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Django's Selmer

pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
in Welcome Posts: 936
Jimmy Paige playing one of Django's old Selmer.

Was in Les Paul's posession

pick on



  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,174
    I often wonder where and when Les Paul got this guitar. Les's version often changed. Perhaps it was the one that Charles Delaunay took out to America for Django that got broken on the journey.
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 734

    The guitar is in the Mawah museum actually... the whole is in french
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 734
    The guitar was modificated (trussrod etc...)
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,887
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    edited June 2014 Posts: 734
    This guitar is Selmer 813 that was sold by Selmer to Mr. Delplace on March 27th,1950. The story tells that Django used and possessed then this guitar that was given finally by Naguine to les Paul when Django was buried in Samois as a gift to thank Les Paul for his generosity and help to the family.

    Les Paul then asked to Maccaferri to repare the guitar and then John Monteleone the famous luthier had an incredible occasion to casually meet that guitar, here are his own words that he answered to my email:

    "Yes, I did the restoration on this Selmer for Les Paul. To make the story short, I had first spotted this instrument when I was working together with Mario Maccaferri on a guitar building project in 1982. The Selmer, and yes it is an original one, was sitting in a canvas case on top of a file cabinet in Mario's drafting room. I passed by it many times on my way to the mens room. Once I identified it as a Selmer I finally got curious about it and asked Mario about the guitar. He told me that he was supposed to fix it for Les Paul but he never had the time to get around to it.
    So I then told him that I would be happy to do the restoration. We then contacted Mario's good friend, Les, and he approved the deal for me.
    Les explained to me how he had received this guitar from Django's widow as a thank you for assisting her and the family with Django's funeral preparations, and for being a friend to Django. The guitar was indeed one of Django's personal guitars.

    I had a number of conversations with Les during the restoration regarding the neck and fretboard. The body had numerous cracks in the top, and the worst of it was that the neck and neck block had broken into the sides laminations. This was the result of Les having cut the sound hole through to install a pickup. I decided to keep as much original as possible.

    I made a spruce repair patch to fill in the sound hole damage and then cut a new rosette for it.
    The cracks were then spliced. Of course the top had to be removed for all this work. The next step was to restore the caved sides back to normal and to make sure it wouldn't be weakened.

    The bridge was never in the correct placement on the guitar and it seemed to have been worked on years before I got to it. That may have been the result of the fretboard having been replaced by Selmer during the time that Django had the guitar in his possession.

    The neck had a bend in it and Les had always wished that it had a truss rod so that he could make action adjustments according to his playing style. He demanded a very close playing action.
    He also did not like the fretboard that was on it and the zero nut he didn't want on it either. He wanted a new fretboard with an arch radius on it. I was able to install a truss rod that could be adjusted through a small ebony block in the 15th position on the fretboard. You have seen this on the guitar. This was done so that the headstock would not be disturbed. The adjustment was very easy to do and the neck worked perfectly after that.

    Les was completely satisfied with the guitar after the restoration. It was a thrill for me to have done the work and kept the guitar alive.

    So there you have it.


    John was in fact one of the unique student of Mario Maccafferri... Incredible story!

  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    edited June 2014 Posts: 734
    here are a few photos of this 813
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 734
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 734
    Here's the new interesting trussrod regulations
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    edited June 2014 Posts: 734
    Photos are a precious gift from Mike Kupfer of the Mawah Museum that incredibly accepted to make some shots of the guitar exposed in his museum. Tks a lot Mike for your help!
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 734
    Here's the 0 fret removed
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