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  • DeuxDoigts_Tonnerre 11:50AM

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Action. What's a GJ guitar with Easy Action?

Hi Everybody.
This year I've started learning Gypsy Jazz. I just returned from Djangofest Northwest 2011, and it looks like I should loose the Guild I've been playing for thirty years and switch to the obligatory Selmer-Maccaferri style guitar if I'm to join the crowd. Here are my criteria.
1) I'm only interested in rhythm right now. I don't know if this is all that important, but I suppose all other things being equal, a D Hole would be the the more appropriate variety, from what I understand.
2) I'm able to pay up to $2,200.
3) I have some nerve issues on the tips of a couple of my left-hand fingers as the result of playing with poor technique on a guitar with bad action a long time ago. I have no problem if play with good technique on a guitar with easy action. But if the strings are heavy and high off the fingerboard, well, that is something I need to avoid. This is my most important criterion.
There is no guitar store in L.A. that carries much of a selection of GJ guitars. (I know: I should have tried a bunch at Djangofest. But I didn't, and I can't wait till another comes around, so...) All I can do is pre-pay and order one, try it out and return it within the allotted time if I don't like it. I can only do that so many times, so I need to have a few very likely candidates before I start.


  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 440

    I suggest a used Shelly Park D hole (if you can get one that cheap). They are easy to play. The wide neck of the French makers might cause you some hand problems. A Gitane d-500 can be set up with low action and might work for you as an entry point.

    Good luck.

    My experience with these guitars and this style is that too low action makes good la pompe impossible. YMMV


    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,932
    Hi Terry,

    In that price range your best bet would be the Dupont Nomade: ... 011-d.html

    Even though this is Dupont's entry level model, it still has the precision geometry of his flagship guitars. So you can set it up with really low action and it still sounds great with little buzzing. Everything else in this price range is Asian made so this a "miracle guitar" of sorts. You get something handmade in France by the best guy in the business at the cost of a Chinese made instrument, amazing.

    If you like the bigger bodied Favino sound then this a great deal: ... -2008.html

    Widely regarded as the best guitar Dell Arte ever made....I always had a special attachment to the D vole version of the Hommage. Really rich and has that classic Favino bark.


  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 440

    Michael's suggestion of the Dupont Nomade would be a superb choice.
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • Posts: 13
    Yeah, the DM seems to be all the rage. I was seriously considering it until I heard is has a long kneck length scale. And I think shorter would be better for me. Shorter scale, looser strings; looser strings, easier to press down, right. Michael, I see you told someone a 12-fret DM D Hole can be obtained. Does that mean a shorter scale is obtainable?
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,932
    The Nomade is only made in the 670mm, 14 fret long scale configuration. It is not possible to order a 12 fret, short scale version.

    Sounds like you want this: ... -mc30.html

    or perhaps this: ... e-260.html

    However, I wouldn't say that long scale guitars are necessarily harder to play. String gauge, action, and overall setup play a bigger part in the equation. I've had many customers insist they couldn't play 670mm guitar until they tried it and then found it was just as easy, if not easier than the shorter scale they were used to. It's worth trying the longer scales as they really aren't as big of a deal as you might think. Often the short scale guitars need to be setup with higher action so the advantage of the shorter scale is nullified.
  • StevearenoSteveareno ✭✭✭
    Posts: 349
    I found the action and playability of wide neck GJ guitars with Argies easy, compared to traditional flatops with bronze strings. I like the US made Dell Arte's. If you're in LA, for a hands-on test...last time I was in Westwood Music, they had a Michael Dunn and a Gitane. McCabes usually have a few GJ guitars in stock too. Michael's selection and prices here at Django Books is pretty amazing.
    Swang on,
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Djangobooks prices are really hard to beat... Duponts are amazing and that short scale Pattenote seems like a very cool guitar
    But if you're in LA you might want to contact **** "Dell Arte guitars" He lives in San Diego and at the very least you might be able to try a few of the guitars he has on stock. I don't have his contact and his website is down at the moment but perhaps someone else from the forum could give you his phone/email
  • StevearenoSteveareno ✭✭✭
    Posts: 349
    There's a couple of Dell Arte's currently on Craig's List LA in his price range. One's a Jimmy Rosenberg model.
    Swang on,
  • Posts: 13
    Thanks for pointing that out, Steve. I did go and check out the Jimmy Rosenberg. I loved it. But when I called the guy back -- more than once -- to see if I could have it looked at by a luthier, he would not return my call. Suspicious, do you think?
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Terry, sent you a PM.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
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