How to recognize an original Selmer?


I am new here as well as in the Guitar manouche world.

As I am looking for a guitar, I get an offer for this guitar to a very low price versus the quote it may have and I don't know what to think about.

Do you know how to identify an original Selmer from a copy?



  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    edited December 2023 Posts: 1,445

    This is a poor copy.

    Selmer-Maccaferri are 12 fret to the body and don't have a dot on the 9th position.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,277

    Doesn’t the Charle book have a listing of the known Selmers in existence?

  • Posts: 4,713

    I feel there's more to the story here. Besides a dead giveaway of this guitar being 14 frets to the body (so definitely not a Selmer production guitar), it really does look like it's a quality vintage instrument. It has high quality tailpiece. Can't tell what the tuners are, looks like they're enclosed, Kluson style.

    Scammers usually don't want to put in a whole lot of effort for something like what's going on here which would take considerable work to falsify; headstock engraving, label, good quality parts...and then sell it for a lot less than current prices.

    Can you see and play the guitar beforehand? Can you share the price or what range are they asking?

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • crookedpinkycrookedpinky Glasgow✭✭✭✭ Alex Bishop D Hole, Altamira M & JWC D hole
    edited December 2023 Posts: 921

    I think it's a knock off, not an original Selmer. Why ? Well the headstock engraving looks a bit off centre but the biggest concern is the neck. It seems that the grain can be clearly seen to run from the back of the neck over the bottom of the back of the headstock. Inother words it doesn't look like the usual Selmer grafting method. Also the soundhole doesn't look like a typical Selmer d hole . I also note that the bottom of the heel looks a bit thicker and more rounded than what I would expect.

    always learning
  • luckylucky New
    edited December 2023 Posts: 25

    That's true about the 12-frets but the D-holes had the dot on the 9th. (Incidentally, in double checking this before posting, I hadn't noticed before that most of the pictures of Django with a Maccaferri show him with the Modele Concert, with nylon strings, rather than the Orchestra most of us associate him with. I wonder if he ever recorded with it?)

    It's probably a fake but there are some interesting features - the wear on the headstock looks very convincing. If it is a Selmer, it will be 90 years old and guitars can go through all sorts of modifications in that time, so it might have bits and pieces of real Selmer in it.

    The only way to be sure is to get an experienced luthier to look at it - I would do so in any case, as even authentic Selmers often need a lot of restoration. I know a couple of luthiers well and they tend to roll their eyes when Selmer is mentioned because they've had that experience of clients bringing in a vintage Selmer and being shocked at the cost of restoration.

    The price is also going to be key here - if it's a really good price, then I'd be suspicious. That said, prices for Selmers vary wildly, I've seen them in North America at 20-30K, sometimes more, but I've also seen them go for auction in the UK for 8-12K. Even at 8K, you'd want to get it properly checked out, especially if it's a private sale.

  • edited December 2023 Posts: 4,713

    If this guitar is a complete fake, I would think it was made as a fake 60 or so years ago. Because who would want to through the process of aging the label and the headstock and then not price it at the current market price. But that doesn't make sense because 60 years Selmer was just a guitar, so you couldn't expect to make money on selling the fake Selmer.

    And also, I don't remember seeing the engraving that says Maccafferi Patent... on original Selmers (edit: as Bill pointed out, these were present on early D hole guitars) . So someone would have to do a research on the Selmer logo to replicate it. But then make a mistake of adding the unusual top lettering, on top of creating more work for themselves? It doesn't add up.

    I'm thinking somebody got their hands on Selmer parts and made a guitar after they stopped making guitars, would be the most plausible. But then as @crookedpinky pointed out, the neck is missing the line where headstock is attached to the rest of the neck. So...???

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    Posts: 1,445

    @lucky I think you may be right. It's really hard to find photos of Django on a D-hole selmac (not the nylon one). Interestingly the replica Barault built for use in the movie has the 10th dot

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,277

    Regarding the patent number on the headstock, it was there for the early guitars (D-holes) and I believe (IIRC) it is the patent for the internal resonator? Here's an attached photo that comes from one of Michael's listings for Selmer 98. He talks about these pre-production models and their characteristics there. (

    I found other photos for these other Selmers with the patent number engraving. If I read the OP's guitar as #163, then it would seem to make sense that it has the patent number based on the number range below.

    85 (

    163 (

    271 (

  • Posts: 4,713

    It looked like 162 to me.

    In which case: known existing Sel-Macs

    and there's #162

    which is a tenor guitar, with a different shaped D hole (as others noted, OPs guitar doesn't have the usual looking D hole)

    But, the label writing looks identical

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • VincentHHVincentHH New
    Posts: 2

    Hi all,

    First, many thanks for the answers.

    Per phone, the seller clearly told that the guitar was not an original Selmer and he is not trying to fake it and to sold it as a Selmer.

    I have been there to test it, not enough time to invest for this.

    The number 162 seems to be the same. What really impressed me is the headstock with the same print as the first Selmer.

    For the story is closed and I thank you again for the help here.

    I have learned many things about Selmer with this action.

    Cheers, vincent

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