Does a new Altamira require a set-up?

Hi all, Long time lurker, first time poster. I have a dilemma about which I'd appreciate advice from anyone with experience with Altamira guitars.

I've decided to buy an Altamira gypsy jazz guitar. I have read a few times that Altamira GJ guitars are fine once set up but leave the factory in rough shape and really require an initial set up. I'm in Ontario, Canada and was planning to buy from djangobooks which includes a setup

But I just discovered there IS a retailer in Ontario that has Altamira GJ guitars in stock within driving distance but the showroom is appointment only ... and there aren't any openings for a month plus. The shop apparently checks to make sure the guitars they sell don't have issues ... but doesn't seem like much more.

I had been thinking of getting an M model from djangobooks (with setup) vs getting an M10 from local retailer without setup. The latter would end up being a couple dollars more or less (considering shipping, conversion, taxes etc). Given this comparison, what would you recommend?


  • SwedeinLASwedeinLA New
    Posts: 42

    Any guitar, even a 5k custom shop guitar will obviously be better than not set up. I'm guessing though that it's harder to properly set up a a GJ guitar than your average electric guitar. I guess the question there anybody local with experience setting up that style guitar?....

  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    Posts: 921

    I bought an Altamira M and it was pretty much set up out of the box. I can't help but tweak any guitar I get. The most adventurous things I do are bridge shimming and truss rod tweaking. That and changing bridges, tailpieces and tuners. I've bought and sold about 20 guitars in the past few years and they've all been playable without too much work. I don't know where the Altamira leaving the factory in a rough state story comes from but any decent dealer should address any issues before selling on.

    always learning
  • WillieWillie HamburgNew
    Posts: 821

    My Altamira was perfectly set up when it arrived. I bought it here:

  • Posts: 2

    Thanks for the comments. Perhaps the comments I read about rough delivery from the factory were outliers. Good to know that crookedpinky didn't experience any issues.

    There doesn't seem to be anyone locally (that has capacity) that can set up a GJ guitar. SwedeinLA, setting up GJ guitar differs from an electric in any adjustments needed to be made to the bridge (to adjust action, for better contact with the soundboard etc). That seems to be a more specialized skill. I have built guitars (electric and hollowbody) and have lots of luthier tools (fret files, leveling beam, bevel file, etc) and experience using them. But I'm far more comfortable with the wood-working element (e.g. carving a neck or top plate) than set up intricacies and have no knowledge of GJ bridge adjustments.

  • JSantaJSanta NY✭✭✭ Dupont, Gaffiero, AJL
    Posts: 257

    There's a lot of great Canadian players, Debi Botos comes to mind (she lives in Toronto) and may be able to assist with setup questions and point you in the direction of who she uses.

    The Altamira I got from Michael had the setup, and the guitar was as flawless as I could have hoped. Short of shimming the bridge with seasonal changes, and some neck tweaks, I haven't had to do a whole lot on any of my Selmac style guitars.

    IMO, other than the bridge, these guitars a similar to flattops and archtops. Action generally a little higher to account for technique, but otherwise I think any good luthier is going to be able to do a great job. Ontario is a huge province, so not sure where you are, but there are a lot of great players, someone should be able to assist.

  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 248

    I have had the chance to play a few Altamiras and feel like generally speaking they are set up pretty well. Aside from any intonation or truss rod adjustments that other modern guitars need, they shouldn't need a whole lot of work new. As others have mentioned, any decent tech should be able to work on it. The only exception where you'd want that seller-specific knowledge would be for more involved work, like a custom bridge.

  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-10, Epiphone Zephyr Regent
    Posts: 379

    I've owned 3 Altamiras, and they've all been great guitars. I bought a new one from Michael in 2016, but when it arrived (in Western N. Carolina all the way from the west coast), the action was very high & the intonation was way off. I gave it to my local luthier to set up and it came back to me feeling & sounding perfect. We've had a thread here about this topic before, perhaps you can dig for it. Michael explained to me that, while the guitar was set up by his tech, the changes in temperature, humidity, etc from the shipping process threw it off. That makes sense to me. I hope that helps answer your question.

  • Posts: 4,708

    @craighagerman sounds like you'd have zero trouble to dial in whatever guitar you'd end up with. With the skills you already have, you'd just need to inform yourself on the bridge setup, (which was discussed more than enough here and there's a video by Bob Holo specifically about the setup for these guitars) and you'd be ready to do the job.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2024, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2024 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.046633 Seconds Memory Usage: 3.653351 Megabytes