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Saga Gitane 250M Opinions Wanted

Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
I stumbled across a 250M at a guitar shop last week in another state. The guy really wanted to sell it, and offered it for $600 plus shipping. I know Michael has them as well for roughly the same price. This one had the best intonation above the 12th fret that I have found in my limited experience with Selmer knockoffs. It was hard to tell about the tone, though, because it had those awful stock Saga strings (12's? at least) which were quite tired and too heavy to judge the tone with anyway. The looks were stunning (except for the headstock)!

I wonder what any forum mambers that have or had 250M's think of them. I have a DG-300 a D-500, and a Manouche Jazz, which are pretty much all I have to judge by. I am reluctant to buy another Saga, but I thought the birds eye maple was nice looking, and I am tempted. I've heard they are harsh sounding compared to the rosewood models. The Manouche is already loud enough, so the question is does the 250M offer anything but volume? I searched the forum, but found only a few threads where the 250M was discussed, and at that not in much detail.

Any comments are welcome, even down to the quality of the tuning keys. If I should keep saving for a better axe, I would rather. If the guitar was not on the other side of the country, I'd take a set of Argentine's along to try, but it was an unplanned discovery, with no time for a second visit. Ant thoughts?
I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
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Comments

  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    In my opinion, if you have a 300 - you don't need the 250M. Here is what you'll get from a 250M that you won't get from a 300 so you can make that decision for yourself:

    1.) the 250M has a thinner neck... depth wise... IE, it's more like playing a Strat. Some people like this for the speed, but some don't like it because thinner necks can lead to hand fatigue especially if you're chopping rhythm. If you're coming to GJ from an electric guitar background you'll love it.

    2.) The 250M sound is a little mellower - more like a Gibson Jumbo crossed with a 300. It has volume but it is less of a "true Gypsy" sound. The 250M is a great crossover guitar with wonderful tone - but in general you'll get more "gypsy" tone from your 300.

    The 250M was designed for John Jorgenson when he was making his transition from "Stratocaster guy" to "Gypsy Guy" so it seems there were some design elements that are ideal for players making that transition. If that describes you - you might love the D250M - but you really don't need it unless you think the 300's voice is too brash or the 300's neck is too big.

    I had a 250M and loved it - sold it to a friend - I miss it but get to play it occasionally.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • TenorClefTenorClef UKNew
    Posts: 150
    When i first got into GJ, i ordered a DG250M, it arrived with two sound holes, one purposefully made in the front and one in the back that had accidentally been caused by heavy handed frieghters. :shock: Needless to say it was returned, but before i returned it i played it for a little while and just could'nt get my head around the way the guitar sounded, as it sounded like no other acoustic guitar in my experience so i assumed it was rubbish. I then got the Gitane D500 and DG255 both nice guitars but after spending some time playing I started to see how the sound of the DG250M was actually perfect for the GJ style, loud, bright, percussive and of course stunning to look at. I eventually bought a DG250M from David Hodson who also made GJ guitars. I now prefer this guitar over the other two, its been well played in and whilst still a bright guitar is starting to mellow a little but is characteristically brighter than the rosewood models. Its definetly one loud guitar and after removing the laquer, i find mine to be even louder. Any way you've probably read my other threads.
    Currently-Gitane 250M
    Previously-Gitane 255
    Previously- Gitane D500
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Thanks to you both. I do come from an electric guitar background, but I mostly played 50's era Gibson necks, so I like the Jorgenson neck very much. Thin necks never feel quite right to me, although I eventually adjust if I have to.

    I always heard the 250M's were "harsh", but this one seemed not to be. Still, with the strings that were on it, who could tell. Seems to me that it's going to be a matter of taste and I just have to decide. It's cheap, so I am not risking much, butI am tryin g to slowly inch my way up the GJ guitar food chain, buying another Gitane seems like a step in the wrong direction. I sure wish I could have had a go with proper strings on it.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    Michael,

    I know you work in Philly. If you want to stop by my house sometime, I have my brother's 250M here -- it has Argentine strings and I put a Dupont bridge on it. It sounds good (the bridge made a huge difference)! But the neck is very thin -- too thin for my liking.

    John
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    I am tryin g to slowly inch my way up the GJ guitar food chain, buying another Gitane seems like a step in the wrong direction.

    I think that's probably the right attitude...if you already have two other Sagas I'd really start looking at least at the new asian Dell Artes instead of another Gitane. I know it's tempting with their low prices, but everyone I know who's bought a few Sagas had ended up selling them eventually-at a loss-to buy guitars that aren't always that much better. I'd say cut out the middle step...

    best,
    Jack..
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 434
    Like John said, a Dupont bridge on the 250 M will make a HUGE difference.

    I understand that the neck profile (and angle) has been changed on the newer Gitanes. I don't think the older neck profile is like a Strat ( I have a 250 M and have owned many strats, still have one in the collection in fact) but if you like a "baseball bat" neck, the older 250m neck profile is sure to disapoint.

    It is my opinion that the next logical step from a Gitane is to go to the very top, a Dupont or Favino. They are simply much better than the Gitane and worth the considerable cost. The "intermediate" level guitars are not worth the extra cost over the Gitane IMHO.

    Cheers,


    Marc

    www.hotclubpacific.com
    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • TenorClefTenorClef UKNew
    Posts: 150
    Yeah this pretty much confirmed what i suspected, however as the next serious step up from the Gitane being a Dupont, Favino or Selmer.......i guess you got to ask how much time you get to play in the GJ genre and also how large your wallet is :D
    Currently-Gitane 250M
    Previously-Gitane 255
    Previously- Gitane D500
  • ShawnShawn Boise, Idaho✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 295
    I have been wanting a Maple back-'n-sides Selmer guitar for a long time, I just wish the Gitane didn't have that funky headstock on their version of the guitar (I prefer the standard peghead). I just can't see myself spending the money for a guitar that I think has an ugly headstock.

    While were on the subject...anyone know someone who would make an Oval hole Maple Back/sides Selmer guitar with the a fret extension that can be seen in the J'attendrai video of the HCQF that Django is playing? The Dell Arte Robin Nolan signature guitar is similar, but does not look exactly the same as what I am talking about from the video. You can see the fret extension I am talking about in this picture:
  • TenorClefTenorClef UKNew
    Posts: 150
    The headstock is definetly a bit out of character but Saga wanted to remain faithful to the actual Selmer design and apparently Selmer did make 20 or so Oval hole maple guitars with a solid headstock so go figure........however i do like the classical open slot style headstock myself.
    Currently-Gitane 250M
    Previously-Gitane 255
    Previously- Gitane D500
  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    edited March 2007 Posts: 551
    TenorClef wrote:
    Yeah this pretty much confirmed what i suspected, however as the next serious step up from the Gitane being a Dupont, Favino or Selmer.......i guess you got to ask how much time you get to play in the GJ genre and also how large your wallet is :D

    I was going to say about the same thing. One of the side effects of GAS or Guitar Acquisition Syndrome for those not familiar is compensating one's desire to improve their playing by looking for a new sound or tone, a sure indication of more money than time.

    Personally I've never been able to or understood why someone would want to have more than one guitar at a time - how do you develop your own sound that way? I say sell off all competition for your attention, stay faithful to your Manouche and reap the rewards of sounding like you - whatever guitar you play. You won't make Dupont any richer, but you'll be a lot better off. If you can't help yourself and simply have to spend money (I can relate to this feeling very well), I would try and bribe AJL for one of those snot-slick cases like Dennis has - those things are too cool! - and save the Hiscox for shipping.

    Segovia played 2 guitars in his 40+ year career, consecutively.
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