Looking for top of the range, like a Dupont VR, new or used


I have been a fan of Gypsy Jazz for a long time. To make it short: I have been playing the electric guitar for 12 years, mostly jazz/blues, I started collecting electric guitars and am looking to add a nice gypsy-style guitar to my collection.

I play all my instruments, so a pristine look is not something that has much value to my eyes. I am fine with a used condition, as long as it plays and sounds very good. I heard many things about Dupont Vieille Reserve series. Some say these guitars are the best (Bireli played it on a dvd, it sounded awesome, but again, what would not sound good in his hands..), some other say that he is an a&$%$^le and that the quality has gone down considerably.

What do you guys think? Is it possible to find these guitars in used condition? If yes, where? Any good alternative for 1 gypsy guitar of a lifetime.


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  • Posts: 46
    I am not gonna act like a gypsy guitar officinado, but some say gypsy guitars can be a crap shoot. Like any other, if you know guitars you know you got to play it first. I've heard people that swear by dupont and some who say what your saying. I'm always looking and what I have found is there is a lot to weigh. there is about at least 10 if not more that you could choose from. But I believe eventually you still have to play it. The VR kinda reminds me of the L5 in a sense are you gonna wanna bang on it, and if you are, well you probably already own one. Had an L5, traded down so I could play it...would I buy a VR, if I was already real good or rich. Not real good, not rich.

    This site is great for used stuff, and Mike will let you know. He seems as straight up as they come, there is another site you want to check out ...but I hate to step on DJbooks.

    You can find selmers, favinos, busato's, Hahl's, Eimers, Duponts, AJL etc...there out there and they are always on the move. There's a great Used Dupont in Ny on this site. I would check with Michael first.
    as a wise man once said "shut up and play yer guitar"!

    Frank Zappa
  • cheopsnetcheopsnet New
    Posts: 29
    Thanks for your feedback. Very helpful.

    About playing a guitar first: From my experience, it is a fragile trade-off. If I was to restrict myself to guitars I try first before purchase, I would not have gotten 1 out of the 7 guitars I own. All of them have been ordered online (either new from music stores or used through ebay) and I am happy with all of them (I have done some trading though, as a few of them did not stay long with me b/c of mediocre quality).

    HOWEVER: what you don't try, you don't regret!

    Dupont seems to attract extremes: Some love them and some hate the guy to the guts. That is why it is hard for me to really forge an opinion on my own. Can anybody who has actually played different Dupont VR models confirm/deny claims that quality has gone downhill for the past 5 years?

    I am sorry to say that, ideally, I would love my lifetime gypsy guitar to happen to be a Dupont for the prestige of it. But that preference is, in no way, close to being as important as the sound and playability. For example, in an unrelated topic, it took me years to find a Gibson Les Paul I really liked. But my quest paid off and I now own my Les Paul of a lifetime (fyi: 2007 '59 reissue Les Paul, Murphy Aged, Lemonburst, Yamano grade, HRM top).

    Anyway, all of that to say that... I don't know what to think about Dupont guitars. Most likely, I might end up ordering one online (whether used or new) and I would love to get more feedback from Dupont VR owners or from people who have tried them and preferred alternative options...That would help a lot.

    As much as I like Bireli, people who say "Dupont are awesome, look at Bireli" do not get much credibility in my eyes, as the guy could play anything and make it sound out-of-this-earth.

    Thanks for your input.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,124
    cheopsnet wrote:

    Dupont seems to attract extremes: Some love them and some hate the guy to the guts. That is why it is hard for me to really forge an opinion on my own. Can anybody who has actually played different Dupont VR models confirm/deny claims that quality has gone downhill for the past 5 years?

    Who told you that? Totally absurd! I have everything coming through the store from entry level Asian guitars to vintage Selmers...and I can tell you that Duponts are THE most consistent Gypsy guitars out there. Sure, some are real stand outs, but you never find a true lemon. Even the average ones are very good. They have the lowest return rate of any guitar I sell....very high customer satisfaction, especially with the VR which is IMO THE best new Gypsy guitar you can get. It doesn't get better unless you start looking at vintage stuff.

    Ultimately these things are personal so as good as Duponts are, some people just don't care for their characteristically bright and dry sound. If you like a darker more open sound then I would consider a different luthier.

    Mehran s
  • patterrypatterry SLC, UT✭✭ Dupont VRB
    Posts: 10
    I've got one and I love it. I previously owned a Dupont MD-50, and it was very good too. My VR is a 2008.
  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    If you play lots of other styles, and only want to own one GJ guitar, I think you definitely should follow your gut feeling and go for a standard : Dupont or Favino. Tones, caracteristics, shapes are all different obviously, but you won't be dissapointed... We all love the guitars we play afterall.

