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Saga Gitane Guitars

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Arguably no other jazz guitarist has been so blatantly imitated as Django Reinhardt, the Belgian Gypsy whose acoustic work from the mid-1930s to the early 1940s has attained virtual cult status. And while he died in 1953, his spirit lives on, witnessed by the presence of Gypsy jazz in feature films like Sweet and Lowdown and The Triplets of Belleville as well as myriad television and radio commercials.

Guitarists bitten by the Gypsy jazz bug not only have to play the right tunes with the right feel, but also play the right instrument, which is where Saga Musical Instruments’ relatively affordable Gitane D-500 and DG-250 acoustics ($895 without case) enter the picture. Introduced in 2001 and 2003, respectively, the D-500 and DG-250 are faithfully reproduced from models originally designed for Selmer Musical Instruments by Mario Maccaferri, the classical guitarist/innovative builder whose instruments were played by Reinhardt. In common to both models are a solid spruce top, an ebony fingerboard with a “zero” fret, rosewood back and sides, an adjustable truss rod, a “moustache” bridge with a moveable center and a cool-looking Art Deco-style trapeze tailpiece.

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