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Django on electric

CynekulCynekul New
edited February 2005 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 38
Does anyone know if Django used the same technique when he played electric as he did on his Selmer? If so does the gypsy picking work well on modern electric guitars?

~Paul
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Comments

  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    Paul, I can answer your second question most assuredly yes. I use Gypsy picking on an archtop here at school. The only time I don't use it is when I play with the Rock-n-Roll band I am in (actually it works nice on Brand New Cadillac which we play very fast). Usually If I am playing Jazz I am using Gypsy picking. To your first question (this maybe corrected by someone like Michael or Ted) Yes Django usued the same technique on Electric. I know a lot of his electric recordings were made with his Selmer with a Stimer pick-up attached (killin Combo by the way)
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • CynekulCynekul New
    Posts: 38
    Good to talk to you again Caleb. I'm currently considering buying one of those miller pickups. I wish I could hear one first but ah well.

    ~Paul
  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    I heard they are pretty close to a stimer but I have never used one for shure. As soon as I get a new sel-mac I am going to make damn shure I order a stimer repro one the same day. Call it played out if want but I love the sound of that combo.
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • CynekulCynekul New
    Posts: 38
    Do you know of any recordings specifically where Django is using a Stimer pickup? Would love to get acquainted with that sound.

    ~Paul
  • nwilkinsnwilkins New
    Posts: 431
    Pretty much all of Django's electric recordings were made with a Stimer. For the greatest gypsy jazz electric tone (Stimer with Fender amp and a ton of reverb) try to find recordings of Maurice Ferre :)
  • drollingdrolling New
    Posts: 153
    What an ear opener! I've always loved Django's late stuff - the slower tempo ballads where he uses distortion (perhaps unintentional?) and sustain to such great effect! Having seen pictures of him with electric archtops (from his trip to USA?) I'd always assumed that was what I was hearing. Clearly, I'm going to have to start saving up for some kind of clip-on sound hole pickup. Stimer's are pretty rare, no? What can you guys suggest that will get me into the ballpark? Thanks very much for the information. I'm going to put on "Peche a la Mouche" right now...
  • Ted GottsegenTed Gottsegen Rowayton, CTModerator
    Posts: 611
    Hi Drolling,
    drolling wrote:
    What an ear opener! I've always loved Django's late stuff - the slower tempo ballads where he uses distortion (perhaps unintentional?)

    During this era, distortion was par for the course. Amplification was in it's infancy so it was anything but intentional.
    drolling wrote:
    and sustain to such great effect! Having seen pictures of him with electric archtops (from his trip to USA?) I'd always assumed that was what I was hearing.

    To me, it's really difficult to tell which guitar/pick-up/amp combination Django is using where. Photographical evidence show he was using at least one early prototype Stimer pick-up and later the ST48, the Gibson L5 with the DeArmond pick-up, the osbsure European archtop he used on tour in Switzerland. Yet the only video footage surviving of "electric era" Django shows him using his Epiphone. He had at least two amps, the Stimer and the Epiphone. PLUS, he tended to "forget" to bring a guitar to the gig...so who knows how many other brands he used and/or recorded with? If we take this, combine it the knowledge Stimer pick-ups are not that distinctive that we can tell what he used where than it's easy to know that using a good pick-up, and a good amp, you can get that sound, or something close to it.

    To put this in perspective I have some live recordings of Moreno playing a maple bodied Favino with a Stimer on one session and a DeArmond FHC on another (I know what he's playing because I have photos from each show), and his sound is virtually the same. BTW - he tends to play through a Marshall amp.
    drolling wrote:
    Clearly, I'm going to have to start saving up for some kind of clip-on sound hole pickup. Stimer's are pretty rare, no?

    No, they have been reiussed and are available from http://www.gypsyguitars.com/accessories.php. They are pricey, though. Equally as pricey as a vintage DeArmond. Vintage Stimers run approx. $500. IF you can find one.
    drolling wrote:
    What can you guys suggest that will get me into the ballpark? Thanks very much for the information. I'm going to put on "Peche a la Mouche" right now...

