More Information About Gitane Guitars
Gitane guitars do an excellent job of copying original Maccaferri/Selmer design features. The outline, dimensions, slotted headstock, and moustache bridge all spring from thisdesign. Even the three ply back and sides duplicate the originals. The solid top on the upper level Gitane guitars is just a bit arched by gluing to radiused braces, prestressing it and giving that nice pop when a pick crosses the string. Another approach to getting a nice punch is to carve an arch in the top, a much more expensive proposition that gives a different tone.
The original Maccaferri design was more inspired by the classical guitar, with a wider neck and 12 frets to the body. The D-500 with the large hole copies this model well. The later Selmer guitars used the longer and narrower neck found on the oval hole models. An interesting mix introduced by Gitane is the D hole body with the long neck, the DG-320.
Gitane Guitars doesn’t have the original style resonator inside the body. But they do have adjustable truss rods, a feature sadly lacking in the originals, which only had non-adjustable neck reinforcement.Something that may trip up US players is the French style placement of dots at the 5th, 7th, 10th (French style) 12th and 15th frets.
A really nice feature is the stamped brass Selmer style tailpiece, which will accept either ball or loop end strings. This is really handy. The Waverly-style open tuners are pretty good. Sometimes they need adjustment, and a little lubrication goes a long way.
The Gitane guitars all sound very good, even without considering the price. And the Gitane Guitar certainly provides the proper dry sound when set up with good Gypsy strings. Bronze strings are too harsh. The guitars come with Gitane strings from Saga, but do very well with other brands such as Argentines (e.g., 0.010" -0.046" silver plated copper), Guadalope Manouche Tone, Pearse Nuages, and the like. Light strings are generally in order, with a high action. With the right strings and action height, the bottom end is quite full with a great punch, the mid ranges are clear, and treble emphatic, but not harsh.