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Selmer Guitars (background and observations)

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  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    Here is a good picture of the selmer internal resonator.

    It is out of a small-bodied tenor selmer.

    31ebad6f1f359bc80ec8ff672d9583.jpg

    pick on

    pickitjohn
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited December 2013 Posts: 1,243
    Hmmm…. well, the resonator's attachment to the large #2 brace made the guitar narrower and completely terminated the soundboard across the waist, which in general can favor midrange clarity over fullness. It also increased mass at the rims which can increase focus/clarity. It also made the sounding chamber beneath the bridge shallower which in general increases projection. Several builders used one or more of these techniques. It also made the back of the primary body chamber more reflective - which was part & parcel of the Italian school; though those builders accomplished it through thick highly-arched backs. But none did all these at once or used a resonator that I know of… The original Reso Macs were midrange-focused crunch-monsters with lean bass and a lot of reverb. As Michael B said, the D-hole wasn't actually the soundhole for the primary body cavity. Macs were GJ snare drums and nothing else sounds quite like them. It's possible to build a 14-fret non-resonator Dhole that retains a lot of the character. It won't sound identical, but you can give it that reverby horn-midrange mojo and keep the bass bloom under control if you tune it right.

    A few years back, I did a vid because there was a witch-hunt to stomp out 'wetness' which had generally come to mean "anything other than the guitar going stone dead immediately after you pluck a note" (lol) and I wanted to show that reverb was important. Well, the video turned out kind of dumb because instead of playing something I just sat there and snapped the strings to get the guitars to reverberate...so I never did make it public. But hey… here among friends… even if it's a dumb vid, it's a quick and certain way to hear the difference between resonator and non-resonator DHoles that are tuned similarly. The gent who owned Mac103 bought the other one and tours on it, so I'm assuming that means the similarity between the two is not just in my head. Anyway, Mac103 is a fanF*ingtastic guitar, and as you'll hear - it has a lot of reverb. This will let you hear what a Mac would sound like if you pulled its resonator, lengthened its scale, and tuned it to maintain some semblance of the original character. Once you hear it, you won't have to wonder or think of words to describe it - you'll just know the difference. http://tinyurl.com/m2gfsfz

    Now… for better examples of what those guitars sound like when they're played by people who actually know how to play them and aren't just plucking them to make them reverberate...

    Antoine Boyer on Mac103. This is recorded from about 10 feet away by a decent quality Rode shotgun mic in a very small but somewhat reverberant room. http://tinyurl.com/kkvupsq

    George Cole on the non-resonator Dhole. This is through a DPA4099 violin-mic mounted on the soundboard. It's a good amplified acoustic sound though a bit more 'studio' because the mic is closer to the soundboard than in the Mac103 recording. http://tinyurl.com/mxxfjcg

    *edit - now that I think of it… George told me he recorded most of this album on Mac103, so this will give you an idea of how an original Mac resonator sounds in a modern studio when used as a lead guitar. http://acousticoasis.com/rooms/guest/riverside-drive/riverside-drive.html
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Yes you are so right Bob ....the one Mystery Pacific that Michael lent me for a year, his own personal guitar...... is one of the nicest sounding guitars I have ever played. Magical....I tried and tried to convince him to leave it with me but failed....LOL
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,243
    Jazzaferri wrote: »
    Yes you are so right Bob ....the one Mystery Pacific that Michael lent me for a year, his own personal guitar...... is one of the nicest sounding guitars I have ever played. Magical....I tried and tried to convince him to leave it with me but failed....LOL

    Haha.. too many Michaels around this joint. :-) I was talking about Michael Bauer. I've never played a Dunn resonator and don't know what they sound like.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Yes and to make matters worse I got things mixed up.....I should have addressed my reply to Michael B...LOL

    FYI Bob you actually played my Dunn Ultrafox for a few minutes at DFNW in 2011.... I think it was. I was in berween ticket taking at classes in maybe the Church hall if memory is correct.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,243
    So I have played one? I remember talking with you sitting just inside the door on those chairs to the left... you and possibly? Bookman? Wow. I should be able to remember two years ago with more clarity. Drinking doesn't typically commence that early in the day... haha... hope I'm not getting addled.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    @BobHolo

    B H Said…
    But hey… here among friends… even if it's a dumb vid, it's a quick and certain way to hear the difference between resonator and non-resonator DHoles that are tuned similarly.

    Loved your post so glad you showed up for a reply.

    Glad to be counted among friends

    I watched your Video of 103 & your guitar three times because after each watch I preferred the sound of yours. No wonder your guitars are snapped up in seconds after being posted.

    Keep up the great work and get them instruments into some PLAYERS HAND :-bd

    pick on

    pickitjohn
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited December 2013 Posts: 1,243
    Thanks John. Though a lot of what makes 103 a fantastic guitar isn't going to come through a video and it truly is a splendid guitar. The vid illustrates the difference in bass/treble balance with and without a resonator, but what's not coming across is the sheer cut of 103. It punches like it has brass knuckles because the three or four things that the resonator does - all tend to increase focus and projection which is exactly the opposite of how the D-hole is generally viewed... as a plump woody plodder. The truth of the original Mac is that it's focused almost like a trumpet.

    But Thanks, man ;-) it took quite a while to figure out how to get a Dhole to focus and speak without the resonator.




    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    Posts: 343
    the one Mystery Pacific that Michael lent me for a year, his own personal guitar...... is one of the nicest sounding guitars I have ever played

    Wow, so many variations on the theme. I'll check if any European luthier makes D-holes with internal resonator. It would be interesting to hear one.

    Thanks for the video Bob H! Now I get what you're talking about regarding the punchy tone of the original Maccaferris. I have also noticed a lot of worry about "wetness" in the discussions here; your video made me see that in a new perspective. (And if there's a king of the vibrato, that has to be Antoine Boyer!)

    Lastly, this discussion leads me to wonder why there haven't been more attempts at building a guitar like the one Django plays in the 1938 J'attendrai/Jazz Hot video – short scale with oval hole. Of course, I don't know much about guitar construction, but there you have a resonator-like opening for good projection together with an easy to play short scale. It ought to be a popular combination. I know that you have made a couple of those for Stéphane Wrembel and Roy Williams, Bob H, but it seems to be a very rare example.
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    edited December 2013 Posts: 343
    Ah, I just saw that AJL makes Maccaferri style guitars with "original" resonator. I have only come across oval hole models so far.

    D-hole "Maccaferri" Model Ochestra
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