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  1. #1

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    Hey so I play a lot of early style jazz. In general I play either a Loar lh600 or an Altamira D hole style Sel-Mac clone, and while I love both guitars when someone expresses it’s usually for the Sel-Mac.

    So I want to invest in something a little bit better - the Altimira is a decent instrument but it’s not the best made or the most subtle sounding.

    The problem what I really want is a nice carved archtop with a strong acoustic voice that will also produce a smooth amplified jazz tone and I am willing to wait to get one. Problem is I can still imagine spending thousands on the guitar of my dreams and still being asked to play the bloody Altamira on gigs so what’s the point? If I have a top end guitar I don’t want to be playing a student model on most of my gigs lol. Many things are not within my control (price of being a working player.)

    So the alternative is to get a good Sel-Mac and play the crap out of that. I like playing these guitars and they do sound great.

    Only problem is - despite everyone thinking I play gypsy jazz, I know relatively little about contemporary Manouche jazz stylistically and don’t listen to much of it. It doesn’t really interest me as a player either - the hardcore two guitars and a fiddle thing (I’m also the sole guitarist on most of my gigs.)

    I’m much more interested in Django, Charlie Christian, Dick McDonough, Teddy Bunn and the other great players of the 30s and 40s etc, as well as all the great bop and post bop players.

    So as everyone now associates Sel-Mac guitars with that style I feel I’d be living a lie!

    What to do? Am I being silly?

    I notice a lot of ‘crossover’ players like Frank Vignola and John Etheridge have non standard looking or hybrid gypsy jazz guitars maybe for this sort of reason. I’m wondering a ‘Chorus’ style F hole model might be far away enough from the GJ thing visually while still having the tonal characteristics?
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 11-13-2021 at 12:31 PM.

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Get a good Dupont. They are not as thin or harsh as the Altamira and can be used for other styles of jazz (especially with a magnetic pickup) than orthodox Gypsy jazz. I suggest a 50 series or below (the lower the number, the better grade of guitar).

  4. #3

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  5. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Get a good Dupont. They are not as thin or harsh as the Altamira and can be used for other styles of jazz (especially with a magnetic pickup) than orthodox Gypsy jazz. I suggest a 50 series or below (the lower the number, the better grade of guitar).
    I have a weird feeling if I get one of those people might still prefer the thin and harsh sound lol. I could always throw the Altamira in the canal I guess.

    (Or sell it.)

    Also the look of it like hanging a big sign around your neck saying ‘my idea of fun is sitting in a circle taking turns to play too many notes on Sweet Georgia Brown’ it isn’t quite my thing. (I say it with love.)

    But they are nice Duponts.

  6. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I have a weird feeling if I get one of those people might still prefer the thin and harsh sound lol. I could always throw it in the canal I guess.

    Also the look of it like hanging a big sign around your neck saying ‘my idea of fun is sitting in a circle taking turns to play too many notes on Sweet Georgia Brown’ isn’t quite my thing. (I say it with love.)
    Most people in the audience do not care what guitar you play, so long as the music is good (I have done many jazz gigs with a Les Paul or Strat, even Gypsy jazz gigs...and no one complained and many complements were received). Guitar players, however are a different story.

    Nobody prefers the thin and harsh sound except for a handful of guitar players who mostly have dubious skill sets on the guitar themselves. Who cares what they think?

    Get the right tool for the job. A good Selmac is the perfect tool for un-amplified jazz guitar.

  7. #6

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    You need a Gypsy Jazz Telecaster! There must be such a thing.

  8. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob MacKillop
    You need a Gypsy Jazz Telecaster! There must be such a thing.
    This reminds me of that:

    Multiac Gypsy Jazz Natural HG | Godin Guitars

  9. #8

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    [QUOTE=Stringswinger;1157860]Most people in the audience do not care what guitar you play, so long as the music is good (I have done many jazz gigs with a Les Paul or Strat, even Gypsy jazz gigs...and no one complained and many complements were received). Guitar players, however are a different story.]

    Lucky ole you. This has not been my experience from non-guitar playing band mates. Often it seems I have the last say in what guitar I want to play. I do sometimes play an ES175 esp for band gigs, but the band leader has a preference for the Altamira and that’s fair enough.

    OTOH having a Django sounding guitar means I have more freedom to play in my own style, weirdly. The guitar does a lot of the heavy lifting for the genre.

    (I do have to take the opinions of the people who book me for gigs into account though, at least to some extent.)

    I’m half jokingly saying that knowing my luck if I got a nice Dupont he’d still prefer the cheap guitar haha, and I know for sure he’d pick the Altamira over a high end archtop. It probably wouldn’t be the case because I think the new instrument would have the good aspects of that guitar with a more nuanced and developed voice, but I’m not ruling it out lol

    I could ‘sell it to finance the new purchase’ I guess?;-)

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I have to say every recording I’ve heard of of this thing sounds rotten, except for Angelo Debarre (who has the cheat codes presumably). Even Dennis who helped developed it seems extremely ambivalent to the final result. Which is a shame!

