to be the Gitane D-500. I plan on making a trip (with Megabus, I can go roundtrip in one day for $40) to visit Andy's Music in Chicago. They have several Gitane models in stock. I need to play several models to compare playability and tone before I feel comfortable buying a new guitar. Michael H. has a great sale on guitars right now, but I just can't see buying a guitar without at least playing the model first, if not the actual guitar. I was never one for blind dates.

    P.S. I just had some fret work done on my guitar and some adjustment of the bridge. My D-500 came back sounding beautifully Django and surprisingly easier to play.
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