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Poll: Build Your Own Selmer?

Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
As an amateur guitar builder (completed one Selmer style, working on #2), I'm curious how many forum readers are building Selmer style guitars, either as amateurs or professionals or have an interest in doing so.

Besides the poll, how about chiming in with a post. It would be interesting to know who is out there and what you are building. Wondering whether there is a critical mass of builders reading this forum to kick ideas around with here.



  • Ken BloomKen Bloom Pilot Mountain, North CarolinaNew
    Posts: 164
    Hi Craig,

    I built mine a couple of years ago. I wanted a seven string and was looking for a design that would suit my purposes. It has worked out very well. I've been playing this Selmac seven exclusively for a couple of years now and love it. I am getting ready to do number two to correct all the screw-ups I made on #1 and make some new ones instead. I am not strictly a Gypsyjazzer but have been playing swing for decades along a lot of other genres. I build instruments for aliving, just not guitars. This forum has been amazingly helpful to me in getting even close.

    Ken Bloom
    Ken Bloom
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Anastasio, Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 712
    Hi Craig
    I started my first build last summer after a local builder visited our Hot Club in Glasgow, Scotland. This guys guitars are superb, back and sides built from plywood with a decent spruce top. They look a bit rough but they have a fanatastic sound, loud, cutting and just oozing that Selmer tone.

    Anyway after his visit I thought if he can do it so can I. I had bought some cedar about a year previously and decided to use this for the top. There then followed a period of reading about guitar construction, collecting tools, glues etc. I converted my garden shed into a workshop and started work.

    I decided my first build should be a copy of the Di Mauro Chorus, smaller than a Selmer with two f-holes. I just liked the look of them. I drew up my own plans, guessed at the bracing sizes etc and started building. I began with the top which is now complete and at the same time laminated up the neck, Cedrela on the oustides with a central mahogany strip. I completed the top and then the cold weather started which meant that gluing etc was not possible so production stopped for winter.

    My original plan had been to use plywood for the back and sides but I tried bending it and it just snapped because of the way it's made so I've bought some African Mahogany for the back and sides.

    Anyway the weather is getting better now so the building can start again.
    I now have a second build waiting to start and this will be more of a traditional Selmer build but with a few departures from the usual design.
    For this I have Brazilian Mahogany for the back and sides, Alpine spruce for the top, maple for the neck and ebony for the fingerboard.

    I've made most of my own jigs and working tools where possible and today I bought a 22" long wooden bodied plane. I had extreme difficulty in joining the cedar bookmatched tops as I was using too small a plane to ensure a completely flush join and the longer plane should sort that problem.

    Anyway, that's about it for the moment, I look forward to this post continuing and I will certainly post updates and pics of my builds if anyone's interested.

    always learning
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,736
    I just assembled my first 12 fret D-hole 'in the white' (no lacquer yet). It plays great (a modern neck width, action and profile), is loud, and has a great tone for rhythm but just a bit "wet" for leads but not as bad as the Gitanes I have owned. I'm hoping I can dial in a drier tone with a little more set-up (any suggestions???) and, of course, the final finishing.

    Next step, an oval hole.
  • BohemianBohemian State of Jefferson✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 303
    I have "amalgamated" several sets of plans into one (actually 3...nylon D hole and steel D hole and oval)

    I have wood enough for several and have about finished with moulds and jigs.

    It is a project for 2009. ( that started in 2004)

    I am not buulding my "first" guitar but this will be my first Gypsy Jazz style.
  • richdaiglerichdaigle SLC,UT✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 181
    This past monday I put the final coat of nitro on my 4th Selmac...I started building guitars with my dad as a kid ,took 25 years off and got back into building about 8 years ago and was building nothing but archtops for quite some time. But being a Django freak it was just a matter of time, til I attempted the Selmac. The first was a disappointment, the neck agle was off and the top was a bit thick...but the second two have been my main axes,one standard oval and one a short scale 14fret Dhole, you can hear them on my band's CD "Gypsy Daydream" at

    I'm really excited about the tone of #4

    Rich D
  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Posts: 794
    I must say I am heartened by the number of people building guitars on this forum. I can tell by your posts that your interest runs deep and I am impressed by the diversity of your experience. Are you interested in discussing building issues in a public forum? I thought about trying to organize an email list, but that makes it harder for newcomers to join in the discussion. It is sort of a niche thing and I don't expect a lot of people to be that interested, but the internet is able to bring us few, scattered all over, together like never before.

    I'm thinking of posting experiences and questions on the building process as I go along and was wondering about how we might keep these building threads distinct. Michael is understandably reluctant to open yet another forum category, so how about if we post in the Guitar & Gear forum and preface our posts with BYO: (Build Your Own:) so we can find them later using the search tool. Example: BYO: Best Glue for Laminating Backs and Sides? (my next post :wink: )

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,736

    Sounds great! I'll keep an eye in the G & G forum.

    In the past I have just been watching Bob's posts and PM'ing him.
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