Okay, this is a little bit of an advertisement, although I have no personal stake in this whatsoever (except potential jealousy). I just left Brian Wolfe's shop in Guilford CT (acoustimusic.org) and played a Shelley Park Encore that just may be the nicest guitar of any type that I've ever played. Admittedly, I'm not a Gypsy Guitar expert, but I do know about good guitars in general. This particular guitar has a German Spruce top and Bubinga back and sides with beautiful Brazilian bindings. Normally, I don't care too much what an instrument looks like; I'm more interested in sound and playbility, but this guitar is stunning:http://www.gbase.com/Powered/GearDetails.aspx?Dealer=48315f15-b6e1-412a-9796-fe5a4cba9e27&Item=853175
Actually the photos don't do it justice, especially the back, which is a rich brown that looks a bit washed out in the picture.
As nice as the guitar looks, it plays better than that, and sounds better than that too. It has an incredible bark. It's definately a Selmer style sound, not a Favino (I own one of Shelley's Favino style models). It's loud, but not brash, and (sorry Michael) the set up is unbelievable: it's got all of the gypsy style you could want, but with low(ish) very supple action. I found it incredibly easy to get lots of great vibrato out of it. All in all, it's just a fabulous instrument.
Brian had it in the shop a couple of days, then sold it to someone who collects archtops. Apparently the person changed their mind (but another archtop), and now Brian has it back on consignment.
I've got a Collins guitar on order, so I'm not in the market, but someone should scoop this up. I'm not a salesman, honestly (although Brian is a friend), but I'm completely high after playing this guitar.
Check out the site: http://www.acousticmusic.org
Again, I apologize if this seems like an ad: it's not. I just think that such a lovely instrument belongs in a player's hands.
Reject the null hypothesis.