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Category Archives: Gypsy Guitars

A new Petite Bouche, Selmer size.  The bark is strong with this one:

European spruce top, curly mahogany back and sides, Ivory celluloid bindings.   Neck is 670 scale, mahogany shaft, Ebano fingerboard, nickel silver frets.   Miller enclosed tuner and tail piece.  French polish finish.    Sold.

Something different.  Sami Arefin of Ultrafaux, Hot Club of Baltimore, et. al.  is hooked on Brazilian Choro and asked if I’d consider building a Del Vecchio style resonator tenor guitar, aka a violão tenor.   Sami plays Corazón #1 and has been a big support of my guitars so I said sure even though I knew nothing about these.  Sami and I brain stormed for a week and gathered enough information to get started.   We decided to use my Selmer style parlor guitar as a platform.   My earliest Selmer guitar mentor Bill Raymond was very kind to send me his plans for a six string Del Vecchio which answered many questions about body dimensions, top, back and side thicknesses, bracing and the sound well construction.   Paul Beard guitars had Del Vecchio resonator cones ready to go.  So it all fell in place.

Laminated top, back and sides ala Del Vecchio, curly walnut.   Poplar sound hole.  Beard Del Vecchio resonator cone, biscuit, bridge and screened hole covers.   Finish is polished marine spar varnish for long term durability.  18:1 Grover tuners.   Ebano fingerboard, stainless steel frets and double action truss rod. Scale is a short 22-7/8″ to accommodate the tuning in fifths and the resulting long reaches for chords.     Sami says it sounds exactly like what he hears on recordings by Brazilian violão tenor master Garoto and seems to very happy with it.

Jonas Fromseier tried some of my guitars at Django in June this year and liked the strong direct sound of the Corazón but wanted a petite bouche on a Selmer size body.   Voila!   A Selmer size guitar with bracing inspired by Joseph DiMauro the elder.   Two braces near the bridge, more widely spaced than Selmer, one large brace under the end of the fingerboard and a thicker top than usually found on Selmers.  The result is, I think, just what Jonas was looking for:

Selmer size, petite bouche, Lutz spruce top, curly French walnut back and sides (laminated).  Walnut neck, 670 scale, Ebano fingerboard, nickel silver 45 x 100 frets,  Miller tuners and tail, a light tinting and full French polish.   Tone is fundamental and articulate.   Very responsive with quick attack and a large dynamic range which seems to fits Jonas’s style of playing well.

A Dimauro style petite bouche for DC player James Key.  James contributed a lot to the specifics and the look.   Dimauro plantilla, cedar top with bracing ala Joseph Dimauro the Elder, arched back in curly walnut.   Butternut and walnut neck, ebony fingerboard, nickel silver 45 x 100 frets.  Miller hardware, French polish finish.

Bob Becker asked for a gypsy guitar with a parlor guitar size body, that is 14-1/2″ on the lower bout.   At first, I was skeptical, but Bob clearly knows his gypsy guitars owning both an Henri Selmer petite bouche and a Selmer Maccafferi Gran Bouche.   After some discussion, we figured it was worth a shot.   The result is a little guitar that thinks it is a big guitar.   Small in size but mighty in its voice.   Bob says “its a banjo killer!”.  But also has great tone separation and clarity as well as enough complexity to be interesting while crushing banjos.     I’m grateful to Bob for his trust and confidence to go forward with this unique design.

Parlor size body (370mm x 472mm), 640mm scale.   European spruce top braced late Selmer style, Birdseye maple back and sides.   Butternut neck with walnut spline.   Nickel silver frets, ebony fingerboard.   Other than the narrower body, she’s all gypsy.

 

More old school.   Dimauro body shape, cedar top, walnut back and sides, arched back, 670 scale, walnut neck, nickel silver frets, Rocklite Sundari fingerboard, ebony pick guard, white bindings, satin finish, Schaller tuners, old school tailpiece.

By request, a replica of a 1934 Selmer Maccaferri model Orchestra sans resonator.   Diverted from my usual head stock logo and label to comply with owner’ s request that the guitar looks as much like the original as possible (fun!).   Carpathian spruce top, walnut back and sides.   Walnut neck, ebony fingerboard.   Nickel silver frets, Miller tuners and tail.   Satin French polish finish.   Really pleased how it turned out both the look and the sound.

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A redwood Derecho for Carl Rothman.    100+ year old redwood top, curly walnut back and sides.   Mahogany neck, Ebano fingerboard and bridge, stainless frets.  Miller hardware, French polish finish.   In the last 12 months, have made four Derechos, first ones since 2016.   The Derecho is patterned on the medium size D hole guitars of Jacques Castelluccia.   Four brace, somewhat thicker tops than the fiver brace Selmer design which gives them a great old school sound.

 

 

 

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Michael Joseph Harris in the test driver’s seat.   More details and pics  HERE.

 

A new Derecho for Carter Gravatt, great to work with him on this custom order.   Torrefied sitka top, curly walnut back and sides.  The more I use torrefied spruce, the more I like it.   660mm scale, modern neck shape, Spanish cedar neck, Ebano fingerboard, Evo-Gold greats, low action.   Beautiful Waverly tuners by request.   Miller tail.  Full on French polish.