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Thread: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

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    Default Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    All...I did due diligence as best I could to see if there was a thread on this subject but couldnít find anything. If I missed it please forgive me.

    Iím interested in picking up a gypsy jazz tenor guitar but am unable to shell out the $5000+ required to get a respected luthier to build me one.

    It seems like this is something Saga Instruments would have picked up but apparently not. Iím wondering if anyone has any info on a source that I may have missed. There is an impressive list of luthiers to build one but - as I said - theyíre pretty pricey.

    Thanks, in advance, for whatever help you can give me.

    Charles

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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point


  3. #3
    Registered User CWRoyds's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    That is a tough one, as good sounding Django/Gypsy style instruments tend to be quite expensive.
    I have searched for an affordable Gypsy Jazz six string guitar, but I have found they are always lacking in tone.
    The good ones are just very expensive.

    As for a tenor, I would just go find an affordable tenor that sounds good to you and go with that.
    I have played several Blueridge tenors that were surprisingly good.
    They played nicely and sounded great.
    Just a thought.
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    I know Paul Lestock (https://www.facebook.com/ArrowGuitars/) can do it...

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    Registered User fox's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    You could look at converting a six string or getting someone to convert it for you.
    New neck, re shaped bracing and perhaps re sanding the top, not cheap but a lot less than 5k .

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    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    I've heard that Blackbird make a composite 6 string that has a good gypsy jazz sound! I think it's their Savoy model. They may well build you one as a tenor, & it could work out both cheaper & superior to a luthier built gypsy Tenor.

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    Registered User bruce.b's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point


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    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

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    Here is a way of getting a tenor from a 6 string on a budget! The string routing over the bridge saddle keeps the intonation correct for the larger steps in the string gauges required for 5ths tuning & also keeps the tension more balanced on the neck. The Webster nut is not necessary but handy if you want to lower the strings onto the 1st fret to shorten the scale without the hassle of a capo (Sometimes I just saw cut the nut grooves).

    If I was considering a Rainbird Savoy I'd be inclined to just order a standard guitar zero fretted at the 1st fret with the saddle set for 5ths tuning. Take off the two lower tuning pegs& leave the bottom string slots blank. It would look unusual but play & sound perfectly well, & I'd have a nice sounding maintenance free gypsy jazz tenor for a couple of thousand less!

  10. #9

    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    for experiment I had taken a triple 000 guitar once and restrung it for fifths tuning. worked out pretty well. My thought was if I liked it to turn one of my guitars with a real narrow neck and then refit a nut to spread the 4 strings evenly. It would then be a wide nut tenor. I think it would have worked well. (Might also have to fill and redrill holes in the bridge too) Anyway, mine worked great for trying it out. To keep the high string from breaking I put together a custom set that tuned it all down a bit lower then put a capo on it at the third fret, I believe, to get into the common range. In the end I didn't make the retro fit on my more expensive narrow nut guitar. Decided to leave well enough alone there..

    btw, that earnest instrument gypsy tenor looks sweet!

    Another option is to consider a regular jazz style tenor guitar, I've seen some gypsy players also use a regular jazz guitar to play gypsy jazz and it comes off pretty well.

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    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

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    Reso guitars also work for some jazz styles. Above is a b-stock I got from Thomann a while ago. It's scaled at 24" which could be a stretch for gypsy music. It's easy work to space the strings over the bridge to get the intonation right. (I use light gauge Irish tenor banjo strings GDAE). This guitar sounds well for practicing but it is totally lacking in a pub session acoustically. A mighty guitar plugged in with both a piezo & humbucker! It could be a poor mans pretend gypsy jazz guitar, maybe?

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    Administrator Mandolin Cafe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Love it. Gypsy jazz tenor guitar... for the one tenth of one percent of us that this appeals to, ME included. This is not affordable by the the OP's definition but check this baby out. Guy I play in a GJ band with sent this over. I told him "don't do that, I'm a weak person."

    Circa 1940's Antone di Mauro tenor.

    http://gypsyguitars.com/inventory/instruments/396

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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    This photo was taken from my copy of "The Story of Selmer Maccaferri Guitars" by Francois Charle. I was one of the first to order a David Hodson "Djangolin" back in the day. And, if he were still around, I'd have him build me a SelMac Tenor similar to this but, sadly, I missed that opportunity.
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    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  15. #13

    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    - - - Updated - - -

    All ... thank you so much for providing helpful information. I hadn’t remembered Earnest Instruments until Bruce.b mentioned them. That is probably the most cost / effective boutique option. I will be in Astoria, Oregon, for the 10th annual tenor guitar gathering. I’m thinking of crossing into Canada and stopping at Shelley Park’s shop in North Vancouver to see her work. The price of admission for an instrument made by Shelley is $5,000 + $500 for the tenor option. Beautiful stuff in the pictures. I’m sure it’s just as nice in the flesh. Unfortunately it appears that if I want a good instrument I may need to pay the price for a good instrument. It’s a cruel world. Thanks, again.

  16. #14

    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    I’m surprised its as high as 0.01%. Thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandolin Cafe View Post
    Love it. Gypsy jazz tenor guitar... for the one tenth of one percent of us that this appeals to, ME included. This is not affordable by the the OP's definition but check this baby out. Guy I play in a GJ band with sent this over. I told him "don't do that, I'm a weak person."

