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  • delb0y 1:03PM

Today's Birthdays

jmkoel VictorNarraway

some beginner questions (and hi everybody!)

Hi everybody, my name is Miguel and i´m a new member seeking for some guidance!
sorry if my english is not that good...

First, some background:

i used to play the nylon-guitar, mostly brazillian-inspired stuff (bossa-nova, samba) with an average technique, at best. for reasons best left alone here, i stopped playing for some 5 years, and recently got back to the guitar.
when trying to regain some chops, i found myself trying to copy some licks from django - one of my favourite guitarists, even if i knew nothing about his techniques or gipsy jazz - and ended up growing a feeling for gipsy jazz, which has grown into a little obsession lately, so i´m thinking of buying all the stuff to set me on track.

this is how i found this forum. now for some questions, if some of you have the time and/or patience:

- guitar: i was thinking about buying a gitane guitar, but after reading some threads here, i now question if a cigano model wouldn´t be a better buy? i plan to buy an "entry model", not anything fancy, but i´d like to grab some of the "sound" of the GJ players, will a cigano be able to do some of that?
- guitar: i also want a guitar where i can get a good thumb-grip, so the neck shoudldn´t be too wide. In my classical guitar, for instance, the minor sixth chords are difficult to get right. so i´m not shure if i´d be better with a d-hole or with an oval-hole for that matter (i suppose this is a standard question). my hands are on the big side, though .
- pick : i´m not very good with the pick, and i´ve only used slimmer picks (2mm at most). what would be a good pick for starter? should i just get a wegen right now?
- strings: i understand one should go for savarez argentines, but there are a lot of models for those, and i´m not quite shure about which one to buy.

all these questions are important because i´ll have to order on-line, because in my country there is virtually NO gipsy jazz scene or shops. the shops i´ve been never heard about a selmer guitar... and if any of these questions is already answered elsewhere, i appologise for unnecessary forum posting :) ...


Thanks in advance,

Miguel
Portugal, EU
«1

Comments

  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    Hey,
    Your questions are all the RIGHT questions. At least you have 2 languages. I only have one.
    Yes, once you really hear Django, you know that there is something else very special that a guitar can do. All my answers are just my opinion, but you know that.

    Buy either cigano - long or short. I have both. Both do something different well enough. Very good enty guitars. The short scale will not be so big a difference from other guitars. The long scale will be brighter than your used to, and it allows you further up the neck. I play many kinds of music so the short scale does better finger picking and that would be my choice. It is less cranky Django and more open but still acceptable for Django.
    You will get your thumb around either one. I have medium hands. The short cigano isn't as wide as most classical. Close, but I can thumb everything I need and do it a lot. It is easier on the long scale though.

    A 2mm pick is thick enough for now. I use 3mm. If it flexes though, get a thicker one.

    I think there are only 2 main styles of Argentine strings. Either the 10s or 11s will do. 10s sound thinner (good for short scale) and are easier to bend. The strings that come on your new cigano aren't great, won't last long, but I wouldn't just rip them off and put the Argies on either. But I have ripped them off and put Argies on so if you can afford to throw away strings I won't judge you. The argies will definitely sound better. The ones that come sound really aggresive and are kinda cool but argies are the ticket in the long run.

    I cannot give up finger picking or flat picking so I attach a 3mm pick to a thumbpick and do both - almost all the time, except when maximum speed is needed, then I just flatpick. I just throw out the idea because it is entirely possible to do both and lose nothing in either technique. All plus - no minus in my opinion. Of course its a trick to attach the flat one to the thumb pick. I won't explain.

    Hope this helps and have fun!
    This site sells the Ciganos for $300+ which beats anything I've found.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira MF01, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 724
    Hi there Miguel - welcome to the forum and the world of Gypsy Jazz.

    I agree with everything Jeff said - I started with a Cigano oval hole - it's a great guitar for the money and the neck is not too thin but not too thick or too wide.

