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Welcome to our Homepage. offers all kind of Infos on Jazz-Manouche or Gypsyjazz
the music of Django Reinhardt and his heritage, about Guitars, News, Workshops
and the hisstory of this music. We offer the biggest guitar-gallery on old gypsyguitars,
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All about GJ-guitars (en)

Polak Gypsyjazzguitars

polak logo black 600x250Polak Gypsyjazzguitars is a new company founded in 2016 but which has morphed from the well known "ERG Guitars" already founded back in 1987.

Model Bertino - Tobacco Series"Polak Gypsyguitars" founded by luthier Edward Polak belongs to the very few companies worldwide who builds absolutely outstanding Gypsyjazz guitars available these days.

Especially the "Model Bertino" (image right, Model Bertino - Tobacco series) in built in different makings (Maple Series, Tobacco Series and Eucalypt Series) and the models of Yakoov Hooter´s "Gypsyjazz Premium"-series are to mention here. Oustanding Gypsyjazz Guitars which not only look like this but also sound outstanding.

Model Bertino - Maple Series
Who is Edward Polak?
Edward Polak grew up in Belarus and started building his first guitar at the age of 15 he traded it for a bike! Ever since, he has been building guitars of many kinds: electric, bass, acoustic and Gypsy. Edward used the knowledge he gained over 25 years of building musical instruments to establish his own company in Russia and later in Israel. His company was previously known as ERG is now Polak Guitars, proudly bearing the master luthier's name.

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Why Polak Guitars?
With over 25 years in the field, we have gained a level of expertise that allows us to perfect our work, raise it to a premium level and impart the highest qualities to our creations.factory 08

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We never compromise on materials, hardware, tools or even the smallest screw. Our stock of woods was dried in the best climates of Israel for at least ten years.

Every guitar undergoes thorough quality inspection to make sure you get the best instrument you ever held.

Jeder Arbeitsschritt wird sogfälttig von Hand durchgeführt. Maschinen übernehmen nur manchen harten Teil der Arbeit welche lediglich maschinell erledigt werden kann (sägen, bohren, pressen etc.).

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The guitars of the series "Model Bertino" are beeing hand-laquered with "French finish" (Schellack). After applying each layer it has to be dryed first, will be sanded again and applied the next layer of laquer and so forth. The whole process of laquering takes 14 days in all until the guitar has reached the right consistency and colour. Watch Eddi Polak work the laquer in the video here:

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JM-Guitars & More

Selmer 1933dimauro 1940 ch 01 20121018 1066792338On the following pages you find lots of detailed  informations about the famous Selmer-, Busato-, Favino- and DiMauro-Guitars. offers you compact and collected  infos on the exact details of these rare and expensive guitars, as of their history and their makers.
The more we also briefly describe the exact details of these rare instruments plus give you many more background-infos to these details and how you can recognize those kind of instruments.

This may be of great interest especially when buying such an instrument, as these guitars nowdays are really expensive due to their pure age and out of the fact that many of these have just been produced in a limited amount. So they are rarely for sale meanwhile for high prices up to 5-digit Europrices.

So the prices for a rare original Selmer-Guitar (depending on its age ans state) vary from 10.000 to "OpenEnd"-prices up to 30-40.000.- EUR. Original Favinos, Busatos and DiMauro-Guitars are mostly buyable around 4-digit Euro-prices.

If you spent that much money on a guitar you need to know exactly if the instrument that you want to buy is really original.
As of everywhere else on the internet as well there are cheaters and forgers around on the market that try to sell (mostly cheap) forged copies of these kind of rare guitars as "real ones" to people who dont know the exact details of them.
And paying a 4-5-digit sum for a guitar like that may end up in a real desaster very quick for you if you notice you have been cheated afterwhat...

