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Altamira M01 standard and antique review and comparison

Hello, I have had a standard M01 for around two months now and thought I would share my thoughts for anyone else looking to make a purchase. A jam buddy also has an M01 antique, so we often play the two side by side. I believe both are 2021 or 2020 models. All in all both guitars are good value for money and it seems that you get what you pay for with the Altamira range. I think they are the best value for money when compared to other Asian guitars. The differences between the models are not really pros and cons, but kind of go either way depending on personal preference. Each now has a Dupont bridge which is a noticeable improvement over the stock one.

The standard M01 has a poly finish that dampens the highs but is very durable, while the antique has more highs and 'pop' that is quite easy to scratch, revealing the lighter wood underneath (which is a cool effect if you like that). In comparison the standard sounds more mellow and rounded, while the antique is sharper and more present.

The standard seems to have a slightly thinner neck profile than the antique that I notice every time I switch, but I have not measured it to confirm.

Oddly, the standard came with a dull tailpiece that was already tarnished and is continuing to tarnish quickly, while the antique has a shiny new looking one.

Both have bad tuners that go loose when detuning, so if you are a bit sharp you often have to go way below the desired pitch then back up to it to get the tension. I am looking to replace mine.

The setup was really good. All the frets and nice, smooth and level, but the truss rod needs adjusting if the guitar is moving through different climates. No big deal with that. If you are going to get a case for it, I would definitely recommend the Altamira case over the Saga Gitane case. It feels of higher quality and isn't such a tight fit.

Note: the low E string bridge hole is not big enough for Gallis, with the ball end sticking out about 1cm due to the string diameter. Once it's in there tight, it's not a problem for tuning, just inelegant. I will use loop Argentines in the future, anyway.

The process of ordering and shipping was not the best. We live in New Zealand so we deal with the exchange rate, shipping fees and just generally high cost of living, so these guitars are relatively expensive items. I kind of feel like I am bothering Djangobooks every time I send them messages because I don't often get much of a reply. I am still going to buy from here because the service is good enough and we are lucky to have access to such a wide range of GJ products at all I guess.

Thanks for reading. Photos to come...

Bill Da Costa WilliamsWillieWim Glenn


  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 245

    Solid and honest comparison! I had an antique M30 for a short while and enjoyed the sound clarity of the lighter finish. Of the Altamiras I've played, I do think the lighter finish helps with volume a bit. A lot of folks here seem to have the M01F and speak of how good it is as well. It seems pretty compelling for the price.

    I realize now that the last 4 guitars I've purchased have all had nothing more than a satin or oil finish. It was maybe unintentional but each time I would read satin or oil I'd think "oh, i do like a (insert non gloss finish)!" and ultimately pick that one lol.

    Having worked with Michael on purchasing a few guitars, and even on general information searching, i wouldn't think your questions are bothering him. Likely a decent volume of questions for a somewhat niche market. You can always bug the forum for the collective wealth of knowledge, that a lot of us probably got from chatting with Michael 😄

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 867

    Both have bad tuners that go loose when detuning, so if you are a bit sharp you often have to go way below the desired pitch then back up to it to get the tension.

    When I first learned to play guitar so very long ago, I was always taught to go below the pitch and then bring it back up. I suspect this is the reason why.

  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 245

    Agreed @billyshakes i learned the same. I feel with most guitars if you simply adjust down to the note without bringing tension back on the tuner, the string will continue to go flat once you start playing.

  • Posts: 19

    Another reason to tune down a bit further before adjusting back up is to extend the lifespan of the strings - too much tuning between smaller intervals eventually causes the strings to stretch more right around the note, making it harder to adjust into proper key due to how stretched they get. Just mentioning this in case there's any fellow string extremists like me who try to get as much lifespan out of them as possible before changing lol.

    mac63000billyshakesBill Da Costa Williams
  • mac63000mac63000 Tacoma, WANew Geronimo Mateos Jazz B
    Posts: 245

    I'm doing something wrong if i don't get 4-6 months out of a set 😂

  • Posts: 19

    Haha same! Well, with the occasional exception of the high E, which tends to go dead on me a lot more quickly than the other strings so I usually keep a few extra singles around.

  • krzyskrzys New
    edited June 18 Posts: 53

    I understand that you tune down then up to pitch, but of the 20 odd guitars I've owned, these tuners take that to the extreme and feel the cheapest unfortunately. Like if you are in the middle of a song and the high E is a bit sharp, it's going to take some luck to do a quick fix with these tuners. Otherwise the fit, finish and hardware of the guitar is flawless (depending on how much you care about a dull or shiny tailpiece)

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 867

    As a mostly rhythm player, I actually like it when some of the brightness comes out of the new strings so do the same as you. I feel the sound is a little more percussive. Doesn't work though if you are playing/trading leads.

  • krzyskrzys New
    Posts: 53

    I am curious, though. Since the most basic M model has a satin finish, does it sound more like the antique M01 than the poly M01? Possibly a better choice for volume and tone, similar to a Cigano over a Gitane?

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