it a Maccaferri?
is it a Selmer?
Selmer Maccaferri book
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on Selmer guitars
Whether you're 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
From the beginning in
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 soundhole.
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 cutaway.
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.
Selmer's four-string guitars, made
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. These were intended to be tuned in Freeman's own
reentrant tuning. Selmer also produced a few large-body plectrum
with a more conventional neck, intended for the more customary plectrum
The D-hole models of 1932-33 were
intended to contain Maccaferri's patented Internal
Resonator, which comprised of a sort of second wooden soundbox
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 vertical oval
and somewhat different internal bracing. Almost as importantly, it
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 guitars were
François Charle, the noted luthier, collector and dealer
in Paris, has written and published the definitive book on Selmer and
guitars. Work on this labor of love began in earnest a decade ago. In
process of preparing this study, he has documented hundreds of the
Selmer guitars, traveling all over Europe to do interviews and take
In this effort, he has enjoyed the support and cooperation of myriad
collectors, experts, and musicians around the world. The book, released
in 1999, was a very limited edition, and is now out of print.
Keep your eyes open!
Working plans for a Selmer,
anyone? Click here.
out more about Rosyne and François Charle.
Visit their website: www.rfcharle.com
Do you own a Selmer guitar?
François Charle is archiving a
database on Selmer guitars
and has over 500 in his list already.
Please contact him about it, if you haven't
All references kept strictly
Pour envoyer à François Charle un email
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