    The only thing I would suggest is that because you're in Portugal it might be quicker and cheaper to buy from somewhere in Europe - otherwise you'll pay higher shipping and import tax costs.

    One other guitar which gets a good name for beginners is the Gallato entry level model. Here it is on a German site
    http://www.gypsyguitar.de/index.php?pag ... =4&lang=en

    They also have the Cigano
    http://www.gypsyguitar.de/index.php?pag ... =4&lang=en

    As for plectrums, you may need to try a few before settling on the right one for you - a lot of people use Wegens - I use Dugain plectrums made from horn and some home made ones. SOme people say the thicker the better and I think this is generally right but then again Stochelo Rosenberg has been using a Wegen "Big City" which is only 1.8mm thick.

    Finally Argentine strings have a great sound but - depending on how hard and how often you play - they may not last long. I use Phillipe Bosset strings which have a slightly different sound from Argentines - but still a good gypsy sound, however they last about three tiems a long as Argentines.

    They can be found for the same price as Argentines so they are more cost effective. If you do a google search for Philippe Bosset Cordes you'll find a supplier.

    Anyway, good luck with everything and let us know how you get on
    always learning
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,848

    The only thing I would suggest is that because you're in Portugal it might be quicker and cheaper to buy from somewhere in Europe - otherwise you'll pay higher shipping and import tax costs.

    Actually Ciganos are still cheaper to buy from the US because of the exchange rate and the lower prices here. Shipping and taxes are minimal for this inexpensive guitar.

    'm
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira MF01, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 724
    thanks for correcting me Michael, it's just that recently the exchange rate was bad - a year or two ago it was much better and everything was cheaper to buy and import from the US.

    Alan
    always learning
  • noodlenotnoodlenot ✭✭✭
    Posts: 388
    Hi again!
    thanks for all the replies, they are deeply appreciated. i´ll take a closer look at them when i get some free time (there´s a liitle baby in the house... :) ).

    i take from the answers that really there is no point in buying the gitane dg-255 at this moment.

    Cheers!
    Miguel.
  • noodlenotnoodlenot ✭✭✭
    Posts: 388

    The only thing I would suggest is that because you're in Portugal it might be quicker and cheaper to buy from somewhere in Europe - otherwise you'll pay higher shipping and import tax costs.

    Actually Ciganos are still cheaper to buy from the US because of the exchange rate and the lower prices here. Shipping and taxes are minimal for this inexpensive guitar.

    'm
    really? i´m surprised! do you have an estimate of how much would be the the shipping to Portugal, europe?

    thanks in advance,
    Miguel.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,848
    it costs about 365 Euro total (guitar and shipping) to send a Cigano to Europe. Most of the European discount dealers are selling the Ciganos for well over 400 Euro.
  • noodlenotnoodlenot ✭✭✭
    Posts: 388
    Hi again!
    Just wanted to say thanks everybody for your help. i´ve ended up buying a guitar from a luthier that lives close to me here in Portugal (an APC 802, here: http://www.apc-instruments.com/ ). i hope it´s a nice instrument, it´s made of solid wood, spruce and maple, IIRC.
    strangely i discovered about the guy in these boards, and his workshop is just 20 km from my place :shock: ... i chose him in the end because i had the chance to test the guitar before buying, and spent some time chatting with the guy. now i´m off to buy some strings and picks and, of course, Michael´s books (i´ve also discovered a place where they sell them here!). I´m thinking about gipsy picking and gipsy rythm for starters. i hope that get´s me ready to start.

    once again, thanks all and i hope i come back more often!

    Miguel. :)
  • HereticHeretic In the Pond✭✭✭
    Posts: 230
    Greetings Noodlenot, and welcome.

    Your link to your local luthier certainly is impressive, I must say. You may well have found a treasure trove in your back garden.
    Does anyone have experience with playing these guitars?
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Hi Miguel,
    Congrats on the guitar!
    I suggest adding Denis Chang's "The art of accompaniment" DVD to your list, it's a great way to start!
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