Thats one of the reasons we offer our JM-Guitar-Gallery for reseach of serialnumbers and other details of certain rare Gypsyjazz-Guitars (meanwhile we have 1.800+ images of old Gypsyjazzguitars in our Gallery). On our detailpages of the JM-Guitar-Gallery as inside the description-pages of Selmer-, Busato-, Favino- and DiMauro-Guitars you are able to find lots of detailed information on the specific details of these instruments with a brief description and images of every kind of guitarmodel and how to determine what kind of instrument has which kind of feature to recognize it right away.

Of course meanwhile worldwide there are other guitarmakers of all nations who built these kind of Selmer-Copies nowdays for worthwhile and payable prices between 400.- and +/- 5000-10.000.- EUR. On this page we give you an overview of these JM-Guitarmakers with webpages and adresses.

  1. Polak-Gypsyguitars

    ...Your choice for great Gypsyguitars...

    ...all handbuilt from top materials...

    ...unique making and design...

    Read more
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  3. The REAL Gypsyjazz Book

    More than 300 (Gypsy-)Jazztunes...

    on 230 pages professionally designed...

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    Only 24,90 €

    Check it out here
  4. For sale!

    ERG Model Bertino - Maple series

    handbuilt Gypsyjazz-Guitar

    Tiger Maple, Miller-Hardware

    Special price: 3.100.-€ + shipping

    Read more

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Faked GJ-Guitars

Regrettably there are many cheaters and forgers around anywhere trying to ripp off someone elses money ... especially this is, like in real life, all the same often happening on the internet.
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So at this place we like to give out a warning as there are always also faked guitars around, trying to be sold as "real rarities". Very often these are gypsyjazz-models of the famous luthier Favino (but all the same Selmer- or Busato-Guitars), beeing offered on the Internet.
Sometimes they are beeing offered just as "Django-guitar" another time "original old Favino of Jacques Favino", as well as "original Selmer" oder "Busato"...
Fake Busato
As these guitars are, according to their age and rarity, beeing sold for high prices starting from 4-digit prices for Favinos or to up to 5-digits when talking about Busatos or even open-end-prices when it comes to rare Selmers - always depending on their state and age of course - there are always criminal tricksters that want to make their business from these facts.
But if one really knows about the details and facts of old Gypsyjazz-guitars, one also may distinguish faked guitars from the real originals, as there are lots of details that make it possible to determin if such an instrument is really original or not.

As a good example for faked guitars here we show an obviously faked Favino-guitar which has been on sale in 2008 for about 6.500.- € (image left) offered as a rare Favino-model built in 1982. At first this guitar has been offered thru eBay, after a while beeing offered thru the private website of the "owner".

Additionally here we show another impressing example of a faked Busato (image right) which also had been offered on the internet thru eBay in 2010. And the more we have another example of a faked Selmer-guitar which also was on sale on eBay in 2009 for the reasonable price of 13.500.- €, just - it wasn´t original (image left below)!Selmer 1932 No361 Fake 5

If you closely look at all these guitars you will very easily determin the features why these are faked guitars and why they can´t be originals. We additionally offer a lot more information on these subjects in our article-series Features of original Selmer-Guitars, Features of original Busato-Guitars, Features of original Favino-guitars and Features of original DiMauro-Guitars, were we briefly describe the most important facts and details on these rare instruments.

So if you are suggesting to buy such a fine and expensive instrument you should inform yourself closely in advance, collecting as much information possible, to avoid possible fraud or loss of money. As a first step e.g. you might take a look inside our JM-Guitar-Gallery searching for the details of such guitars (we have 1800+ images of old Gypsyjazzguitars in our gallery which is updated constantly). Otherwise you may spent a whole lot of money to burglars that cheat you with a faked guitar which you cannot sell yourself afterwhat anymore, thus having lost all your money spent on it.

But it´s not only about the faked guitars but also about the way these cheaters use to work, which happens all around ... as it happened to one of our JM-Users. Forgers are selling instruments on the net which they don´t own at all, trying to collect the money for it thru different channels (Western-Union or alike) off their potential buyer in advance. Many of them are trying to sell thru portals like eBay and others.

