Gypsy Jazz originated back in the 1930s in France. It’s a musical genre that is really close to jazz, but it’s spiced up with gypsy character. It’s really hard to articulate what this music is with words, since it’s virtually impossible to express its true essence without listening to those sounds. It’s been almost a century since its invention and it hasn’t lost its popularity even today. Due to the peculiarities of such music, one requires a special instrument to become capable of capturing its character. I don’t think you’ll be able to emulate its gypsyness without a dedicated guitar, but you’re welcome to try. But those who believe me should continue reading this article with even more attention. You know why? – because I’m going to introduce one of the best gypsy jazz acoustic guitars out there. Gitane DG-320 is a real masterpiece, as it manages to create the needed feel and character with ease. If you’ve never encountered gypsy jazz guitar before, you’ll find its design really interesting. Even if you have, I think you’ll be pleased with everything this one has to offer. I think it’s fair to say that this is the most (or at least one of the most) interesting guitars discussed on our website. I’m sure you’re intrigued so let’s continue, dig deep into the details and see what we have here.
When I saw this guitar for the first time, I was stunned. I was so impressed with its design that I didn’t even care how it sounded (I’m lying, I did). Gitane DG-320 has a vintage appearance. Not that fake one that every other model claims to have. It really looks like it was made a century ago. It’s cutaway body has a D-shape soundhole (reminiscent of the prominent Maccaferri designs), which is surprising for those who are accustomed to ordinary acoustic guitars. Such a soundhole is really common among gypsy jazz, so those who are familiar with the genre will recognize this well-known pattern. Fretboard ending, and tortoise binding and tailpiece add special character to this guitar. Color and finish are rather typical, yet they go extremely well with the style of this one.
DG-320 was built in collaboration with John Jorgenson – a talented musician who has proven his expertise countless times. He’s worked closely with Gitane (not only with this model) in order to deliver a guitar that would incorporate the virtues of different models. This bad boy has a solid Sitka spruce top, and Santos rosewood back and sides. It features traditional ladder bracing, that is different from what we’re used to. Once again, special approaches are essential to achieve the unique sound of gypsy jazz. Solid American walnut neck is combined with an ebony fingerboard. It’s needless to say that they are smooth and perfect for the rhythmic playing of the genre. The scale length is 26 5/8 inches, which means this fella is quite big in size. But that’s not a con by any means – the power it beholds needs some room to shine to the fullest. In short, DG-320 combines its vintage design with true vintage qualities that are needed to guarantee the creation of the most authentic gypsy jazz sounds.
Gitane, along with John Jorgenson decided to put together a powerful monster and we can easily say that they succeeded at that. DG-320 is a real beast not only because of its sound. Its qualities stem from the materials that were used in its construction and the interaction between various tiny details. Its greatness is a result of hard work and dedication, and you can feel that as you examine the guitar closely.
This bad boy has a bone, 1 ¾ inch nut, which guides the strings to the headstock and tuning pegs. Speaking of which, we have gold-plated, engraved tuning machines with grained ivoroid buttons. It’s not hard to guess how expensive and scrupulous they look! The bridge is built with spruce and features movable moustache style. The strings are attached to the tortoise tailpiece, which is my favorite part on the whole guitar. The fretboard has M-O-P oval dot inlays that guide you while moving across the neck. It goes without saying that DG-320 has proven its quality once again.
According to everything I’ve discussed above, it’s not hard to assume that the sound of Gitane DG-320 must be steeped with unique character. If you did make such an assumption, you are absolutely correct, my friend. John Jorgenson and Gitane incorporated some virtues that you’ll encounter on the DG-300 model, yet they included a D soundhole and a longer fretboard to amplify the sound even more. By doing so, they managed to make the sound even more expressive and powerful. DG-320 is a true gypsy jazz guitar not only with its construction and design, but also with its sonic qualities. It’s perfect for rhythm or lead playing, but you could combine some techniques to unveil its full potential. It will follow your movements as if it were an extension of your body and assist you even with the hardest pieces. This guitar is a bit limited in the sense that it caters to a specific group of musicians. But as I usually say, there are no rules in music. I’d say you should get DG-320 if you really like it regardless of the genre you play. Just keep in mind all of its characteristics and you’ll be fine. The main thing is to let the guitar shine and enable it to reveal everything that’s hidden beneath the surface.
Searching for unique pieces can be a painful journey, but that doesn’t mean that distinctive pieces don’t come across accidentally. Gitane DG-320 is an investment that you won’t regret. Its sound is captivating, as it surrounds you with crispy highs and punchy character. You won’t forget its tone once you hear it, that’s how beautiful and unique it is. You can listen to John playing the guitar himself and get the chance to truly appreciate its virtues. Good luck!
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