June 29, 2016 at 3:05 am #5079
I wanted to kick off this topic by sharing with you the guitar I’ve been using for the past few years.
I’m playing an oval hole 2014 Antoine Prabel guitar, that I picked up from Antoine’s workshop near Lyon in France a few years back.
I met Antoine at the 2014 Django Reinhardt Festival in Samois, France. I played a number of his guitars at the festival, and was really impressed. After the festival we exchanged a few emails and Antoine ended up building me a very unique instrument!
The guitar features the classic maple back, neck and sides, and a spruce top, but has a unique stain added to the wood, giving it a dark rich appearance. The finish is french polish, and I’ve recently received the wax from Antoine to maintain the instrument.
The instrument has a slim, modern neck, and the craftsmanship in general is excellent.
The guitar was a very warm, modern, open sound, which I really love. After hearing that I live in Tasmania, Australia, Antoine named the model the ‘Tasmanian Tiger,’ due to the unique stripes on in the wood on the guitar’s back!
Check out two pictures of the guitar in the link below. The first was taken during the recording session for my debut album of original compositions, and the second was taken in
You can also see some pics of the unique model on Antoine’s site, including it’s tiger stripes. Here’s the link:
I hope you’ve found the above interesting.
If you’re up for it, please share what instrument you’re enjoying playing at the moment.
All the best
P.S. The forum does no include a feature to upload images, as this can slow down the site. If you’d like to post an image, it’s best to use a free, dedicated image server such as imgur.com , and then share your link on here 😉
June 30, 2016 at 8:55 pm #5096
- This topic was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by Harry Edwards.
Figure I might be the first to reply, what the heck.
I had my guitar built by the amazing Jeongwoo Cho at JWC Guitars in 2015 in merry ol’England (pre-Brexit). EU spruce top, quilted maple back and sides, walnut neck with ebony fretboard, internal varnish ala Selmer, thin nitro matt finish on the outside. I also had Jeongwoo install the fret markers in what I think is a pretty cool pattern – a bit of bling.
This is an extremely easy guitar to play, really large sound, and not as “dry” as some manouche guitars are. Stays in tune too! Suffice to say, I love it and its loud enough so I can hear myself even in large jam sessions. After 40+ years of playing and owning guitars, I have to say this is my favorite, ever. Scary to order an instrment from a company on another continent, without playing it first – but it worked out great in my case.
Take a look:
July 5, 2016 at 11:58 pm #5099
- This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by woodamand.
Thanks for sharing some photos of your gypsy jazz guitar, and the story behind it. Sounds like its quite an instrument, I haven’t played a JWC myself so its interesting to hear your experience. That’s great that the guitar has become your favourite, nothing like a well made hand-crafted instrument eh.
I know what you mean about having a guitar that cuts through in jam sessions. I always feel like its part guitar, part technique that allows one to cut through, but having a well made (and light!) instrument that projects well is a big help.
Thanks again for sharing, hopefully we have a few other people chime in. It would be nice to get some good chats going here in the forum, so please feel free to create any other topics in the various other forum sections.
All the best
HarryApril 20, 2017 at 3:43 pm #5538
Greetings, I was looking at ebay and came across this guitar which is described as an Asian made Selmer prototype. The seller said he thought the production model was Stagg JZ-120. Has anyone played one? OK for a starter GJ guitar? I was leaning towards a Cigano GJ-10 for my first GJ guitar…
Thanks for any insight
JeffApril 24, 2017 at 6:52 am #5540
Thanks for your post. I’m not familiar with Stagg instruments myself. However I have played Cigano’s, and Gitane’s, and they are both good first gypsy jazz instruments. Another company worth looking at is Altamira.
Hopefully some others chime in who may have experience with Stagg.
All the best
HarryApril 24, 2017 at 6:37 pm #5541
Thanks Harry, pretty good deal on it with a hard shell case but if it doesn’t sound good…June 7, 2017 at 7:23 pm #5610
Harry, I’d like your opinion on something. I can get a Cigano GJ-10 or a Gitane DG-255 at pretty much the same price. I know the Gitane is a fancier guitar etc, but a lot of people say the GJ-10 has a better gypsy sound. Brighter as opposed to darker…anything you could offer would be appreciated.
