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More Information About Gitane Guitars

Gitane guitars do an excellent job of copying original
Maccaferri/Selmer design features.  The outline, dimensions,
slotted headstock, and moustache bridge all spring from this
design.  Even the three ply back and sides duplicate the
originals.  The solid top on the upper level Gitane guitars is just a
bit arched by gluing to radiused braces, prestressing it and giving
that nice pop when a pick crosses the string.  Another approach
to getting a nice punch is to carve an arch in the top, a much
more expensive proposition that gives a different tone.  

The original Maccaferri design was more inspired by the classical
guitar, with a wider neck and 12 frets to the body.  The D-500 with
the large hole copies this model well.  The later Selmer guitars
used the longer and narrower neck found on the oval hole
models.  An interesting mix introduced by Gitane is the D hole
body with the long neck, the DG-320.  

Gitane doesn’t have the original style resonator inside the body.  
But they do have adjustable truss rods, a feature sadly lacking in
the originals, which only had non-adjustable neck reinforcement.  

Something that may trip up US players is the French style
placement of dots at the 5th, 7th, 10th (French style) 12th and
15th frets.

A really nice feature is the stamped brass Selmer style tailpiece,
which will accept either ball or loop end strings.  This is really
handy.  

The Waverly-style open tuners are pretty good.  Sometimes they
need adjustment, and a little lubrication goes a long way.

The guitars all sound very good, even without considering the
price.  And the Gitane certainly provides the proper dry sound
when set up with good Gypsy strings.  Bronze strings are too
harsh.  The guitars come with Gitane strings from Saga, but do
very well with other brands such as Argentines (e.g., 0.010"
-0.046" silver plated copper), Guadalope Manouche Tone,
Pearse Nuages, and the like.  Light strings are generally in order,
with a high action.  With the right strings and action height, the
bottom end is quite full with a great punch, the mid ranges are
clear, and treble emphatic, but not harsh.   

Some interesting reviews:

Gitaar Plus (Holland) - Jan Akkerman Reviews the DG-300
"Modele Jorgenson" - Oct. 2005

Guitar Player Magazine - Art Thompson Reviews The Gitane DG-
300 "Modele Jorgenson" - Aug. 2005

Akustik Gitarre (Germany) - Selmer-Style Jazz Guitar - DG-255 -
May/June 2005

Vintage Guitar Magazine - One Loud Blonde! A Review of the
Gitane DG-250M - April 2005

And be sure to check out these guitars on
harmony central
 

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