Any thoughts on Altamira vs JWC?

Brad HermanBrad Herman San Francisco, CANew JWC Modele Jazz, Stankevicius Alena, Alexander Polyakov Selmer #6
Looking at buying my first gypsy jazz guitar... Looking to spend ~$1500, but could go as high as $2000. I had originally planned on buying the Altamira M30 Antique ($1450) but recently learned about JWC guitars. It looks like he has a few models in my price range, so I was thinking the Modele Jazz (£1445) or Modele Elite (£1950) might be worth the extra cost. Given that I've never played either, it's a shot in the dark, but I was wondering if anyone has ever played both and could comment on the craftsmanship/sound/etc. Thanks!


  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    edited November 2016 Posts: 227
    I am very partial to JWC, since Jeongwoo made my guitar for me, and I am crazy about it. I have played a few Altamiras, side by side with my guitar and they are nice but not in the same league. Note: I spent about a thousand dollars more for my guitar so of course not a fair comparison. I would say though with JWC you have one set of hands on the instrument from start to finish and they are in my opinion a gifted set of hands. No need to adjust anything once it gets to you. If the build quality on say the Primazjazz is as good a my guitar then it really doesn't get any better. The only downside is that unless you can buy one from stock, you will wait three or four months for it to arrive.
    I am sure there will be lots of other comments here, but I would write Tony at JWC he will answer everything and totally honestly too.
    One last thing, with the Elite you get the pliage, as with a real Selmer, which is a huge plus

    Good luck on your search and make sure to comment once you have reached a decision, everyone here will be interested to know.

  • ConorFConorF Cheshire JWC Catania Swing
    Posts: 68
    Can't recommend JWC guitars fact I have three :-)

    I have a Prima Jazz, the entry level model and two custom guitars. A Modele Jazz and a Catania Swing.

    Almost everyone in my jamming circle who has played the guitars loves them and in fact four of those people have bought them.

    I'd be happy to let you try mine but I'm in the U.K.
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    @Brad Herman

    It's not a Altamira or JWC, I've never played a JWC so no help here.
    Had a Altamira for a while was as good or better then Gitanes I've had.
    This morning I saw a Dell Arte Dark Eyes on Reverb for a good price.

    I have 2 Dell Arte's that are great guitars.

    Anyway you may like to take a look at it. Hand made in California by John Kinnard has a case, pick-up, and 6 sets of argentine strings.

    you may want to check out the dealers return policy, in case your not IN LOVE.

    here's the link...

    Good Luck
  • Brad HermanBrad Herman San Francisco, CANew JWC Modele Jazz, Stankevicius Alena, Alexander Polyakov Selmer #6
    Posts: 116
    Great feedback guys! Exactly what I was looking for.

    Sounds like JWC is the way to go. I spoke to Tony at JWC and he's about to have 2 Modele Jazz's (~$2000 w/ shipping) come up and a Catania Swing (~$2500 w/ shipping)... I'd prefer the Jazz since I want a sound hold and not F-holes (unless someone can convince me otherwise). He said he could build me a Modele Elite which would run around $2600 with shipping and exchange... That upgrades the back and sides from a laminate to solid Indiana rosewood, as well as extends the fingerboard. The Elite though wouldn't be finished until May :\ but the added benefit is I only need half up front and half later, which is nice given I should be buying presents for other people this month.

    The Dell Arte looks pretty nice though. Reading reviews on that now.

    But now that I decided I can buy a JWC at $2500 (though off a few months), I guess that opens my options on DjangoBooks a bit.
  • woodamandwoodamand Portland, OR✭✭✭ 2015 JWC Favino replica
    Posts: 227
    I went with laminate back and sides, as on the original Selmers. You can search the forum here or talk more with Tony, but I think that you will get a more consistent instrument with laminate back and sides. After all, it is as far as I know, the top of the instrument that is the most important for the sound. Also, according to Jeongwoo, if you go with laminate wood, you can opt for pretty much any of the options JWC offers. I paid about $2600 for my Favino, same as for your potential Elite,which I consider after owning mine for almost a year, a real bargain.
  • Brad HermanBrad Herman San Francisco, CANew JWC Modele Jazz, Stankevicius Alena, Alexander Polyakov Selmer #6
    Posts: 116
    Hey guys, I ended up talking to Tony at JWC back and forth for a bit... I really wanted an antique finish on whatever I ended up on (just love how it looks), and to come in around $2000 all told.

    The Modele Elite would have ended up around $2800 with shipping and duty, etc, plus he wouldn't have been able to complete one for me until around May '17. Luckily he was just finishing a Modele Jazz with rosewood laminate back and sides (I wanted rosewood) and a spruce top in antique finish, so I acted on impulse and made a down payment.

    With shipping, duty, and international wire fees I came in right at $2125 and got the guitar 3 days after he completed it. Not bad. So far I love it! It's not quite as dry sounding as some of the more expensive ones I've heard, but overall sounds and plays pretty great. It also came with a really nice locking hard case, microfiber cloth, and truss rod wrench.

    I'm still a total newbie to the style of music (been listening to it since I was a kid, but just started learning to play), but so far I love it. Has a completely different sound than the Martin OOOO-28 I usually play on. I still suck, but the JWC has gone a long way to making my practice sound a lot more "gypsy".

    Let me know if you have any questions, want more detailed pics, or want to hear the sound!

  • AndrewUlleAndrewUlle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Cigano GJ-15
    Posts: 541
    Beautiful! How's the neck shape on that?
  • Brad HermanBrad Herman San Francisco, CANew JWC Modele Jazz, Stankevicius Alena, Alexander Polyakov Selmer #6
    Posts: 116
    Neck is super comfortable for me. I have a cheap classical guitar with a real fat and wide neck, while my Martin has a fairly round neck with a much more cramped fingerboard (almost not wide enough, but could just be because I play the classical the most since I keep it at work and play it a lot when I'm thinking)... The JWC is right in between the two. I love it
  • cavemusiccavemusic Edmonton, Alberta 2010 JWC Modele Jazz, 2015 Jean Barault Grande Bouche with resonator, 1947 Kay upright bass, Django finger puppet
    Posts: 44
    Congratulations! I also have a JWC Modele Jazz and have been quite happy with it - for about 2.5 years now.
  • edited December 2016 Posts: 4,784
    Such a great story!
    I think as the guitar is breaking in the natural reverb will subside.
    And some wetness is nice, nobody wants it too dry.
    What's the crazy cool looking rack?

    Oh yeah, this last summer I had a chance to try and jam on two JWC guitars, oval and D hole. Both were exquisite. it's probably one of the best if not the best deal in this world of guitars. I always thought my guy, Risto Ivanovski was the best bargain and his guitars sounds great but JWC pays more attention to detail. I could not find a fault in the way it was made.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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