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BYO Jean Barault construction of a selmer book review

nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
edited April 30 in Welcome Posts: 267

Having met Jean a few times and starting the process of building selmer style guitars myself , I contacted him about his construction of a selmer replica book. He assured me that many people have successfully built a guitar from his manual, so I ordered it. It arrived today.

The book is nicely printed and packaged across 4 very slim volumes, and is ideal for someone who wants a general overview of the process. It is missing, however, all the important details regarding the various molds and jigs which are required to build such an instrument. Volume 2 has 1 photo each of these necessary molds, some of which are not in focus, and from a single perspective. Some molds have welded metal parts joint with wooden frames, others are transparent plastic, which are difficult to see what exactly the shape is. There are no templates (for the rosette jig or dovetail joint, for example).

I contacted Jean immediately and to paraphrase (though Im happy to share the full message thread for complete transparency) his response was " you want me to show how to make the molds?" "There are no books on that!, just look at the photos" "i dont understand, you are the only one who has ever been disappointed with the book".

I responded that there were actually many books which gave instruction on mold and jig construction ( i remember seeing Collins diagrams for a pliage box). I said that the assembly instructions without mold and jig making instructions were not helpful to me and I would like a refund. He did not reply.

So if you want to reverse engineer jig and mold making from a single photo, this book is for you! Mine is for sale for the 190+ shipping I paid. It will look nice on your book shelf and is pleasant to glance at.

I hope his customer service in regards to his instruments is far better.

Twang
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Comments

  • nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 267

    Overview of Michael Collins dvd set..

    #1 Molds and patterns.. How to build them..

    The most logical step


  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,065

    Well, the jigs/molds probably depend on what dimensions/etc. you choose. Once you see what the jigs look like you can work out the dimensions for yourself. Kind of like soloing. You can learn Djangos solos note for note and recreate them or you can use the concepts to create your own. Regardless, you will need to determine the dimensional parameters at a minimum yourself.

    BTW if you have questions about how to build your own guitar/jigs post on the forum and use BYO in the title.

  • nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 267

    Yeah thats the difference between buying and instruction manual and expecting it to have the required information and just figuring it out yourself, which is why I guess Collins included that information in his DVD set. My only issue is that this book is promoted as a step by step manual, which it isnt. I figure out my django solos by ear, but if i buy a book with transcriptions I would expect accurate explanations and transcriptions.

    Jojo
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,065

    I started with archtop guitar building. I bought Bob Bennedetto's book which is pretty thorough. My jigs and fixtures look nothing like his. Honestly, if Jean gave you mechanical drawings of every piece of his jigs it wouldn't help unless your are building one of his exact guitars. As soon as you change dimensions like scale length etc. you have to work out all that stuff for yourself anyway. In my own case, I worked out all my own neck geometry, dovetail/mortise dimensions, bracing, etc. based on my own preference and tools available. Many ways to skin the proverbial cat. Figuring out how to engineer the jigs/fixtures is a big part of the fun. I usually make mine out of whatever scrap materials I have laying around the shop/garage. If you don't have much experience just go slow but be careful if you are not a trained woodworker. These tools are dangerous (power or hand tools). Again, post any questions you have.

    I'd love to get his book from you just out of curiosity to see how he does stuff but I've got too many books as it is (please someone buy some of my books and tonewood in the classified!!) and I doubt it would change how I do things anyway.

  • nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    edited April 30 Posts: 267

    Im happy to ship it to you tomorrow. Price is in euro and send me a pm. Im also happy to trade for the Michael Collins book or dvd set, or any actual instruction manual. Cheers

  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,065

    Hmmm tempting, I think I have the Collins book somewhere. Shipping from California to Netherlands would be pricey I would think.

  • Posts: 3,187

    This guy wrote about 500 pages on that. So not entirely accurate that no books on the subject exist. Bones is right about having to figure it out on your own, maybe that's where Jean was going too but once you have someone holding your hand through the process (which a detailed manual could do) then you can do your own exploring. His brashness is kinda charming in a european way but... let's just say after living in the States for a few decades + now, I really came to appreciate the American standard for customer service. On the positive side, he's running an incredible deal on his 503 copy for his 20th anniversary.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 3,065

    Oh yeah, the American banks and "health" insurance companies are the gold standard for customer service :-)

    Buco
  • nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 267

    Yeah his response was about as charming as paying for an expensive guitar lesson, getting handed a cd and the teacher saying figure it out yourself, and then refuses to respond when you say, hmm this isnt really what I paid for. So I m not arguing that there is alot of exploring and discovering to do by one's self no matter the topic, but everything else aside I'll happily trade you this for that general overview for that extensive Forbes book.

  • Posts: 3,187

    Ah that would be an unfair trade, my book was $25. But moreover I'm not looking to build an instrument. I bought his book for the sake of supporting him because on his website he wrote extensive articles about guitar finish and refinishing which was my guide when I decided to strip and refinish my guitar. He even took time to respond and clarify some of his points when I asked him through his blog.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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