  11. #10

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    You need to get a new Fender Acoustisonic Jazzmaster. Everyone will hate you which will be fair to all, plus you can sneak in some surf music or grunge if you get bored.

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Yes this is the sort of thing I have in mind.

    Castellucia also make a couple of F hole models I notice. Do you have any experience with those guitars?

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Also, would you say there’s much tonal difference between the F and oval hole guitars?

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavalier
    You need to get a new Fender Acoustisonic Jazzmaster. Everyone will hate you which will be fair to all, plus you can sneak in some surf music or grunge if you get bored.
    I already do this on a Selmac

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    would you say there’s much tonal difference between the F and oval hole guitars?
    I have played a few of the F hole Gypsy guitars and think they sound a lot like an oval hole, certainly nothing like an American archtop. The bandleaders who want a "Gypsy jazz guitar" may not be satisfied with the F hole Gypsy jazz guitar if that is your concern. If they don't see a D hole or oval hole, they may think you have failed to meet their expectations.

    My choice, if I were in your situation would be a Dupont MD-50. You will have the right look and fine tone to match. Picked by the bridge, you will have the Django sound in spades. Picked by the soundhole, a much mellower acoustic jazz sound. Add a magnetic pickup (like a Krivo) and you will have a sound that is pretty close to a carved archtop with a floater.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I have played a few of the F hole Gypsy guitars and think they sound a lot like an oval hole, certainly nothing like an American archtop. The bandleaders who want a "Gypsy jazz guitar" may not be satisfied with the F hole Gypsy jazz guitar if that is your concern. If they don't see a D hole or oval hole, they may think you have failed to meet their expectations.

    My choice, if I were in your situation would be a Dupont MD-50. You will have the right look and fine tone to match. Picked by the bridge, you will have the Django sound in spades. Picked by the soundhole, a much mellower acoustic jazz sound. Add a magnetic pickup (like a Krivo) and you will have a sound that is pretty close to a carved archtop with a floater.
    I don’t want the right look haha. I want a different look with the right sound - which sounds like the sort of thing that I’m hoping the Chorus style models will provide. Cool.

    The f hole thing I don’t think would be a problem. If it is a problem for someone, probs not interested in playing with them tbh. I’ve done my time doing those sorts of gigs.

    Sounds like that could be a good option then!

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I don’t want the right look haha. I want a different look with the right sound. The f hole thing I don’t think would be a problem. If it is a problem for someone, probs not interested in playing with them tbh.

    Sounds like that could be a good option then!
    Sounds like the Dupont DM-50 would hit it out of the ballpark for you. Combined with your 175, you would have all of your jazz bases covered. (I sure have a lot of American baseball verbage in this post, huh?)

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Sounds like the Dupont DM-50 would hit it out of the ballpark for you. Combined with your 175, you would have all of your jazz bases covered.
    I’m thinking so….

    I’ve also noticed a maker in Paris, Castellucia does a couple of f hole models. Do you have any experience of how these stack up against the Duponts?

  19. #18

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    If you get calls to play gypsy music, it does make sense to have a guitar associated with the style. It's the same thing with "jazz" guitars when playing jazz. You'd want that extra something of authenticity, both in sound and in looks. Or if you don't, some of the other musicians or people in the audience might, and it could cost you gigs!

    The archtop sound is accepted in the idiom, but it's different from the acoustics they use. And the acoustics DO sound a lot different..

    I played quite a bit of Gypsy jazz for a few years with a trio, at some point I traded the guitar afterwards. For me the two styles they have (big or small soundhole) are a matter of taste, and I've seen people prefer the rhythm model for lead and vice versa.

    Biggest thing for my hands was the extra long scale, I never found it comfortable (although I can see its sonic use for the style). If I ever commissioned a guitar in the style I'd get a shorter scale one.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I’m thinking so….

    I’ve also noticed a maker in Paris, Castellucia does a couple of f hole models. Do you have any experience of how these stack up against the Duponts?
    While I have never played a Castellucia F-hole, I have played their oval hole model and was not nearly as impressed as I was/am with Dupont's similar offering. Maurice Dupont apprenticed with Favino who apprenticed with Busato. There is some secret sauce in that lineage.

    Try both and see what you think and report back. Inquiring minds want to know.

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    While I have never played a Castellucia F-hole, I have played their oval hole model and was not nearly as impressed as I was/am with Dupont's similar offering. Maurice Dupont apprenticed with Favino who apprenticed with Busato. There is some secret sauce in that lineage.

    Try both and see what you think and report back. Inquiring minds want to know.
    That would be ideal though I don’t know if it would be easy to get hold of either model here to try. It may end up being a sight unseen sort of deal. My impression is that the Duponts are consistently good.