These cheaters often show images that they collected on the net, offering rare instruments on classified ads, most of the time offering for prices which are way beyond lower than the original prices on the market. The potential buyer is encouraged to send his payment to a "trust forewarding"-company or Western-Union in advance, which in real never exits. Be sure to read the story of our JM-user in our article deception while selling Favino.

Regrettably even with cheaper instruments of this kind there are people who try to cheat others. There are guitars which are beeing offered as "high-quality" Selmer-copies beeing offered for a multiple price of their original cost, and which are not worth even part of the price beeing offered for. Here you find such an actual example of a Selmer-copy which was offered as "high class wood" instrument for double of the original new price. This is a Richwood-Guitar (new price 399.-€) which was offered for 798 .-€ in used condition! So one really has to be careful when buying such a guitar on the internet.
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Überteuerte Gitarren im Internet Beispiel

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Überteuerte Gitarren im Internet Beispiel

If you dont have an clue by yourself on these kind of guitars ask a friend or someone who really knows about these guitars. Because otherwise the first look cheap bargain may end up in a draged buy very soon in the end...

Also be sure to read our 7 tipps for buying JM-guitars. on these subjects. And of course whenever you buy an (expensive) guitar always take care!

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What is CITES?

how cites worksOf course we all know that already countless animal and botanical species are exterminated, so without international arrangements it is apparently not at all possible to limit this unblessed trend and to provide for the continuity of those animal and botanical species.
Therefore, in 1973 an agreement which should regulate from now on worldwide trade with copies of protected kinds was signed in Washington. In the meantime, more than 180 states have ratified this agreement and have transferred and integrated it into their national law. Regularly there are meetings beeing held by the signatory's states to develop the agreement and to adapt the protective regulations.

It is the „Convention on Internationally Trade in Endangered Species of game fauna and flora“ – briefly called CITES.
In Germany 16 federal states are entrusted with the conversion of the regulations for trade within Germany or the EU.
For the granting of CITES approvals to the one or reexportation from countries or into countries beyond the EU the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN) in Bonn is responsible. There are many recommendable websites on the net on CITES. Here we focus on the basics of the regulations.

Cites in 2016
At the end of September / beginning of October 2016 the signatories again have met in South Africa and have agreed to new regulations. Three months ago they come into force in the single countries, starting from the January 2nd 2017.

Nothing was changed in the status of Rio rosewood, this wood is still in the highest protective class (in the so-called appendix CITES I).
Any trade, any processing is forbidden, unless, a trader can prove that the material has been legally taken from the nature before 1992. Important to know for musicians: this is, e.g., the case if he/she has owned the wood / instrument already before 1992. This has to be prooved by bills or other legal papers to show the officials.

Any Objects of this wood – in our case instruments – may be traded not without necessary EU certificates, the transport over EU-borders and any commercial utilisation is possible only with CITES approvals or EU certificates.

In the case of any instruments affected this means that they may not even be displayed without those EU certificates commercially in any case, even for live-shows nor on images (at sales for example).
Even luthiers may also not accept such instruments for repair, except only if the owner has the necessary proof that disposes documents for the legal possession (covered to the protection of endangered species-juridical regulations).

Actually more question marks than facts are about that whole CITES issue. Also the written guidelines of the branch associations are mainly recommendations – which effects all these new CITES regulations will really have for musicians is still to develop.

However, it is to be assumed anyway from the facts that traders and instrument-builders (luthiers) are confronted with clearly bigger expenditure than the musicians themselfes. But this is only a supposition.
Who really want to be safe, should register all of his affected guitars, basses or other instruments etc. until january 2nd 2017. Besides, a phone call at the local nature conservation authority is recommended, to find out the responsable editor for this issue at your local Agency for Nature Conservation.

Read more on - What means CITES for musicians?

What means CITES for musicians?

how cites works
To say it clear: the whole issue of CITES is somewhat complicated!