    Pick-Ups and Action
    I would suggest you get a Stimer or even a DeArmond and raise your action. Putting the pick-up too close to the strings will cancel out the sound, and make it sound like total crap. Idealy you'll want approx. 3.5mm at the 12th fret, maybe even closer to 4mm.

    Amplifier
    To get the classicnasty sound, use an old amp like an Oahu, or Epiphone or Gibson from the 1940's. They tend to get dirty and lower volumes. To get Django's cleaner "Pech a la Mouche" sound, I would suggest using some sort of tube amp and get it clean as possible. A bargain in the vintage tube amp catagory is the Ampeg ReverRocket, you can get one from the early '60's for $300 - $400. Ninine uses a small, solid state Roland amp, played through a large speaker, while Maurice Ferret & Joseph Pouville used 1970's era Fender Twins. Jacques Montagne used a Stimer or Selmer amp. There is lots to choose from, and sound is subjective, I'd say head on down to a guitar shop and plug and play. Dallas Baumgartner (Django's great grandson) plays through a Deluxe.

    If you want to get a great, '50's style rock n' roll sound (Sarane Ferret had this and it sounds EXCEPTIONAL in this style), you need a guitar with a very thin top. I played a gig with someone who had a DiMauro from the 1930's with a Stimer, and he played it through a 1960's Fender Deluxe and by the middle of the set, his tone was absolutely awesome! Too bad he sold the guitar.

    Pick-Up Placement
    When I played Mondine Garcia's Favino in Paris (the maple Favino herehttp://djangoreinhardt.free.fr/album.htm, you can see his pick-up is almost flush again the fingerboard.

    Strings
    There is a problem with strings, in that if your pick-up is too close to the strings, the B string runs very hot (ie. extra loud). This is alleviated by the action measurements above, or by replacing the G string with a nickel plated G of the same gauge.

    Attack
    The last thing you should know about these, is that the tendency is to continue to play the guitar as if it was an acoustic, but it's not. All of the Parisian guys (except Moreno) who use Stimer pick-ups play very softly, because the pick-up obviously changes the guitar from an acoustic to an electric. Samy Daussat told me that it took him three years of regular use with a Stimer before he felt comfortable and understood how to use it. Going into an electric gypsy guitar with all this knowledge before will make the transition easier.

    Or, you could do what Ninine, Jeannot Malha, Moritz Weiss and others do and simply use electric archtops with heavy gauge, flatwound strings.

    Best,

    Ted
  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    Ted, Absolutely great post!!!!
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • drollingdrolling New
    Posts: 153
    What a load of information - and so fast! I've loved this music for so long, but my fingers were stuck in the pentatonic blues box and my ear really sucks. The recent availability of teaching material coupled with the sudden appearance of cheap Selmac guitars (I first saw them in a guitar buyer's guide quite a few years ago - took it around to all the local music shops where I was met with blank, uncomprehending stares) have rocketed me into a new dimension of musical growth.

    I've already got quite a few old tube amps and some taller Stew-Mac bridges for my Gitanes, so that just leaves me in need of a proper pickup. I have jacked up the action on my old ES-125 and put on some heavy flatwounds, but the hum from the P-90 pickup still drives me crazy. Right now I'm listening to Django in Paris and Brussels (the old CD without all the extra material and alternate takes) and am wondering what he was using on that unbelievable version of "Troubland Bolero" - sustain just bordering on the edge of feedback that most of us electric players take years to learn how to attain and control.

    I also wanted to thank you for directing us to those clips of Ninine Garcia. Living in Montreal, I have had the great pleasure of meeting Boulou & Elios, Angelo and Robin and seeing (but unfortunately, not being able to speak with) Stochelo at the jazz fest -but had never even heard of Ninine 'till today. As my right arm is pretty much destroyed (botched prosthetic shoulder implant), I will never be a fast player, and his relaxed style is a real inspiration to me. His judicious use of vibrato also absolutely KILLS!!

    I do appreciate your taking the time to respond so thouroughly to my musings.

    All the best,
    David Rolling
  • nwilkinsnwilkins New
    Posts: 431
    Ted,

    when you say the action should be 3.5mm at the 12 fret, do you mean the strings should be 3.5mm above the top of the fret or 3.5mm above the fingerboard.
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