    I would consider two things though :

    - What you'll do with it ? If it's to play with friends in your living room, or at a BBQ, or if it is to use with your Jazz band. Your guitar will sound /feel different in a venue than if you play in your bedroom, so you might want to make sure its tone and volume give you satisfaction. Sometimes it doesn't have to be very loud, but just enough so that you can hear yourself and stay in control of your instrument.

    - How do you play ? We all want to master the true gypsy picking. But even if we do, at the end some of us are stronger hitters than others. It's like comparing the response of a Martin versus a Taylor.
    Taylor will respond immediately, Martin will need more effort, but Taylor won't follow if you hit hard while Martin will... Some GJ guitars have the same specs.

    Anyway, if you alredy play guitar, you already know this. Same apply to GJ.
    Get yourself a Dupont, even the nicest one that comes with a bottle of cognac, and you'll be happy !
    - JG
  • cheopsnetcheopsnet New
    Posts: 29
    Thanks guys.

    Again, I did not mean to offend anyone about what I had heard on Dupont guitars, those criticisms were things I have seen consistently on some forums. I feel I have gone through the same ordeal when I started looking for a good Les Paul: Some people would tell me one thing about the quality and craftmanship, some others would say the opposite.

    My use for a GJ guitar? Playing and recording at home (mostly). The only GJ guitar I have owned so far was a Gitane Saga D500 (:) ), which was actually decent for the price (and ordered from DjangoBooks :wink: ). But owning nice guitars is my take on luxury in life (I don't care for 1st class travel or expensive wine) and I want, and have started, to assemble a nice collection of instruments that rate 5/5 on MY own criteria (does it play the way I want? Does it sound the way I want? Do I like the look? Does it have some mojo?..). I have played some $$$ guitars that were supposed to be top notch and did not like them; I believe there is somehow a correlation between crafmanship and price (yes, I do), but you cannot assume either that because an instrument is $$$, it is great.

    In a nutshell, that is why I am looking into Dupont guitars!
  • StringswingerStringswinger Santa Cruz and San Francisco, CA✭✭✭✭ 1993 Dupont MD-20, Shelley Park Encore
    Posts: 465
    Joli G. Wrote:
    If you play lots of other styles, and only want to own one GJ guitar, I think you definitely should follow your gut feeling and go for a standard : Dupont or Favino.

    Well put. Duponts and Favinos are head and shoulders above all other Gypsy guitars that I have played including some Selmers and the one Busato that I have played. I have never played a bad Dupont or Favino, only very good ones and great ones.

    That said, Favino's and Duponts need to be played with traditional setups and picking styles to sound good. If you are going to use the same style of picking on your Gypsy guitar and low action setup as you (probably) have on your Les Paul, get a Shelly Park.

    I have played some Dupont MD-50's that were as good as the Dupont VR that I played. I believe that most of the bad things said regarding Duponts are the result of user error, not bad lutherie.

    Best of luck.


    "When the chord changes, you should change" Joe Pass
  • Joli GadjoJoli Gadjo Cardiff, UK✭✭✭✭ Derecho, Bumgarner - VSOP, AJL
    Posts: 542
    Also get a ticket to the next Django Festival.
    Take your Gitane, talk to people, try, feel, listen... educate your hands and your ears....and make up your mind... There are plenty of opportunities at those festivals to find and understand what you are looking for.
    And like Stringswinger is anticipating, you will fall in love with a Shelley Park and be conflicted to buy or not to buy a Dupont : that is the question !
    Good luck !
    - JG
  • edited May 2010 Posts: 3,707
    IMO when one is in the market for a high end guitar ... if you are going custom try guitars until you find the sound you like then get that luthier to make it to your requirements.

    If you are just looking for a high end guitar try em til you find one that tells you it loves you. :shock: :lol: Tis true.

    Told this story before however ..... a few years ago spent the afternoon in the high end room of a guitar store. Met another guy there while trying out guitars and we spent the afternoon picking and going through over 40 boxes priced between 2K and 6K. Found 2 that we both agreed were special a few more that stood out over the rest and the balance were decent sounding/playing guitars with excellent fit and finish. :wink:
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • cheopsnetcheopsnet New
    Posts: 29
    Thanks guys.

    WHat about John Levoi? I played a used Levoi oval hole guitar a couple years back at RFCharle in Paris. At that time, I was loosely looking and thought this was a very nice instrument. What do you guys know about John Levoi?
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