Altamira M01

Hi everybody—-

I’m new here and apologize in advance if this is a topic that has been discussed as nauseum. I’ve always loved GJ, and I love that dry, nasally, almost electric sound of a GJ guitar. I played piano for 13 years, but if I’m totally honest, the instrument was forced upon me and I never LOVED it, but I liked it. I turned 50 this year and started developing Dupuytren’s in my right hand (ring and pinky are getting stiff and curling in). It’s depressing, but I took the opportunity to start learning the instrument I’ve always wanted to learn —guitar! I’ve got a crummy classical guitar but after the holidays I’m going to order the Altamira M01. I’ve listened to recordings, done a ton of research and I feel like it is the best pick for me. I like the sound of it better than the M30, but I can’t mentally get past the “laminated back and sides.”

I’m obviously not in it as a serious endeavor at my age. I’m in it for the journey. But I do want a decent guitar. Any concerns about the laminate back and sides? Are there different quality laminates? If so, how does the M01 measure up? Can you develop your own sound with laminate B&S? Why is there such stigma among instrumentalists about laminates?

Thanks for reading this far!



  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,274

    Hey @jrag and Welcome!

    Here's just one of the threads that has talked about laminates.

    Bob Holo, one of the premier US luthiers for this style gives his opinion.

    Then there is this one from someone with a question like yours.

    Django's guitars would have been laminates too, I believe. If you want to geek out and find more, be sure to use the search bar on the right hand side and under the "Today's Birthday" icons. Sometimes I forget and use the top of the page search bar, but that is for the whole site, not the forum.

    Btw, I'm sorry to hear about your Dupuytren's, but if there is a style for hand ailments, this is it! When I was learning 20 years ago, I stuck a rolled piece of paper in between my pinky and ring finger on my picking hand to get used to having more of a "closed" grip. Probably not necessary, but there was a LOT less online knowledge back then. Jimmy Rosenberg was probably the only guy that really played with splayed fingers.

    Again, welcome to the board. There is a wealth of info here and a great group of folks willing to share.

  • jragjrag New
    Posts: 11

    Thanks so much! I will check out the Search and the links you posted. This is very helpful!

  • jonpowljonpowl Hercules, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Altamira M01F
    Posts: 703

    @jrag There is a lot of good feedback for the Altamira M at around $700, too. The thing about Gypsy Jazz guitars if that it's hard to try them before buying. I bought the two I have now without trying them and am quite happy.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,274

    Also, if you are sold on the Altamira, conventional wisdom says that you should make sure you get a proper setup from whomever you purchase it from. That usually involves cleaning up the frets and fret ends (which can be pretty rough) and carving out (taking out mass) from the bridge, and more. Michael does all those thing here for free if you purchase from him. Make sure you factor that in to your purchase decision.

  • jragjrag New
    Posts: 11

    Thank you BillyShakes -- that is exactly my plan. Upgrade the tuners, tailpiece, and get the setup. :) I also need a viking name for her since Dupuytren's is also known as the Viking Hand. Suggestions welcome.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,274

    If you ever watched the old movie "The Vikings" with Ernest Borgnine and Kirk Douglas as father and son, they great each other by name.

    Hail!, Ragnar.

    Hail!, Einar.

    So I'm always partial to Ragnar. But, if those don't suit you, check out Highland Park Scotch Whisky and their Viking series. They've had several releases with other Viking names such as Magnus, Svein, and Loki, etc. If it is a female name you seek, there is Freya!

  • Posts: 4,708

    Nothing wrong with laminated wood GJ guitar. Many top builders use laminated back and sides woods exclusively. Bamgarner and AJL are the two off top of my head. Whatever stigma about the laminates you read or heard about is probably more about the overall low quality of a mass made instrument. Hypothetically speaking, if these factories used the best solid woods, my guess is you'd still end up with a low quality guitar overall. There's a big difference in laminates made in a big factory and one put together by a top notch luthier. You'll be fine with the guitar you have your eyes on.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 450

    Just an aside -- Your right hand issue may indeed be Dupuytren's, but involuntary finger curling while playing could also be focal dystonia (brain rewires fingers based on common finger patterns while playing, if you are prone to neuroplastcity). It's common among pianists and guitarists.

  • jragjrag New
    Posts: 11

    Thank you PDG. I’m pretty sure it’s dupuytren’s because I have Scandinavian ethnicity, my grandfather had it, and I have the hallmark nodes. But I’m waiting for the virus to be under SOME sort of control before going to a specialist. Thanks for this info, though! I’m certainly not an expert...I’ll have to do some research.

  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,852

    I also need a viking name for her since Dupuytren's is also known as the Viking Hand. Suggestions welcome.

    Here’s a vote for “Anita Ekberg”...

    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
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