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Django Reinhardt's Guitars

Django Reinhardt Licks

Django Reinhardt played acoustic guitar his entire career. He played electric once, during his tour with Duke Ellington in the States, but it wasn't a success and he never played amplified again. Django only used 1 brand of guitar: Selmer guitars, typical gypsy jazz instruments with an oval sound hole and very high action.

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Django Reinhardt Licks


Selmer Guitars

Selmer produced guitars between 1932 and 1952. Although they produced a wide variety of instruments, they are particularly known for the 'Modèle Jazz' ( changed to 'Modèle Django Reinhardt' later), made famous by Django Reinhardt. The Selmer Maccaferri was the first guitar with a cutaway and a steel reinforced neck.

The guitar was initially designed by Mario Maccaferri, with a 12-fret neck and a D-shaped sound hole. When Maccaferri left the company, Selmer made some changes to the model, most notable the introduction of the oval sound hole and the lengthening of the neck to 14 frets.

Almost all Selmer guitars were made of laminated Indian rosewood with walnut necks and an ebony fingerboard. The tops are solid French spruce, what defines the sound of the guitar the most (besides the player).

Django Reinhardt got an endorsement deal with Selmer, so many Selmer guitars passed his hands (he sold or gave away a lot of them). There are 2 guitars that we are sure of belonged to Django: n°503 and n°704.
N°503 came in Django's possession in 1940 and he played it until his dead in 1952. Now the guitar is exposed in the Musée Instrumental de Paris.
N°704 came into his possession in 1948, just before a tour in Italy. The top was crushed during that tour and replaced by an Italian luthier.

Django Reinhardt used very light silk-and-steel strings ( .010 to .046) on his guitar.

Django liked to use the thickest guitar picks he could find, most of the time using natural tortoise shell.

Selmer stopped producing guitars in 1952. Today Selmer guitars are extremely rare and very much sought after. During the entire history of Selmer guitars, less than thousand guitars were made.

Selmer style guitars are reproduced by luthiers like Michael Dunn and John Kinnard.

Django Reinhardt's Selmer Guitar

Other Guitars

Django Reinhardt used an Epiphone Zephyr #3442 (other sources say a Gibson L5) with a DeArmond pickup hooked to an Epiphone amplifier for a short time during his tour with Duke Ellington 1946. After that tour he never played electric again.

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