    Circa 1940's Antone di Mauro tenor.

    http://gypsyguitars.com/inventory/instruments/396

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Views: 493
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  17. #15
    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    I am an unabashed non-recovering reso-holic and my next tenor will likely be one of the new Nationals:
    https://www.nationalguitars.com/triolian-tenor
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  18. #16
    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    @ Scotter is that a tri-cone tenor or single? It looks a single it the photo Iím getting up on my phone.

    I have three resoís, the one above, a Harley Benton reso-bass & a Soares. All tuned GDAE. For my next reso Iím thinking Beltona custom built tenor

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Quote Originally Posted by celticsapper View Post
    - - - Updated - - -
    All ... thank you so much for providing helpful information. I hadnít remembered Earnest Instruments until Bruce.b mentioned them. That is probably the most cost / effective boutique option.
    That back pictured on that Earnest page is my Selma Tenor. A great sounding one, too. The other tenor is one Joel made for Eddy Davis.
    Jim

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    Registered User Scotter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Marty View Post
    @ Scotter is that a tri-cone tenor or single? It looks a single it the photo I’m getting up on my phone.

    I have three reso’s, the one above, a Harley Benton reso-bass & a Soares. All tuned GDAE. For my next reso I’m thinking Beltona custom built tenor
    It's a single cone. I don't think NR-P currently makes a tri-cone tenor. I too have three resos currently: 1931 National Duolian Guitar, a 1997 NR-P Style 1 Tricone Guitar and a Beltona Blue Soprano Reso-uke (#22).

    I like the way you think. I love the fiberglass offerings by Beltona and would definitely consider a Tenor version.
    Play that which you feel is groovy, get down with your bad self, and shake your money maker if it makes sense for you to do so.

  21. #19

    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Quote Originally Posted by Scotter View Post
    I am an unabashed non-recovering reso-holic and my next tenor will likely be one of the new Nationals:
    https://www.nationalguitars.com/triolian-tenor
    I am a hairís breadth from ordering a custom National tenor. Shannon has my specs on a post-it note above her desk. Just biding my time to make sure I really know what I want. I really want both the National and the Selmer but ... alas ...

  22. #20

    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Jim, so you have an Earnest Selma tenor? Can you comment for me on the build quality and the sound? Playability? .

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Quote Originally Posted by celticsapper View Post
    Jim, so you have an Earnest Selma tenor? Can you comment for me on the build quality and the sound? Playability? .
    Very high build quality and I love the sound. Joel plays tenor (among other things) so he knows what he likes and does a great job. He also believes that the bodies of tenors should be proportional to the range of the instruments. I think in the past, makers would just put a tenor neck on a guitar body, esp the archtops. I currently have it tuned to octave tuning and may have to work with the gauges to get it optimum but it sounds great with the strings I have on it.

    What type(s) of music will you play on this? Looking at your name I might guess ITM but you could also be a fan of an athletic team from Boston.
    Jim

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    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    I would still like to hear the opinion of an experienced hand at gypsy jazz playing on the sound of the Rainbird ekoa guitar. I heard a clip of a fella playing GJ on it (i think it was the savoy). It got me thinking!

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    Mando-Accumulator Jim Garber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Quote Originally Posted by Harley Marty View Post
    I would still like to hear the opinion of an experienced hand at gypsy jazz playing on the sound of the Rainbird ekoa guitar. I heard a clip of a fella playing GJ on it (i think it was the savoy). It got me thinking!
    I never heard of Rainbird. I think ekoa is proprietary to Blackbird Guitars and they make two guitar models using that material and some ukes. Unless this is a new product by Blackbird. Do you have a link to this guitar? Is it a tenor or a six string?

    Oops! I see you mentioned the Savoy. It is a Blackbird. I think you were confusing the name of the company with Rainsong another CF guitar maker.

    I know this doesnít answer your question but I did play the first ekoa uke and it sounded incredible.
    Jim

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    Harley Marty
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Garber View Post
    I never heard of Rainbird. I think ekoa is proprietary to Blackbird Guitars and they make two guitar models using that material and some ukes. Unless this is a new product by Blackbird. Do you have a link to this guitar? Is it a tenor or a six string?

    Oops! I see you mentioned the Savoy. It is a Blackbird. I think you were confusing the name of the company with Rainsong another CF guitar maker.

    I know this doesnít answer your question but I did play the first ekoa uke and it sounded incredible.

    Yes I seen/heard a clip somewhere of the Savoy playing GJ that grabbed my attention! It may have been their own promotional material. Self praise can be an exaggeration of course so l'm just wondering if they could sound the real deal with the right set-up. They should have the volume of sound, I like the portholes on the side & headstock but they work out pricey when An Post take their import fees. I have a few thousand Ä deposit on an Emerald custom Tenor so we'll see how that sounds with all the different string combinations first!

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    Registered User Charles E.'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Gypsy jazz tenor guitar at modest price point

    Back in 2008 I did a neck conversion on a plastic Maccaferri guitar and it turned pretty well....

    https://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/t...r-a-maccaferri
    Charley

    A bunch of stuff with four strings

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