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Manouche Orchestre Modele review

Hi All,

I was lucky enough to score a 12 fret 'D' hole Orchestre Modele (no. 84)from the folks at Manouche Guitars, and I wanted to post a review.

As an owner of Favinos and Duponts, I'm used to hand-made European guitars with their particular quirks and beauty. The Manouche was the first factory-made instrument I've owned in a Selmer/Maccaferri style, and a month into it I have to say that I am very impressed.

I chose the Manouche because it was advertised as a close copy of an original Maccaferri, and I'm a sucker for a more traditonal feel/sound. I like a guitar to have a substantial neck, I like the hardware to be well-made in materials and design and I like a rich sound that has just the right amount of highs and lows, giving me more than just one voice. Essentially, I like the quality that comes with a carefully-made instrument.

The Manouche has exceeded my expectations. At first, right out of the box, the guitar sounded closed-up and stiff and I thought 'oh, no'. But a few days later (and with a shim to the bridge) the guitar began to open-up and just keeps getting better as time passes. The sound is very full, with a nice rich low-end and a cutting treble. It records very well, and I'm always taken back a bit when I listen to someone else play it -- it sounds superb, and is very, very loud.

The materials, especially in the hardware, are very high quality. The tuners are copies of original brass Selmers, as is the bridge, and both are well made and very solid. With other instruments, the tuners/tailpiece seem to be an afterthought, but not with the Manouche.

The neck has some heft to it -- I have a lot of trouble playing on dinky necks, and so the first thing I checked was the width and profile. Definitely a handful, but perfect for me.

Visually, it has a deeper tint to the top than you usually see, which makes it quite attractive. A very stylish looking instrument.

All-in-all, I'm really impressed (and I'm admittedly a little bit of a guitar snob, but in a nice, happy-go-lucky sort of way). It looks great, sounds great and plays great, comes with a Hiscox flight case and is affordable (at around $1600, but I heard that the price may be going up). I recommend them without hesitation if you're looking for a solid, quality instrument that won't break the bank.

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