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Old French D-Hole Django Guitar

Hi,

I´m new to this forum. A few years ago, I bought this D-hole Django-guitar in a small guitar shop, where it was hidden in the back of the shop. The previous owner traded the guitar for an electric guitar. Unfortunately I have not much information on the guitar. The owner of the shop told me, that the previous owner said, that the guitar was build in France in the late 50´s or early 60´s by a luthier with the name Etienne. It seems, as if a sound-box was originally installed in the guitar, because one can see marks inside, where it was mounted and later removed. Does anybody in this forum has any information on a french luthier with the name Etienne? Or any ideas on the origin of the guitar shown in the pics? The guitar is very well build, relatively heavy and plays and sounds very good (specially as a rhythm guitar), although not very loud. No label inside. I´m not sure about the wood.

Wolfgang
«13

Comments

  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Etienne was a classical builder in Paris from about 1830 to 1895. Hard to say what your guitar might be but I think maybe the seller got the name of the builder incorrect. The other thing that is a red flag to me is the fret markers. The ninth dot is an indication of a western builder for the era.

    Not trying to take any wind out of your sails. Just trying to pin down some more info. It looks like a nice guitar.

    Is that Mahogany back and sides? Do you know if it is laminated or sold back and sides?

    It looks like the neck is Maple???

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    Josh, which Etienne do you mean? Etienne LaPrevotte was a good deal earlier than that.

    This looks like a neat guitar. How's it sound?

    Assuming Wolfgang bought it in Germany, I would assume it's at least European, if not French. I recall seeing an Olivieri guitar that I think looked a bit like this one and had a 9th-fret dot, but I'm not able to find any Olivieri pictures via Google. I think there were quite a few builders in Europe making guitars in this style, or at least building a few, and surely many more who just built one or two.

    John
  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    Or maybe this guy Enesa:

    http://www.gypsyguitars.com/makers.php? ... tatus_id=3

    261.jpg

    The date and locale match, and it would explain the letter "E" -- but, darn, this one has a 10th fret dot.

    262.jpg

    Here is the Olivieri I was thinking of...maybe not so similar, but there's that 9th-fret dot:

    Olivieri.jpg

    Castellucias had 9th-fret dots as well.

    You might send an email with pics to Francois Charle, Leo Eimers, Jacques Mazzoleni and some other experts...one of them may know who made your guitar.

    Best,

    John
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 265
    It has 14 frets to the body; I didn't think that 14 fret D-holes were made back then. Nifty!
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    By the 60s Favino was making a 14 long scale and Patenotte was making a 14 short scale. So it's posable for sure. The interesting thing about this guitar is it looks like a Patenotte body style. The red stripe in the binding is cool too! from the pics I would say it was most defiantly hand made. Too many cool detail to be a factory bang out.

    I was thinking of the French luthier Etienne Marie Breton (1827-1895). He was a Violin maker but made some guitars.

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • Wolfi59Wolfi59 GermanyNew
    Posts: 21
    Thanks a lot for your comments. Really a very nice and responding forum here :-) Yes, I bought the guitar in germany in 2003. I think the neck is indeed maple. I´m not sure about the back, but back and sides seem to be laminated. I contacted Francois Charle and Jacques Mazzoleni a while ago, but they both could not identify the guitar. Here is the answer of Francois Charle:

    ------
    Bonjour
    Sorry but I never heard about this maker and I don't recognise any other maker. Many makers sold their guitars to shops who put their name on the guitar. This guitar seems to be in nice condition and of quality. You bought it a nice price. It doesn't look so old but it's hard to tell only on photos.

    Bien à vous
    ------

    I enclose one more photo showing the nice binding around the D-hole.

    Thanks,
    Wolfgang
  • sockeyesockeye Philadelphie sur SchuylkillNew
    Posts: 415
    I wonder if it's not made by Castelluccia. They apparently did make guitars for other shops, like Paul Beuscher, which sold them under their own name.

    The inlaid center strip on the back of your guitar is quite like this 1970s Castelluccia:

    castellucia_bkcu.jpg

    t_03180005_475.jpg

    Best wishes,

    John
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    Good eye on Castelluccia idea but I believe Castelluccia most always does a three piece neck. This guitar in question has a one piece.

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • Josh HeggJosh Hegg Tacoma, WAModerator
    Posts: 622
    You got me thinking more about this possibly being a Castelluccia. So I did some more digging. Here is an image of a 1940s' Castelluccia oval hole. You can see the shape of the sound hole does not match the guitar in question. As well as the peg head is more of a Favino shape. Another interesting thing the is fret board extension and the lack of frets! Cool guitar... But I think these key things tell us that the guitar in question is not a Castelluccia.

    Cheers,
    Josh
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    I wonder if whoever runs this site might be able to help? They seem to have a good knowledge of the history of French lutherie, and have a 'gypsy jazz guitars' page.

    Good luck,
    Jack.
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