Now that I had (I thought) my new grande bouche gypsy jazz guitar for rhythm playing we needed to get a suitable guitar for Shez to play lead guitar in Djangoism. We went to Hobgoblin Music in Leeds where they have a wide selection of the Gitane guitars, and one by a local maker, and were very patient as we spent a long time trying them. What we found was interesting (to us at least). All the Gitane models we very different to each other even though they all look superficially similar. The grande bouche model had a sweeter, less cutting, sound than the petite bouche models but overall was louder. The difference between the slightly shorter than standard scale of the grand bouche and the long scale of the petite bouches was very noticeable. The neck profile on the petite bouche models was very variable with the DG-255 model having a very shallow profile and the DG-300 John Jorgenson model having a deep profile. Our conclusions from this are that one should try lots of different gyspy jazz guitars before buying one as although they are all of similar shape and construction the features which alter playing comfort can vary considerably.
After a lot of playing Shez decided that he liked the sound of the grand bouche model best. I found that the John Jorgenson model was very comfortable for playing rhythm so we bought that and Shez will use the grand bouche that I bought a couple of weeks ago. This is the reverse of the usual selection of grand and petite bouche models used by almost all gypsy jazz bands but we went with what our ears told us, of course it may turn out that on the bandstand in a noisy venue we might find out why most bands have it the other way round – we will report on live playing as soon as we have the Big Tone pickups fitted.