The elder Joseph Di Mauro was part of the mass emigration of master Sicilian luthiers (Busato, Oliveri Anastasio, etc) who left Catania in the early 20th century. In the 1930s Di Mauro and his countrymen setup a series of shops on the East side of Paris and quickly adapted their skills to making jazz guitars in the Selmer Maccaferri style. Di Mauro was certainly one of the most successful and long lasting of these Franco-Sicilian luthiers as his guitars were widely adopted by players of many styles. Notable players include Moreno, Boulou Ferre, Patrick Saussois, Samy Daussat, Jean-Yves Dubanton, and even Pat Metheny! Di Mauro guitars were produced continuously until the early 90s, first by Antoine and his brother Joseph and later by Antoine's son Joseph.
This guitar was built by Antoine Di Mauro's brother Joseph, not be confused with Antoine's son of the same name. The f holes and the "J. Di Mauro" stamp on the headstock clearly marks it as his work (Antoine and his son Joseph's Special Chorus model was very similar yet featured S shaped holes.) This f hole model by the elder Joseph is extremely rare with very few known surviving examples.
The dimensions of this instrument are typical of Joseph's work: 16 1/4" body width, 3 7/8" body depth, and a 660mm scale length. The top is spruce. The back and sides are made of birdseye maple which Joseph used extensively. As is typical with most of the Sicilian luthiers, the back is bent and the neck is reinforced with a center spline. As one of Joseph's most ornate models, this guitar features ivoroid rope binding and the Di Mauro style diamond fingerboard inlays. The fingerboard of this guitar was recently replaced but the inlays were done in the same manner as the original. The original tailpiece and SB tuners are included.
The condition is very good. There are few places on the top that appear to have very shallow surface cracks, but don't seem to go all the way through. There are a couple of small isolated cleats under the top that seem to be preventive as there are no obvious splits in the wood. As mentioned earlier, the fingerboard is new as well as the frets. Hence, the playability is very good for a guitar of this vintage. This guitar is amazingly well preserved for it's age and, after all these years, is still quite stunning both sonically and visually!
The top of this instrument has a very shallow bend, hence it produces a warm and full tone. The chordal sound of this guitar is particularly noteworthy for it's rich, thick character that is ideal for filling out the rhythm section of any Gypsy group. Single notes are round with lots of body which is particularly nice for unaccompanied solo playing. This is a fantastic instrument for a full time rhythm player or a lead player looking for a less aggressive tone than is typical of your average Gypsy guitar.
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|Model Number||F Hole|
|Sound Hole||F Holes|
|Fret Neck||14 Fret|
|Nut Width||1 3/4"|
|Body Depth||3 13/16"|
|Back and Sides||Birdseye Maple|
|Neck||Maple with Rosewood spline|