First GJ Guitar (I know..."not this again...")

Greetings! Please excuse the monotony of this topic, I understand there are already scores of first posts much like this one. I just need some solid advice and there is no one locally or on any forum I'm on that has even heard of Selmer style guitars...

I've just started getting into GJ, and have been practicing rabidly for about a month. I've been playing guitar for over 10 years, but it feels like I'm completely starting from scratch - having to correct years of bad habits and re learn a new picking technique has been both extremely challenging and rewarding. I feel I'm getting to the point where my flat top acoustics and thinline hollowbodies are actually becoming detrimental to the learning process.

So, I'm in need of an actually suitable instrument for GJ. This site seems to be the best compilation of info (in english at least), so I figured it would be best to come here for advice.

I'm looking for a petite bouche to start with, and am mostly considering two options:

Cigano GJ10 - Heard mostly glowing reviews, with only occasional quips that
even with upgrades it will only ever be a $400 guitar, which
brings me to:

Altamira M01 - Apparently the best bang for the buck under $2000. I was
originally dead-set on a Cigano with the $200 upgrade
package and HSC. However, when I saw what the end price was
with shipping to Canada I realized that for about $130 bucks
more I could get an Altamira in a HSC shipped to my door
within Canada.

If I got dinged on taxes and duty on the Cigano, it could potentially end up being more expensive than an Altamira...

So, for those in the know, who've played or handled both of these guitars my burning question of the day is this:

Would you choose a Cigano with everything upgraded and a perfect setup or an out-of-the-box/decently set-up Altamira?

If you were me, what would you spend the money on?




  • jonpowljonpowl Hercules, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Altamira M01F
    edited March 2014 Posts: 703
    I have played a few Ciganos, and they are all over the place in terms of quality. I would never buy one without going over it very carefully. Same for Gitane, although I own a very nice Gitane DG-255. I was very lucky when I bought this guitar, it sounds nice, plays very well, is in great condition and has a straight neck. I haven't played an Altamira, but it appears that somebody on the forum recently got a bad one. I normally prefer buying used guitars, but there are a couple of Castelluccia guitars for sale at attractive prices on I've had my eyes on the Tears model, but it appears to be on hold. In the San Francisco bay area, there are frequently used GJ guitars on Craigslist. Currently there is a Gitane D-500 and recently, there was a Dell'Arte for $1299 that looked pretty good. PM me for the seller's email, if you are interested.
  • D_FettD_Fett L-09
    Posts: 4
    Wow, that thread on that guy's bad M30 is certainly illuminating! Especially considering the M30 is a few bucks more than the M01 that I was looking at.

    Most of the NA/EU-made stuff for sale here looks stunning, but is way out of my price range. The only one that's remotely affordable is the Dell'Arte, but that's still around twice what I originally intended to spend.

    I asked the only store locally that stocks Saga products if they could order me a GJ-10. They said sure, and when I asked for the price they quoted me $749. I couldn't believe a chain music store would charge 42% over retail for a entry level student guitar...
  • D_FettD_Fett L-09
    Posts: 4
    Also, thanks for the line on the D-500 but I'm really looking for a petite bouche to start with, or at least a 14 fret.
  • D_FettD_Fett L-09
    Posts: 4
    Thanks stuart,

    I think I'll end up going for a Cigano. The guy from the music store called back, said his product manager messed up, and offered a much more reasonable price. Even with the sale django books has on right now, after factoring in the shipping and possible tax/duty their price works out the same and I get a free setup. Next payday when I put the order through I'm still definitely ordering some books from Michael here.

    My reasoning for wanting an oval hole over a D-hole is the 14 fret neck and long scale. I actually really like the idea of the large mouth allowing more sound to reach the player's ear, and was looking at the Paris swing favino-copy until I heard they were kinda clunky and junky.
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936

    I got one of these here from Michael and I love it…

    Year 2013
    Model Number M01D
    Sound Hole D Hole
    Fret Neck 14 Fret

    Condition New
    Size 15 7/8"
    Scale Length 670mm
    Nut Width 1 3/4"
    Top Spruce
    Back and Sides Indian Rosewood (Laminate)
    Neck Mahogany
    Fingerboard Ebony
    Binding Indian Rosewood
    Finish High Gloss
    Tailpiece Altamira Brass
    Tuners Klusnon Style Gold
    Action 3.0mm
    Strings Argentine 1510MF
    Case None
    Pickup(s) None
    Truss Rod Yes
    Weight 4.6 lbs

    If you read up on the Altamira there is only one problem and Michael was happy to MAKE IT RIGHT.

    Just a thought, I hope you find a wonderful guitar.

    pick on
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Get the Altamira... hands down better
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