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Cigano GJ15 vs Harley Benton HBMC-500


My name is Philip, I'm from Poland. Me and my friends are starting a group playing old style/gypsy/jazz swing. We have a double bass player, lead guitar player which has Gallato oval Angelo Debarre, and I'm trying to be a rhythm player. Although I have quite professional regular guitars, the sound of standard dreadnought or jumbo totally don't fit the style in a musical sense.
I have to bought a dhole guitar.
I don't have a lot of money and must say that for me only affordable guitars are Cigano dhole or a Harley Benton (of course only for beginning).

I would be very pleased if you guys could tell me what's the difference between them, how they sound, or mayby someone have both and tell which is better? I read that Harley Bentons may be the copy of Dell Arte Hommage which should be good guitars. The Harley Benton is also cheaper so I'm little confused about this.

Unfortunately my country is a way behind in music business so I have no chance to play any of these guitars. I could go to Thomann but its almost 800 kilometers...
All your opinions would be very valuable and help to bring Django music in Poland, because in 40 mln people country there is no gypsy swing band...

Hope to receive a reply from You.
Cheers from Poland, Philip

Ps. Sorry for my not native English


  • NewcastleBudNewcastleBud Erstwhile✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 122
    Hi Philippe,
    Well, interestingly enough,
    I found a great review on the Hot Club forum by our own Crooked Pinky:
    Perhaps this will help?
    Bonne Chance!
    I think, therefore I am......I think.
  • Posts: 9
    Great track!!!
    Could you tell what guitar is playing melody?

    This page is not working for me :(
  • NewcastleBudNewcastleBud Erstwhile✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 122
    Hi Phillippe,
    I'm not sure why it didn't work.
    But I went ahead and copied it off the page:

    "Hi there, I've had three of them - well two really and a rebadged one.

    The first was a Dell Arte Angelo Debarre model - paid £650 - really nice guitar, needed the action raising but was a nice guitar. Some have described it as a bit overbuilt but it had a great sound. I part exchanged it for a hand built D hole - which is great but I wish I still had the Dell Arte Angelo DeBarre. One of my pals tried out an identical one in a shop but said it didn't have the same sound as mine.

    The otehr Dell Arte I have is the Pigalle, it looks nice, plays well - the neck's a bit on the slim side and again the action needed raising. But on the whole a good guitar and I imagine it'll improve with a few months palying in.

    The other "Dell Arte" I have does not have the Dell Arte name but it is nontheless a D.A. It's guitar sold by Thomann in Germany under their own brand name of Harley Benton but I've compared it side by side with the Dell Arte Hommage and it is identical. When it arrived it was even in a Dell Arte box. It's a Favino sized 14 fret D Hole - cost £279 delivered to my dorr compared with £449 for the Dell Arte badged version. It has a very dry sound and barks if you hit it hard.

    I also owned an oval hole Cigano and to be honest I think this is a great guitar - beating the Pigalle in terms of sound and playability but only just.

    The other guitars I think are really good are the Gitane D500s - 12 fret D holes- we've found them to be really loud and clear in a group setting.

    That's about it, hope it helps"
    The Crookedpinky

    And also:

    "When I went to Samois in 2008 I showed my Cigano Oval hole to John Le Voi and he rated it really highly, in his opinion it was a more accurate representation of a Selmer than some of the higher end Gitanes. This year when I took the Harley Benton I showed it to John Vickers of Manouche guitars, he and quite a few others reckoned it was a fabulous buy for the money.

    I should add that when I got my Harley Benton the bridge end pieces were set at a slightly off angle - but this seems to be an issue with some Dell Artes anyway. If you do a search through dealers selling Dell Artes you will often see Hommages with slightly squinty end pieces. It's not an issue as the mid section of the bridge is unaffected and in any case the end pieces can always be unglued and moved".

    Hope all of this helps.
    (with apologies to Crooked Pinky for borrowing his words without permission......sorry mate) :)
    I think, therefore I am......I think.
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 886
    No problem Newcastlebud

    Just a couple of things to add - I've since come to downgrade my view of the Dell Arte Pigalle, maybe it's just me but after a couple of months I began to think it wasn't that great a guitar. Maybe it was just my particular guitar but it just sounded really thin. It's since been stripped of the thick poly finish, lightly varnished and relic'ed and is now used only as an electricified guitar with the Stimer semi-permanently installed.

    Going back to the Harley Benton V Cigano GJ15 I think all Ciganos are great guitars but so is the Harley Benton. We've compared a couple of Harley Bentons beside the Dell Arte models and they are the same guitar - right down to the tuners, tailpiece - everything. As I said previously when mine arrived it was in a Dell Arte box. I suspect they are bought in bulk from whatever factory makes them by Thomann and are simply rebadged. I took my Harley Benton to Samois in 2009 and everyone who saw and heard it was very impressed - especially when they heard how much it cost.

    A couple of things make it different from the Ciganos - the HB has better hardware, it's a Favino size so bigger than a Selmer and it's got 14 frets to teh body rather than the usual 12.

    I think the Harleys suffer from a lack of reputation because they dont carry the usual Dell Arte, Cigano/Gitane name. Shame, they're great for getting into this stuff and one of the best players in the Glasgow Hot Club regulalry plays his Harley at the club and it sounds great.
    always learning
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,277
    Are the Harley Bentons available in the US?

  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 886
    As far as I know they're only availabe from this outfit

    It's great for us in Europe but maybe not so good for those elsewhere.

    always learning
  • redbluesredblues ✭✭
    Posts: 456
    Great track!!!
    Could you tell what guitar is playing melody?

    The Harley Benton is playing the melody
  • Posts: 1
    As Redblues says, I played the Harley Benton on both rhythm and melody guitars. I've owned the guitar for just over a month now after upgrading from an Aria MM10 (12 fret, D hole) which I've owned since 2009. The Harley Benton does have a much brighter, drier sound than the Aria. I liked the sound of the Dell Arte Hommage and it was after some lurking in this fantastic forum I discovered the Harley Benton HBMC.

    You can compare it against the Aria which I used on this track here: if you like (Apologies for the shameless plug!).

    I'd just like to thanks Redblues for linking my track too! Cheers!
  • redbluesredblues ✭✭
    Posts: 456
    chungulation good to see you here man, had a quick search through the users before i posted but couldn't find anything, look forward to more of your recordings
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