beginner question gj-10 or gj-15

hello there!
i am happy i found this forum.

here is my story:
i am actually a professional drummer who happenes to really like manouche.
since this music does not nee drums and i always wanted to learn another instrument i decided finally to pick up a manouche guitar and start shredding :)

after checking on my budget and reading a lot of info i decided to buy either a cigano gj10 or gj15.
even after reading all the info here and on other boards i am not sure which one to pick.

it seems that the gj10 is a little more versatile?
the gj15 is easier to play ( i have small hands )?
the gj15 is better for rhythm?

any insight is greatly appreciated!

thanks again!


  • As a general comment .... if you can try them both go with the one that fits your left hand the best ....feels the most comfortable .... getting good onsite help in this is always beneficial
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • blofeldblofeld New
    Posts: 11
    thanks, but unfortunately i have to order online :(
  • rimmrimm Ireland✭✭✭✭ Paul doyle D hole, washburn washington
    Posts: 605
    Go for the Oval hole if you have small hands as the radius is smaller. The good news is that if you are a drummer you have a head start on La Pompe.. 8)
    I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    For sound, I much prefer the d-hole. The one I played sounded much more expensive than it was, and I think can hang with anything until you get into good luthier-built guitars. I have only played one of the oval holes, and it was the second worst sounding and playing GJ guitar I have ever come across. I think it may have just been a bad one, though, because a number of people on this forum and elsewhere like them alot. If you order one from Michael, you can ask him if he has more then one to choose from, and if so, ask him to pick a good one for you.

    Getting setup work done on a guitar in this price range can defeat the purpose, because it costs as much as setting up a Favino or Dupont. The d-hole I played hadn't been set up at all, and it played great. The oval hole fought me for every note, and even when I won the sound was the equivalent of a bad stomach ache. I couldn't wait to hand it back to its owner. But again, it may well have been the individual guitar. That one may have benefitted enormously from a good setup.

    Michael would be straight with you about whether the individual guitar he would send you needs setup work, and so would any specialist vendor of GJ guitars. What I would not do is buy one from a chain like Guitar Center. They are nice guys, but I've never met anyone at one of their stores that knew anything about GJ guitars or how to set them up.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • blofeldblofeld New
    Posts: 11
    i see.

    thanks for the insights!
    i was planning to have a luthier in my town look at it.
    i am a bloody beginner, so i guess i would not know bad from good really (besides intonation, tunability, et cetera)
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    I should have added that the oval hole offers certain other advantages, like 14 frets to the body instead of 12. The scale length is longer on a 14 fret oval hole as well: think Fender instead of Gibson. All other things being equal, an oval hole should be a bit louder than a d-hole because of the longer scale length increasing string tension. The downside is usually a harsher tone, possibly because having two more frets to the body pulls the bridge forward from the ideal location (centered at the widest part of the top). Oval holes tend to be more trebly as well. Short scale d-hole guitars have a sweeter tone to my ears (Again, bridge placement?), and more midrange presence, but d-hole can have muddier bass, especially in cheap guitars. Most players prefer 14-fret oval holes because they cut better, have narrower necks, and have more access to higher frets.

    Based on my limited experience, Saga made a much better job of the d-hole Cigano, but that's just me. Michael and Josh Hegg have likely both played multiple examples. i'd really talk with one of them to get the best advice.

    Good luck!
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • HCQHCQ Northeast NJ✭✭✭
    Posts: 225
    I am not familiar with Ciganos at all. I have played one oval hole that didn't really sound terribly bad. It did have its action, owner preference, at around 4mm or more high at the 12th fret. To me that's unplayable which is my prefrence.

    Mike made some good points regarding scale length. The oval hole scale length should be around 670mm or ~26.4 inches. The longer scale contributes to the sound Mike described in an another way as well. When tuned to pitch the longer scale will be tighter and have more pull and pressure on the guitar. That contributes to the louder and brighter sound. I believe the body and bracing with these 2 guitars are the same or very similar.

    Guitars based on the Selmer/Maccaferri but have different dimensions, than say Favino and Busato type guitars cthat ome to mind, probably won't follow the above descibed rule of thumb.

    Good luck with what you decide.
  • IMO if you are going to buy online ... I would call Michael Horowitz and talk to him about your needs. He will do right by you and can give you the insights on the various guitars and their price points the plusses and minuses of each. He is a very straight guy and a pleasure to do business with.

    I have no interest in nor receive any benefit (except for getting the same excellent service as everyone else) from Djangobooks.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Tele295Tele295 San Buenaventura (Latcho Drom), CA✭✭✭ Gitane DG300, D500
    Posts: 629
    We have a Cigano GJ15 that we had drop-shipped by Michael. It is an exceptionally fine instrument. I personally did the set up on it, and it didn't require much right out of the box. It has good volume and has a drier sound than the companion Gitane D500, which is ideal for jam scenarios. The D500 can get muddy and lost with 3-5 guitar situations.
    Jill Martini Soiree - Gypsy Swing & Cocktail Jazz
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,665
    Even if you have small hands, you can adjust to the longer scale. My hands are on the small side, and I used to think I really needed a short scale guitar. But in time, I learned to make the required adjustments to play the longer scale. For chording, you stretch a bit more, and for soloing, you just have to jump your fingers over a bit wider distance. If the notes don't seem to quite fit your hand span, move your hand around more, it's that simple.

    I once took a master class with a professional classical guitarist, and when I mentioned my smallish hands, she said, "My dear, look at mine." Her fingers only came up to my top knuckle (the one below the tip), yet she gives concerts around the world and is a highly acclaimed performer.

    Robin Williams said something like, "Little feet, little hands - you know what that means ? LITTLE SHOES AND GLOVES!" Get over it and just play yer guitar. :wink:

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
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