JeffJune 8, 2017 at 12:51 am #5612
Thanks for your message. Yes, in my experience the Cigano’s can tend to have quite an authentic gypsy jazz sound. I have a friend who had the GJ-10 for several years and it was quite a nice guitar which held up well against more expensive instruments.
If you have an opportunity to play the instruments before choosing then that is of course best, as there are always ‘better’ or ‘worse’ iterations of a model when it comes to factory made instruments. My choice given your budget would be the Cigano however.
All the best and enjoy your new guitar, whatever you choose!
HarrySeptember 22, 2017 at 3:16 pm #5695
Hi Harry, when players play GJ on an archtop, do they still use a thicker pick? Do they still use regular jazz strings? When you play other styles of music have you found the gypsy playing techniques carrying over?
JeffSeptember 24, 2017 at 3:56 am #5697
Thanks for your post.
In my experience, this really depends on the player.
Many contemporary gypsy jazz players (ie Adrien Moignard, Sebastien Ginuiax, Gonzalo Bergara etc) opt for a pick of 1.5-2mm for both acoustic and electric playing. Picks of these thicknesses tend to be quite versatile. Having said that, I know players who prefer to stick with thicker picks (3mm+) regardless of instrument type.
It really depends on the individual players tone and technique preference. Personally I find a pick of 1.5-2mm perfect for both acoustic and archtop guitars (with the caveat that it is best to use the side of the pick rather than the pointy end, for a fuller and more rounded sound).
String wise, I’m not aware of any special strings being used by gypsy jazz players when using archtops, so yes regular jazz strings are quite common. The carry-over of gypsy jazz techniques such as rest-stroke picking, and vocabulary such as typical chords and arpeggios, also work great in this context.
In my own playing, I tend to use rest-stroke picking as my default picking technique regardless of style, but I will adjust my attack if it is stylistically appropriate. Sometimes I may break the rule of always using a down-stroke when changing strings if this does not suit the musical phrase I’m working on.
All the best,
HarryOctober 2, 2017 at 4:29 pm #5744
Harry, I have been using the 2mm Dunlop pick since I started learning GJ. It was a big change from 45 years of using medium picks. The other day I bought a 3.5mm Wegen pick and man, I cannot believe the difference. Weird, but that pick just feels great. Additionally, I finally picked up the GJ-10 from Djangobooks. Let me tell you, I took that thing out of the box and tuned it up, broke in the new strings and man that guitar sounds great. Stays in tune great too. It’s the first time I’ve even played a gypsy guitar, and man I haven’t put it down since.
So, onward and upward!October 2, 2017 at 10:01 pm #5745
Thanks for your reply. Great news that you are happy with your new guitar!
Yes the Wegen picks are a good sure route to a nice thick sound, glad to hear you are enjoying those also. It’s worth noting that when using the 2mm Dunlop pick, most gypsy jazz guitarists opt for using the rounded side of the pick, to allow for more contact with the string and so more shaping of the notes being played.
Glad to hear you’re finding a sound that you enjoy on your new guitar and with the Wegen. All the best with your continued study of the genre!
HarryMarch 27, 2018 at 10:49 pm #5909
since we’re talking Guitars here I hope not to stray off topic. It’s slowly getting to be spring where I live and during the last stages of winter I wounded my left indexfinger on the first fret of my Cach. Looking up close it was protruding a bit. Cursing the luthier for his poor craftsmanship for starters I soon found out that our home’s wood flooring showed more cracks than usual. So I immediately withdrew the curses for I’m actually very happy with that guitar as I had it approved and broken in by Fapy, but that’s another story. The cause it seemed was not my luthier and not our flooring company, but moisture or the sheer lack of it. Since you guys have pretty hot moments and also more cold ones my question is how do you cope? I’ve gotten this huge moisturiser, humidifier, that scoops up water and blows it in tiny particles all over the place, but it hums and my wife is opposed to humming noises.
On a humidity gauge used right after my little mishap the needle showed 35%. Now after using the humidifier a few days the flooring is neat and the seams have closed again, the needle shows 50%. My guitas underwent tuning changes of about a whole note. At 35% the high E was a D and now at 50% it’s an F. So I keep retuning all sic axes.
cheers, “keep swinging”
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