Opinions on the Chinese made Dell Artes

Hi guys,

Although these guitars have been out for a while, no one has talked about them. Can anyone give us a review or the different models, from the 750 dollar Selmer style to the above 1000 favino body models.

How do they compared to the gitane 255 or 300, or the Manouche?




  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,146
    Hi Daniel....these guitars actually aren't really available yet. There was a very small shipment about a month ago, but it was less then a dozen guitars. most of which were the Pigalle models.

    So almost no one has these yet...

  • Pugs47Pugs47 New
    Posts: 102
    Hi Daniel,
    Here's what I posted on another group after getting a Robin Nolan import. Mind you it was serial number 00008, and had a domestic Dell Arte neck. The newer ones are more chi chi, with rope binding and a Mother of Pearl inlay in the rosette. But I was a dealer for Manouche Guitars for six months and had owned or played a few other imports;

    I just got my hands on one of the New Dell Arte/Music Link Robin
    Nolan's and gigged with it Saturday night. This is a very remarkable
    guitar for the money. Once I got it up to pitch out of the box and
    the top had an hour to settle in, it dazzled me. It's got the Gadjo
    I've owned, gigged or played much of the import stuff and this
    definitely is at the top of my list. Sonically, it is well balanced,
    top to bottom, but still easily delivers cutting highs. Very slinky
    action, even though it's more than 3.5mm on the bass side, which for
    me is high, putting the string into motion, getting that bark/growl
    without much of a pick attack.
    This guitar stood up well and was a tad brighter next to Tony Hugh's
    Custom Micheal Dunn Mystery Pacific with a sound reflector.
    It's construction is also top notch. It has the most pronounced top
    and back arch that I've ever seen on a sub 3k guitar (which may be
    more of a function of the Favino body). This facilitates quite a
    high bridge and increases the break angle over the saddle, which
    should translate string virbation into the top more efficiently. All
    of the imports I've touched really are lacking here.
    The bridge is stained rosewood and hollow. The hardware, tailpiece
    and tuners, are more than adequate and won't need replacing (a.k.a.
    Gitane). The neck has no scarf joint, which is what I would expect
    in this price range. The woods used are a little pedestrian (gotta
    save money somewhere). No flame at all in the maple neck and the
    rosewood body laminates are a touch heavy and rather subdued. The
    fingerboard is stained rosewood with Pearloid (plastic) markers. But
    the overall build is tight and clean.

    Here's how I'd rank the imports I've owned or played;

    Dell Arte/ MusicLink Robin Nolan (own)
    Manouche 12 Fret Modele Orchestre (owned)
    Draleon Samois 8000 (hybrid, own)
    Manouche Modele Jazz, (without truss rod, owned)
    Gitane Wrembel (Stephane's personal guitar, played)
    Manouche Modele Jazz (with truss rod, owned)
    Gitane 300 Jorgenson (owned)
    Gitane 255 (played)
    Gitane DM 250 Maple (owned)

  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551

    Interesting ranking, although I'd consider anything that doesn't offer less than 3.5mm clearance unplayable. Are you a rhythm player primarily? How would you describe the difference in sound between truss and non-truss Manouches Modeles Jazzes?
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,752
    Action's a weird thing and varies a lot from guitar to guitar...from what I've heard/read, a lot of the guys we look up to use surprisingly low action...

  • HCPhillyHCPhilly Phila. PA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 147
    Interesting info. Thanks Ernie. BTW, I'm posting some photos of Samson playing the Manouche oval hole that you had for a while, check out the Manouche N.A. website. BTW, Samson asked us to lower the action
    for him, which Rodrigo Shopis was kind enough to do.
    Samson plays with an astonishing amount of force, his technique and ideas were absolutely amazing. I'll post more pics ASAP.
    Also, I hope that you and Tony can make it out to our show with Jorgenson on Jan 6. Anyhow, be well,
  • waldenjazzwaldenjazz Thoreau, NMNew
    Posts: 70
    Hi Elliot... having set up both versions of the Manouche Jazz I can tell you the non-truss modele is (was) much better. Manouche has re- evaluated the market and is returning with the adjustable truss Modele Jazz and Orchestres. I think the non adjustable's were tonally better balanced, but the market is what it is. Ask Robert Casey what he thinks of his non-adjustable 14 fret Orchestre... that is a really loud and well balanced guitar! As far as the Asian guitars go, it's really a subjective evaluation and I would listen to your ear rather than anyones opinion or endorsement. I'll be looking at the new ones at NAMM this January... should be interesting and last year I got to play the Dell Artes a little, they were really nice, but all this can change from individual guitar to guitar, I don't care who the maker is, there are good ones and there are some that make great firewood. Nice cat!!! I don't think I'm getting a new one for awhile! Be well, Robert
  • Pugs47Pugs47 New
    Posts: 102
    I can clarify a few things in my previous post, regarding "Manouche" guitars. The ranking really had little to do with the truss rod or lack there-of. The first Modele Jazz I had was an earlier production run with a serial number in the low sixties. It had a very shallow neck angle, A.K.A. Gitanes. In order for me to get a 3.2MM action on the bass side at the 12th fret, the bridge had to be shaved down to almost 13mm. I got the playability, but sacrificed sound due to the smaller break angle over the bridge. The second Modele Jazz, with a serial number in the low 100s, which went to Samson, had a steeper neck angle and when I set it up and finally arrived, after hours of tweaking, at my preferred 3.2mm, the bridge height was 19mm.
    It's surprising, to me, IMHO, that a true "Giant" of gypsy jazz would have the action lowered from that!
    But we all are surprised when the conventional wisdom is turned inside out! Same revelation occurred when I compared my DG300 at a workshop, with about 3.2mm action to Jon J.s gigging guitar. His was substantially lower. JJ explained this "Phenomenon" as since he had the Sherler P/U, he was less concerned with acoustic output.
    So much for the Macho more mms at the 12th fret are better mantra.
    The Nolan Dell Arte has such a substantial neck angle and top arch, that it's bridge is 24mm. And IMHO has the best build of any import I've touched.
    Oh, and Barr, good luck on your recent "Acquisition" of the Manouche Brand franchise in the U.S.
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