Rio rosewood, the favourite wood of most luthiers, is under the strictest protection of endangered species and may be traded only under definite conditions and be processed already since 1992.

However, this has penetrated into the consciousness of all partners real properly only some years ago, since the authorities more strictly control all rules and bans.
Especially all vintage traders, but also manufacturers of high-quality guitars were irritated since that time and try to come to an arrangement with these conditions ever since. Many musicians do not dare to be in public anymore with their instruments, many do not even take them on the stage anymore. As said if it is about Rio rosewood, about finger-boards, frames, grounds, footbridges or simply veneer, the state of issue is complicated.

From the 2nd of January 2017 on, the situation still becomes even more complicated, because now all rosewood kinds, not only Rio, are put under protection of endangered species. More than 300 different rosewood variations from all over the world! In addition Bubinga and Kosso are added to the list, which actually dont play such a big part in instrument-building as sound-wood.

Which wood is exactly concerned?

All kinds of rosewood including all subspecies are concerned. Amongst that list is the very often used "Indian rosewood" (Dalbergia latifolia). Also under protection are now three kinds of Bubinga (Guibourtia tessmannii, Guibourtia pellegriniana, Guibourtia demeusei) as well as Kosso Pterocarpus erinaceus.

What does this mean for musicians?

Who ever owns any instrument with these woods and uses it just at home, must act at all. No officials will knock at the door and ask for a certificate for any guitar. Also the travelling and the playing of concerts within the EU area is still unproblematic.
In addition the branch associations SOMM, GDM and BDMH have published a written information together for the classification of important and related woods in the appendix II of the protection of endangered species agreement CITES.

„Possession: No proof documents are necessary for the pure possession.“
„Travelling within the EU: With travelling within the EU no arrangements are to be made.“

Travelling in the non-EU foreign countries:
For travelling into a non-Eu country the entrainment of music instruments which contain affected woods is permitted without presentation of documents, as long as the amounts of weight of the wood affected by CITES II  in all music instruments together is less than 10 kg.
The weight of transport containers and accessories is not included hereby. This regulation is valid only for the personal entrainment for not commercial reasons.“

Because most guitars and basses contain mostly only finger-boards from real rosewood, here only a very small part of instruments are affected by the regulation - relatively clear and thus unproblematic for most musicians.

What applies for the sales of affected instruments?

Once more a hint of the branch associations:

„For sales within the EU: For the sales a proof document is to be recommended. This is in general the commercial calculation (sales bill) or a confirmation on which the consumption of legal wood CITES II is stated.
If no such proofs are given, the duty or the local responsible federal state authority can confiscate products if they are offered from privately to the sales.“

In plain English: Who would like to sell his affected instrument from 2017 on, must prove that he has acquired this before THE REORGANISATION of CITES. This is not done with the information of the serial number of any instrument, as this merely brags, when the instrument was built, but not, when the owner has acquired it.

What can to be done?

The branch associations publish a clear recommendation: register your Instruments! „In your own interest, these instruments should be registered until february 1st 2017 as a so-called "preacquisition product".
„Up to this date the responsible authority will assume that the affected instruments were bought and in the possession before the beginning of the new regulation without other proofs.
Though after this date a registration is further possible as a "preacquisition product", but then however, the authority requires proofs (purchase documents, continuance proofs from the last stocktaking or similar) about the fact that the instruments have been acquired before february 1st 2017.

Who owns no purchase document to his instrument, as it will happen to absolutely many which have bought guitars privately, may be in trouble. Or has a very high expenditure to prove the acquisition date.

Everyone who applies for registering his instrument at the nature conservation authorities will get a file number assigned which announces the continuance for the whole registration process there. This file number must exist with the information on a sales receipt stating the wood of which the guitar is built from – even if one sells the instrument privately. Moreover, one stands in the accountancy duty at the nature conservation authorities (I.e. also every continuance change (sales) must be announced with the officials).

Read more - what is CITES?

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