I have a Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin archtop (with P-90). I have been interested for a while now in learning to play some rudimentary Gypsy Jazz. I don't foresee a guitar purchase in my near future so I will be using what I have.
I have heard that archtops can be good for this and you don't HAVE to a maccaferri-style guitar. Would this be correct?
Also, could I buy, say, some D'Addario Gypsy Jazz strings to put on my Godin? I assume it would be fine but I'd like to be sure before I bother.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
I had a Godin 5th Ave acoustic for a few years ago and found I got the best sound with John Pearse acoustic strings 0.12 gauge- but that was my taste. I was also doing more swing jazz at the time but comping GJ style didn't sound terrible.
I guess for now I'll just stay away from GJ strings and maybe get some thick flats.
Won't matter for a while anyway. It's gonna be a looooong time before I can make anything but noise on this thing.
Argentines or any other similar string may indeed not have enough tension to drive an archtop well, and they probably won't work well with the pickup, either. Your best bet is to stick with whatever strings you are most comfortable with.
If you ever get into a jam with good players using actual gypsy guitars, you may find it hard to hold your own acoustically, but an archtop is perfectly OK for learning on. The key is to develop proper technique regardless of the guitar. Michael Horowitz's Gypsy Picking and Gypsy Rhythm are the bibles as far as books go, and the Denis Chang instructional DVDs are top notch if you prefer the video approach. If you really get into gypsy jazz seriously, you will probably reach the point that you want to get a more authentic sound. Until then, have a blast with your archtop.
"It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
-- Orson Welles
1. Fit the bridge to the top.. they do not fit.. there are gaps. Slip a sheet of paper under the wings and you'll see.
2. OR fit a Stewart Mac Donald rosewood archtop bridge , the factory plastic (tusq) bridge dosen;t do this guitar any favors.. fit the new brdige.
2. Use at least 12's and bronze. 13's are even better. Flats do not sound good on this guitar for a 'Gypsy" sound.
I sold mine and regret it.. fine guitar. Fun and light, plays well, good tone.
I tried the D'Add GJ strings on it and it sounded OK, but the guitar sounded so much better with flat-wounds on it that I found my playing was much better when the guitar sounded better.
You really have to work with a few until you get what is comfortable for your ears and for what you're playing. I have a lot of friends who play arch tops for different venues and music and most all of them like and use the same d'addarios I am referring to. I have another GREAT player that uses Elixir Polywebs 12-53. He's a professional musician/teacher for years.
Hope this helps, everyone has a different experience with this. Good luck!