it a Maccaferri?
is it a Selmer?
the main page
Here is a
on Selmer guitars
interested in a new Selmer-style guitar or just
about the old Selmers and that family of guitars,
until you get
a copy of François Charle's wonderful book
on Selmer guitars, this will be a help in
sorting out some basic
details. A few more may be found by going through the
links at left here.
From the beginning
offered five basic models:
|The model "Espagnol,"
a true Spanish-style guitar having a smaller
body with a flat top, a
glued-on bridge for gut strings and a round
model, featuring the larger standard
"Maccaferri" body design with a
fan-braced top, was offered with a larger
D-shaped soundhole, a
bridge for tied gut strings and an optional
model, designed for steel strings, came with
a tailpiece, a floating
centered between two "moustaches," and a
standard cutaway. The 12-fret
model with a D-shaped soundhole was
redesigned in 1934 with 14 frets
of the body and a smaller oval soundhole.
model was a steel-string made for lap-style
playing, essentially a
version of the "Jazz" model except for a
thicker, wider neck, a raised
nut and an optional seventh string.
Finally, the "Orchestre"
model, a less precisely defined steel-string
offered with either a
or D-shaped soundhole, full body or cutaway,
four or six strings.
sold many custom variations through its
dealers and the "Orchestre"
encompassed them all.
its London dealer, were built on either a
small body or on the standard
cutaway "Jazz" body. The little ones were
"ténor" guitars, with
shorter scales intended for tuning in fifths
like a tenor banjo, while
the larger ones known either as modèle
"Orchestre" or, in one
the "guitare Eddie Freeman," in honor of an
active jazz guitarist
in England. The Freemans were intended to
be tuned in Freeman's own
unusual reëntrant tuning. Selmer also
produced a few large-body plectrum
with a more conventional long neck, intended
for the more customary plectrum
The D-hole models of 1932-33 were designed to contain
Maccaferri's patented Internal
Resonator, which comprised a sort of second wooden
inside the regular body. The
Jazz," destined to become Django Reinhardt's preferred
guitar to the
of his career, was introduced around the middle of
l934, after Mario
association with Selmer had ended. It had a small
and somewhat different internal bracing. Almost as
had no internal resonator.
On 25 September l952,
sold its stock of wood, parts, patterns, molds,
machinery and its last
instruments to the Paris luthier, Jean Beuscher.
During the entire
of the Selmer guitar atelier, less than a thousand
Charle, the noted luthier,
collector and dealer in Paris, wrote and
published the definitive book on Selmer and
Maccaferri guitars. Work on this labor of
love began in earnest a decade before it
finally appeared in print in 1999. In the
process of preparing this work, he
documented hundreds of the surviving Selmer
guitars, traveling all over Europe to do
interviews and take photos. In this effort,
he enjoyed the support and cooperation of
myriad other collectors, experts, and
musicians around the world. The book was
released in 1999. Both its
French and English hardback editions sold out
quickly, but it remains available in
plans for a Selmer, anyone? Click here.
To find out more about François Charle, visit:
Do you own a Selmer
François Charle is archiving a
complete database on Selmer guitars
and has over 500 in his list
Please contact him about it,
if you haven't already.
All references kept
a line click
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