DG-300 vs. Cigano GJ-10


When I wanted to start playing gipsy jazz seriously about half a year ago I bought a Cigano (no mods) because it was recommended on this board, and it's a great guitar at a more than reasonable price, so thanks for that. I tested it and compared it to the DG-250 and I actually liked the Cigano better. It's really great at its price, but I've played a lot and some things are bothering me about this guitar. Let me begin by saying it is pretty ugly, but that's not my main concern. The three high strings sound very good and the whole thing is very very loud, but the lower three strings sound a little thin and canny, and they buzz. The bridge is very low and the sound is very wet. All these things make it feel very out of control and it's a bit of a struggle to get the sound you want out of it. And it doesn't have a pick up, of course, so I can't gig with it.

So now I want a new guitar, a better one and preferrably with a pick up. I can not afford a luthier instrument. I can spend up to 1500 euro's. So I'm considering the DG-300. Not that I'm particularly interested in John Jorgenson, I just heard it's the best guitar for that price. I heard someone play it a while ago and I was surprised by how good it sounded plugged in. So, is the DG-300 my best choice? Will it be a big step forward from the Cigano? Of course I would try it first, but I'd like to hear what you think.

Thanks in advance,


  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    For that money you can afford a luthier instrument, you should consider a Mateos "Audrey", I played one at Samois and it was awesome, sold the second day. Loads of tone.
    A Dupont Nomade with a bigtone would be just within your budget.
    And there's this used one for a lot less:
    Castellucia also makes guitars that you can afford

    On any case you could install a bigtone on it later or use one of the $50 Dimarzio pickups in the meantime, they work pretty well.
  • asd123321asd123321 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 121
    Why not try a shim on the bass side of the bridge and a heavier gauge string on the bottom just to see what could be done. I put a regular 48 on the bottom E to get more bass.
  • Matthias LenzMatthias Lenz Lucklum, GermanyNew
    Posts: 101
    I agree with BluesBop Harry, for 1500 Euros you can definitely get a handmade guitar already.

    I know the Jorgenson D-hole model (not sure which model number), a friend of mine has one. I have to say it´s a good guitar already (much better than my DG 255), but there are alternatives. I can´t recommend a spefific guitar, because all I´ve ever had the chance to play were Gitanes. But, for example, I heard and read great things about the Gallato RS 1939, which I´ve seen for less than 1300 Euros on the internet. So, I guess looking for alternatives seems worth the time.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Just as an update a student of mine just bought a Cigano oval hole(from djangobooks) no mods, out of the box he brought it here not two hours ago.
    I was really very impressed with it's sound and didn't think it was ugly at all, on the contrary pretty nice.
    Such an improvement over the Gitane DG250 i used to own.

    A guitar like the Cigano could easily last a gypsy jazzer for the first 5 years of study at least.

    I like it so much i'm very tempted to get one for myself!

    Why don't you try shimming or replacing the bridge as the previous poster said to get rid of the buzz?
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    A friend of mine here in Philadelphia has a Mateos that I absolutely love, and I think he got it for about $1200 US. He said Mateos was willing to negotiate. I owned a DG-300, and it was fine, but it had poor intonation up the neck, and was absolutely destroyed by the Manouche Jazz I bought a year later. If you go that route, replace the bridge with a Dupont or one by Josh Hegg. It will make a huge difference. But if I were you, I'd seriously look at a Mateos or Gallato.

    I have played two Ciganos: a d-hole which looked and played great, and an oval hole, which was, without question, the single worst gypsy guitar I have ever, heard, played, or looked out. The term "shitbox" came immediately to mind. So I think they must be very inconsistent, because Enrique knows his guitars, and if he liked the one he's heard, I know it must have been good. In other words, play it before you commit to buying it.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • pault86pault86 College Station, TXNew
    Posts: 24
    Hi Simon,

    Mike Horowitz has said very good things about Manouche guitars. They should definitely be in your price range.

    The website is here:

    They have a myspace page with some sound clips here:

    And there is a video of the company launch with a lot of playing here:

    The US rep told me the first models had thinner necks, then they went to thicker necks, and now they are going back to thinner necks. He said the new neck dimensions will be about 20.6 mm at the nut and 26 mm at the 12th fret.

    The Manouche also has a 670 mm scale length instead of the Cigano's 675 mm scale. The tuner hardware is obviously high quality, they look like Millers with metal bushings to support the peg on both sides of the head slot.

    The US rep has been very nice to me, I'm sure they probably have someone in the Netherlands. You can contact them from their site.

    Obviously I am looking pretty hard at the Manouche, it would be great to hear if others think it would be a good guitar for you, too. You play much better than I, it was really your playing on myspace that led me to order a Cigano!

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    pault86 wrote:

    Mike Horowitz has said very good things about Manouche guitars. They should definitely be in your price range.

    Actually, I've said good things about the Latcho Drom Manouche guitars.

    See: ... -drom.html

    The Latcho Drom Manouche guitars have nothing to do with the Korean made UK based Manouche guitars you're talking about.

    We sold the UK Manouche guitars for a while but had some problems with the guitars and no longer sell them.

  • pault86pault86 College Station, TXNew
    Posts: 24
    The Latcho Droms must not come around too often, but a 14 fret D-hole was posted for sale on Craigslist on Friday the 14th, here:

    For where I'm at with the style - about 2 weeks of practicing still on archtops - I'll stick with my Cigano order with Josh's setup.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    This is timely as we have three Latcho Drom Manouche guitars coming in next week! Always a good day when we get some of these as they are the best Asian guitars we've seen! Very few are made so we only get them every so often.

  • pault86pault86 College Station, TXNew
    Posts: 24
    Always a good day when we get some of these as they are the best Asian guitars we've seen!


    I think that's your answer, at least as far as the DG 300 is concerned.

    Can't help but wonder if you'd still be satisfied with the Cigano if Josh had worked it over and made a bridge for you?

    Josh's setup work makes it a lot easier to take a gamble on a guitar you have not held, at least up to a point. I know you compared the Cigano to other guitars when you bought it.


    Are the Latcho Droms 670 mm scale?

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