  22. #21

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    I have also had the opportunity to try a couple of the F-hole GJG's and have to agree with Stringswinger-to me they sound very much like the oval hole GJG's.

    I paired my guitar inventory down years ago to 4 guitars. I did upgrade from a Djangology D-hole (I believe they are made in the same shop as the Altimira). I auditioned as many GJG's as possible and found the Dupont to work best for me. I play American Songbook material and some of the Gypsy rep, however I am certainly no stellar Gypsy jazz player.

    Have you considered a late 30's-early 50's Epiphone, like a Triumph, Broadway, Deluxe? In my experience they usually have a little more bark than the Gibson counterparts, which to my ears have a somewhat more refined sound. My 53 Triumph Regent is a powerhouse with no pickup. I usually just play it in front of a mic on gigs.

    Selmer-Maccaferri Angst-epiatsprings-1-jpg

  23. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alter
    If you get calls to play gypsy music, it does make sense to have a guitar associated with the style. It's the same thing with "jazz" guitars when playing jazz. You'd want that extra something of authenticity, both in sound and in looks. Or if you don't, some of the other musicians or people in the audience might, and it could cost you gigs!
    Well as I say I’ve been playing a D hole Macaferri copy for around a decade.I also like playing acoustic guitar and SelMacs are awesome acoustic guitars. I don’t get many calls from GJ purists by and large and that’s fine.

    I mean obivously I’ll play the gig; play rhythm and so on on those gigs, play the rep and feel, but I’m not trying to sound like an authentic Manouche guitar player; there’s plenty of those about who are crazy about Bireli etc and that’s their passion, good for them, a lot of them are badass at it. Not to mention the actual Manouche players themselves of course…

    I’m more often booked to play 1930s music with horns etc, or more modern players who like to dabble in the style. The ‘Hot Club’ band I play with is more about writing and arranging and is not a traditional GJ line up.

    I think what you are saying about ‘authenticity’ is the problem - there is an assumption that what a player wants to be is ‘authentic’ to this style. There’s all sorts of reasons for this; some quite complicated and loaded. But it’s a fact of life. As soon as you pick up a SelMac guitar you are dealing with these cultural aspects.

    I don’t want to be dealing with that stuff and just play the stuff I play, let the chips fall as they may. But the thing is SelMacs do sound really really good. Even my Altamira!

    So the slightly silly solution may be to have a different shaped hole. Seriously lol.
    Last edited by Christian Miller; 11-13-2021 at 02:43 PM.

  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by SierraTango
    I have also had the opportunity to try a couple of the F-hole GJG's and have to agree with Stringswinger-to me they sound very much like the oval hole GJG's.

    I paired my guitar inventory down years ago to 4 guitars. I did upgrade from a Djangology D-hole (I believe they are made in the same shop as the Altimira). I auditioned as many GJG's as possible and found the Dupont to work best for me. I play American Songbook material and some of the Gypsy rep, however I am certainly no stellar Gypsy jazz player.

    Have you considered a late 30's-early 50's Epiphone, like a Triumph, Broadway, Deluxe? In my experience they usually have a little more bark than the Gibson counterparts, which to my ears have a somewhat more refined sound. My 53 Triumph Regent is a powerhouse with no pickup. I usually just play it in front of a mic on gigs.

    Selmer-Maccaferri Angst-epiatsprings-1-jpg
    good golly that’s a lovely guitar.

    I have considered one. While I’d love one of those I suspect I wouldnt play it out that much (unless I go full into the old school swing acoustic archtop thing; I know some guys who do that), could always get a dearmond.

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christian Miller
    I have to say every recording I’ve heard of of this thing sounds rotten, except for Angelo Debarre (who has the cheat codes presumably). Even Dennis who helped developed it seems extremely ambivalent to the final result. Which is a shame!
    I was excited when the Godin Multiac Gypsy Jazz model was announced. When my local music store got one in stock, I rushed out to try it expecting it to be the answer to the challenges of amplifying a traditional Gypsy Jazz guitar. Although the Godin would be a very practical guitar for live performance, I didn’t feel that it sounded exactly like a Gypsy Jazz guitar. It had lots of flexibility with the various pickup choices, but I almost thought it sounded more like an amplified flat-top than a Selmer-type of guitar. At the end of the day, I decided to pass on it and just stick with my trusty Dupont MD-50 for the rare occasion that I get called to play that style of music. As SS said, a Dupont is an amazing guitar that really sounds just right. My only complaint, is that this type of guitar can be challenging to amplify effectively.
    Keith
    Last edited by floatingpickup; 11-13-2021 at 03:10 PM.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lobomov
    Just out of curiosity .. Where do you buy a Dupont in Europe?


    Google didn't really give any results
    Retailers instruments Maurice Dupont : Guitars acoustic, guitars electric, guitar classical, bass, etc.