The first of the Maccaferri D-hole-Models "Orchestre" of 1932 - 1934 were equipped with the so called "Resonator" (see image right).
The crafting of the Resonators (a kind of sound-funnel inside the body, like a kind of Subwoofer that was supposed to amplify the sound of the guitar) was stopped in the production pretty soon by Selmer
as the results have been marginal and relatively low but the crafting of it extremely difficult and thus expensive.
The Resonator was built in two versions: one Version with just one, another with two holes in the slightly bent wooden soundbox directly underneath the soundhole. Only the first variation did show any real effect, but by the difficukt craftings to built it there was no comparison for work and price so Macafferri and Selmer finally decided to leave it away in the late 1930ies.
But of course there are lots of other features that can tell an expert if a Selmer-Guitar (or any other Gypsyjazz-Guitar) is a real one or not, as we briefly describe it in our article-series "Features of original Favino-Guitars" and "Features of original Busato-Guitars"). It is certain that of course these attibutes may be faked by a good luthier or carpenter as described above, so there is no guarantees - just take care and watch out for the real things...
• the Selmer-Models of all D-hole ("Orchestre") and as well as the O-hole-Series ("Jazz") were without any exception equipped with three-piece-necks, that are joint shortly underneath the headplate (see photo 1, right), as well as fit shortly before the neckjoint (apparently a short space before the body) (see photo 2).
This was maybe due to the shortness of wood already in these pre-war times. And it seems that there wasn´t enough wood in the later war-years around 1939 to 1945 as one-piece wooden pieces to use for to make necks out of it. So there were in many cases different grained wood beeing used to fit the neck out of three shorter pieces (see photo 1). The necks of almost all SELMERs were made out of three-piece walnut-wood with ebony fretboards. In some rare cases also rosewood was used for the fretboards.
• the necks of the early Selmer-Models were almost retangular (see photo right), to guarantee more stability, as ther ewere no trussrods beeing used inside the necks, like nowdays. Later on from the late 40ies the necks of SELMER-guitars were made little more rounded (D-shaped) to give better playablity to the musicians.
• Selmer-Guitars were only equipped with the so called SB-tuners (SB = Salvatore Billardi), which were especially ordered by Selmer/Macafferri (and later on also by Busato and Favino who wanted these quality-tuners also for their own guitars) and were produced by Billardi by Hand.
They are identifyable at the charakteristic "S"-Initials (S = for Selmer) caps of the tuners. (see photo 3 left).
The tuners that have been produced ordered by Busato and Favino for their guitars in the later years at Billardi´s workshop just differ by their engravings on their outside caps (BB for Busato and SB at Favino´s) but not the mechanics itself.
There were two different types beeing used at SELMERs, but no other tuners have been used on Selmer-guitars ever. Of course there are some broken tuners beeing replaced on some even old Selmer-guitars as a replacement. So that is just one evidence for an original Selmer but no proff.
• Another characteristic feature of an original Selmer-Guitar is the size and shape of the head. In comparison to many of the later made Selmerguitar-copies of other luthiers (see Django-Guitarmakers) the headplates of SELMERs are slightly smaller. This distinguishes clearly in many cases from copies (See photo 4 right, headplate). The sound-characteristics of a guitar are definately influenced by that.
The Tailpiece• Here is one more detail that distinguishes real Selmers from many other of their copies: the tailpiece. The original tailpieces of real Selmer-Guitars are made out of real brass (sometimes with silver alloying) with an engraved "S" for Selmer and a piece of ebony in the middle (see photos 5 left, 6 right).
These Tailpieces aren´t to mistake with the cheaper tailpieces that the SAGA Gitane-guitars nowdays are equipped with, even if they also show the engraved "S". The originals are brass, the copies made out of gilded metal plates.
Today the Miller-company in Switzerland is distributing those kind of higher classed gilded brass tailpieces. So it is almost possible to find some "original looking" tailpiece nowdays and the feature is just one more evidence to take in account when evaluating the features that make up a "real original" Selmer-Guitar...
(All images remain copyrighted by their respective owners ©2010)
Read more Details -> Features of original Selmer-Guitars (3/3)
Share this article: