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sbdawsey NunoThyrs

maccaferris on a budget

hi i'm new to this forum. I've always loved the maccaferri sound since hearing my guitar teacher, a great lover of django let me play his. I play all kinds of jazz including gypsy jazz of course! as well as alternative rock styles and I'm without an acoustic at the moment.

So i thought i would try and find a decent guitar for under £300 that's not tinny and thin like other types of acoustics. I've had a quick look at some brands, and i'm not counting the ones with a hardtail bridge for a start. a pickup would be useful but that can come later as i'm quite tight on money.

so my choices were:


but there may be more. I think i'll go for the grand bouche d-hole design. I was recommended the Gitane models but they are out my price range.

If someone could share experiences with these i'd be really grateful. there's not much info around, but a good indicator of quality as well as types of wood and other specs would be useful. I think i'll need to travel to try one out...


  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    If you're looking for a real Maccaferri-style guitar, 12 frets to the body and a d-hole, the ONLY one I would recommend would be the Saga Cigano GJ-15, which Michael sells for just $330 US.

    I'm not at all fond of the oval hole Cigano's I've heard, but they did a great job with the d-hole. It sounds better than the Gitane D-500 for less money, and the one I tried in person played beautifully and held it's own against some much more expensive guitars.

    I's going to push you right to the edge of your budget, or even a bit beyond, but my advice would be to do what it takes to get one. It will do until (and if) you ever want to buy a hand-made instrument.

    I don't know if anyone has a sound file of one of these (You Tube?), but for the money you want to spend, they can't be beat.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    What Michael and Frater said is exactly what I would say, but unlike Frater, I can't stop from adding something.
    I have lots of Selmacs at a variety of prices. The Ciganos are weirdly good, especially the short scale ones. The others you mentioned do not come close. I don't know the pricing of the ones you mentioned but its really hard imagine they are less than $300 including shipping. Only Cigano comes close to what your after in my experience. I've played most of the bottom price guitars. I have bought three Saga 500's and three Ciganos short scale. One of the Ciganos doesn't quite measure up to the other two, but the other two are amazing and not just a bottom tier kind of amazing, they stand out in their own way such that I wind up comparing them to guitars that cost exponentially more and can't finally make up my mind.
    If your budget is $300 ok, but $330 will get you a Cigano and then there's probably the cost of shipping with all of them, but we're still only 30% or so beyond your budget.
    The choices you are likely to have locally are unlikely to be much if your like me, and most of the few choices I have in a mid sized American City are way our of your budget if they exist at all. My point is, that you may have to pay shipping to get a decent guitar anyway. I don't need to plug this site because you can't buy a less expensive Cigano anyway and shipping is shipping - unless your pretty lucky or live in the right city, you'll have to order an axe. If your like me, you'll find your best deal on the best guitar here.
    I've shopped Ebay for a decade and once in a great while there's a steal on something, but I look pretty often and have done so over a long period of time and haven't seen folks "giving" away the better low end guitars like the D-500 and Ciganos. There isn't that much reason to discount a already inexpensive guitar if your an occasional seller or a pro because your paying Ebay the fees to sell something anyway.
    If you find Ciganos for less than at this site, please let me know! I will occasionally buy one for a relative or student.

    This is just my experience and my sense of things. I've been wrong twice before and this could be the third time!

    Good luck with it, and I think your hitting on the best style of guitars around regardless of what choices you make.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • jorrijorri ✭✭
    Posts: 10
    wow thanks for the info. it seems that there is a clear winner here.

    I did forget to make it clear that i'm in the UK, so the £300 is probably a bit short of $450.
    The Saga is about £220 which is what i intended to pay really, its reduced on this site though and i can only find the original price of £350 here in the UK. I often get drawn in by how cheap some guitars are in the US and back away fast when i see that shipping can be up to £100-- although i don't know what this site charges.

    I'll have to wait for one to arrive on eBay, but I'm quite excited hearing that i might own one as good, or better than the gitane model. Was wondering if i'd have to settle disappointing knock off!
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    I did catch the pound sign and knew where you were, but the exchange rate keeps dropping so I wasn't clear about your budget in $.
    I was trying to indicate that you are pretty unlikely to find a Cigano near this site's price on Ebay even if you look for years as I have. There's always maybe and I'm not always sure if I even see all or most of the the GJ guitars in Britain when I look on Ebay, but I'm always seeing some. The Ciganos I see on Ebay are almost always new and over $400 on Ebay, looking from this side of the pond.

    I've often wondered where the sellers on Ebay are getting their guitars and if they, at least, are aware that Michael (this sites honcho) is selling them for $100 less.
    As is often said: I'm not schilling for Michael. Get the best deal you can! I bet it'll take $100 to ship from this site to Britain, but that's a guess and its always going up.

    I know what it means to have a budget, sorry if I wasn't doing the currency thing sensitively.
    Wishing you good hunting!
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 887
    Hi there

    you already know this from the other posts but definitely avoid the SX ( which is also for sale in the UK under the names Stagg and Skylark ), the Ozark is to be avoided and the Cordoba D Hole is - I believe - a rebadged Aria D Hole, the oddly shaped D Hole is identical on both guitars.

    I owned a Cigano Oval hole and it was a great guitar and one of the guys in the Hot Club of Glasgow has a Cigano D Hole which is also great.

    I have an Aria D Hole which I bought as a factory second from Ebay and I use this to experiment with pickups and stuff. It's a loud little guitar but doesnt have a great tone.

    One last thing about importing to remember is that you may pay VAT on the the total cost of the import - including the freight so bear that in mind. You should check Michaels prices for the guitar and shipping, ensuring that local (US) taxes are deducted and then look at VAT on top it could still be cheaper.

    always learning
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 887
    Oh.....stay from the RIchwood......look good but have a horrible sound
    always learning
  • MusetteMusette New
    Posts: 96
    Talking about Ciganos, i've been wondering, what do you guys think it would be if i buy a Cigano D hole for me being left handed and reversing the strings.
    I think it wouldn't affect too much the sound .would it?
    I just want a "cheap" short scale guitar to play with, like an extra guitar to play around.
    What do you think, does reversing the strings kills the tone or what?

  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I shouldn't affect the tone, but you'd need to change the nut. I also think you'd need to get a seperate bridge made or the compensation built into the bridge would be reversed and might cause intonation problems. I'd e-mail Michael and ask if a left-handed Cigano can be ordered. I would think that Saga would have these available at least to order, but who knows for sure?
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • fraterfrater Prodigy
    Posts: 763
    I don't think Saga has ever produced a left handed model: you should consider buying an Aria if you want a cheap left handed manouche guitar.
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