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I have my eyes on either an M01. I heard their jazz guitars are handmade by just two people? Is this true?!
Also, is the M01 the only one with laminate back and sides?
Michael, or someone else more knowledgeable on the subject than me, may need to correct me here, but this is my understanding:
Altamiras are made in a factory in Asia and therefore are not handmade. But as someone who has owned 3 (an M-01D that I bought new from Michael & two M-10's that I bought used), I can tell you that all 3 of mine were great guitars, especially considering the affordability. I've played hundreds of gigs on my Altamiras. It's been my experience that after they're set up by a good luthier, they're reliable, fun to play & sound great.
Aa for the laminated back & sides, I believe the M-01 & M-01D are laminated, while the other higher end models (M-10 & up) are solid wood. But my information may be outdated, as I did the research several years ago when I was looking for my first gypsy jazz guitar.
I would classify them as “handmade,” although that’s an ambiguous term. Most high priced domestic instruments these days are using CNC machines and other industrial processes that would fall outside of the true definition of handmade (i.e. literally no power tools.) Last I spoke with Hanson at Altamira on this subject, he said he had two employees dedicated to making his Gypsy models, using mostly old world techniques. Of course, there are some industrial type processes involved (probably CNCd fingerboards, bridges. etc.) but it’s still a far cry from a more assembly line type production you seen from inferior brands.
@adamrhowe yes, all the M01 models have laminate back and sides (i.e. M01, M01D, M01F.) The Model M is the only other model with laminate woods
The term "hand made" really means nothing nowadays. I'm quite sure almost no one cuts a neck mortise by hand. Why would you when you can use a router and template? SOOO much more accurate. Or better yet a CNC. I'm also sure that all production guitars use tons of CNC for stuff like roughing out necks, etc. Then final shaping might be done by hand. Assembly and setup probably done by hand not sure how that could be automated.
Thank you everyone for clarifying. Are the laminate back and sides more authentic to the original Maccaferri instruments?
"The backs and the sides of the bodies were almost always made of laminated Indian rosewood, although there were a few late bodies made of Brazilian rosewood. Occasionally, laminated mahogany and solid birdseye maple were also used.
At that time, the use of laminated wood for making instruments was not yet very widespread. It was one of the innnovations instigated by Maccaferri."
François Charle, "The Story of Selmer Maccaferri Guitars", p. 157