Did Gitane change the neck angle on the 300 models?
A few years back when I was getting into Gypsy Jazz, I purchased a Gitane DG300 directly from Josh Hegg and I loved everything about it except for the neck profile. I just couldn't get along with the large shoulders and 1 7/8" nut width. Anyway, long story short: I ended up selling it and getting into other stuff, but I'm now getting back into things here.
When I go back to read my own reactions to the guitar I owned compared to other guitars it's clear that I considered it a step above. Much of that is probably due to Josh's custom bridge and setup. But I found a post by Michael indicating that Gitane gave the 300 the updated neck angle at some point. I mention this because my old guitar appears to have been built in June of 2009 based on the 0906xxx... serial number, except that Josh had told me in Sept of 2009 that he'd had it for about a year, which would make it a mid 2008 model.
At a jam in DC there was another player with a 300 that had a stock bridge and a more orange looking top and after I played it I had very strong feelings that my guitar was much better sounding and playing. I wonder how much the neck angle contributed to that experience. My reaction then was that my guitar was "louder, more bark, drier, but sweet, too. It growls when you dig in, but also sings for those classical or unaccompanied Django pieces." I also recall loving that explosive response quality--it responded to a light touch, and was like a launch pad catapulting the sound with a heavier touch.
I'm looking for those qualities, but with a more comfortable neck.
In Sept of 2008, Michael posted this:
The newer models like the DG-320, DG-300, DG-340 have an improved neck angle (and top arch). The recent DG-300s also have these improvements (but not the old ones, which had the problems mentioned below)
The older models like the DG-255 and D-500 have a very straight neck and not much top arch. The result is a wetter, more bass heavy sound which is generally not desirable.
The Ciganos also have these improvements (the neck angle on the Ciganos is outrageous! Like a Favino or Busato.)
In April 2006, Josh posted this:
I have played and worked on all of the Gitane models. Not the 320 yet but will soon.
The 310 and the 300:
300 has a Selmer style neck. They got the neck right on this one!
310 has a thinner neck but still comfortable. Not too thin like the 255
The 300 and the 310 tend to have a "wet" tone verging on annoying at times with the factory set up. This is due much to the bridge. The bridge they come with plays fine but is terribly over built and really not designed correctly at all. I don't know where they came up with the bridge design but it is not correct. On that note I have fit both the 300 and the 310 with a custom bridge for testing and they sound much, much more gypsy. With a proper bridge and some time taken for bridge tuning the tone became nice and try with a great mid bark.
Another difference between the 300 and the 310 is a top plate and back arch. The 310 has a more pronounced arching. Even with the factory bridge the 310 has a touch more gypsy tone to it but this comes out in both models when set up correctly.
300 = gold hardware
310 = silver hardware
Both are great guitars for the price. If you want the best tone out of them spend the extra money and get a proper bridge built.
Part of why I'm trying to find this out is that I've always loved the look of the Gitane DG310 Lulo Reinhardt models, and I understand from the above quote that the neck on those is a more contemporary C shape. If the 310 is basically the same guitar as the 300 except for the neck, then I'd love to know. If it turns out my 300 had a steeper neck angle and higher dome than does the 310 model, then I probably should scratch the 310 off my shopping list.
I did manage to find another reaction I had to playing a Cigano GJ10 and a Gitane DG310 back to back in a store, not setup, totally stock:
"I recently played a Cigano GJ-10 and a DG-310 and there were things I liked about the Cigano for sure (although these guitars were not set up with the right strings and had stock bridges, etc)--I liked the way the sound kind of leaped out from the guitar, but the lower notes were a little harsh (strings?). However, I liked the smoothness of the 310--it seemed "rounder" or something, but also sometimes a little muffled--the sound kind of just rolled out of the guitar rather than leaping off. I didn't have a preference with regard to necks, maybe the 310 pleased me a bit more, but I liked the width of both."
So that leaping quality, that ultra-responsiveness: is that due to the neck angle and top arch?