The Bluesbox Collection

1990's D'Aria Gypsy Jazz Guitar

This is a Japanese copy of a "D-Hole" Selmer-Maccaferri guitar. This style of guitar is most often associated with the legendary Manouche Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, although in fact, Django mostly played a later "Oval holed" version, which Selmer produced after Maccaferri ended his association with the firm. The top is solid spruce (probably NOT European spuce, from which all the Selmer and higher quality Selmer copies are made). This close up view shows the gold plated Selmer replica tailpiece, which I bought on eBay, and the adjustable rosewood bridge. Unless you have handled one of these guitars, you are probably not aware (as I was not) that the saddle piece can be adjusted for intonation by moving forward and back on the face between the fixed "wings". It does not have a height adjustment, but I found that a sliver or two of maple veneer under it works wonders. You can also see the mother of pearl trim around the face and soundhole in this view. This side view shows the laminated mahogony sides. Originally, most Selmer guitars were made with maple or walnut bodies, but many of the more modern renditions use other tone woods. The back is also two-piece mahogony, as is the neck and slotted headstock.

Mario Maccaferri was a famous classical guitarist when he started designing jazz guitars in the 1930's. This model reflects a classical sensibility in the slotted head, and the width of the fingerboard. What is really radical about this design is the long scale, almost 26 inches, which is (and was) considerably longer then the average acoustic guitar (around 24 inches). One difference here is that the neck joins the body at the 14th fret - the original Selmer D Hole model joined at the 12th.

To most players familiar with the tonal contrast of a flattop and an archtop guitar, the Selmer-style guitars define a third point on a triangle - as different from the former two as they are from each other. It is usually described as having depth similar to a flattop but with the punch of an archtop.


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