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Django's electric guitar

Does anybody know the guitar that Django used on the 1953 recording, where he plays electrified versions of Nuages, Blues for Ike, Night and Day, etc...? Is he still using an acoustic guitar, except with a pickup + amp?

Another question...I'm an electric guitar player and will always be one, despite my obsession with Django's sound. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on certain electric guitars that can approximate his sound, particularly his vibrato, which is what I'm really obsessed with. Does this maybe also depend on the strings? I have been trying desperately to get the vibrato down, although with not much success...

Any help would be appreciated!
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Comments

  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    You can try an acoustic Selmer type with an Stimer pickup to approximate his amplified sound. Since the sound will come from the pickup mostly a Cigano or Gitane would do fine, just might have some clearance issues with the fretboard, ask around to know for sure.

    I've read he used a Gibson or an Epiphone for an electric guitar, but a lot of it is the Stimer.
  • kimmokimmo Helsinki, Finland✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 162
    ShivaSage wrote:
    I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on certain electric guitars that can approximate his sound, particularly his vibrato, which is what I'm really obsessed with.

    I'm sure i'm pointing out the obvious, but if Django could produce his sound (incl. the magnificent vibrato) throughout his career on any guitar – owned or loaned – it probably isn't the guitar (or strings etc.) that's responsible for the sound you're looking for.
  • ShivaSageShivaSage New
    Posts: 11
    kimmo wrote:
    ShivaSage wrote:
    I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on certain electric guitars that can approximate his sound, particularly his vibrato, which is what I'm really obsessed with.

    I'm sure i'm pointing out the obvious, but if Django could produce his sound (incl. the magnificent vibrato) throughout his career on any guitar – owned or loaned – it probably isn't the guitar (or strings etc.) that's responsible for the sound you're looking for.


    You're right, of course. I'm not sure what I was even thinking as far as the vibrato...obviously the guitar itself doesn't have much to do with it. Anyway, on that note, do you know where his motion comes from? Does he shake the whole arm, or the wrist, or just the finger itself?

    As for the tone, I never thought that the pickup would play such a crucial role, but I guess that's not so. To follow-up, then, are certain electric guitars (with built-in pickups, that is) better at approximating this sound of his acoustic/archtop with attached pickup?
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    Well, I do think at least some of Django's vibrato was facilitated by Argentine strings which are very light and some people have said high action on his Selmer guitar contributed as well. If you listen to the electric stuff done on an archtop with Ellington his vibrato is not the same, at least to my ears.

    From what I can tell by looking at the surviving footage of Django his vibrato comes mostly from his finger and arm, making several ultra fast micro-bends, for chords his finger(s) vibrate more like the classical way by moving between the frets.
    Watch this, there's some good shots of his vibrato with chords at the intro and on single notes at 2:57-3:03.




    As for his amplified tone I think the way to get closest is using a Stimer, they produce a very particular tone which I haven't heard on other pickups, but I don't know maybe some kind of old single coil could work.

    By the way I believe on that session ("Blues for Ike", "Night and day", etc) he's using a Stimer, if I'm wrong I'm sure Michael Horowitz or Teddy Dupont, or someone better informed than me will correct me.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,174
    It is almost 100% certain Django used his Selmer with a Stimer pickup in the 1953 recordings. This photo was taken about the same time:-
  • fraterfrater Prodigy
    Posts: 763
    Those pics were made for commercial use by Stimer and that's Django's home in Samois if I remember well...
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,174
    frater wrote:
    Those pics were made for commercial use by Stimer and that's Django's home in Samois if I remember well...
    Yes that's right. Herve Derrien took them including three coloured ones.
  • aRealGypsyaRealGypsy Clackamas Oregon✭✭✭
    Posts: 24
    When Django Reinhardt switched from acoustic to electric guitar, his fans, feeling betrayed, called him Judas." However, he later used this new instrument to record Blonde On Blonde, often considered one of the greatest rock records of all time.

    Actually, that was Bob Dylan. But Reinhardt's electric period, which encompassed the last few years of his life, is certainly the black sheep of his catalog. Reinhardt was still in fine form and had even incorporated elements of bebop into his playing style. But many hold on to the earlier recordings of the Hot Club, with his sharp, rhythmic guitar alongside Stephane Grappelli,

    But shortly after his electric period he passed away.
  • fraterfrater Prodigy
    Posts: 763
    Listen and cry: it's all in the hands (and the heart), I'm afraid. In this particular style, you can't touch Dorado!

  • CampusfiveCampusfive Los Angeles, CA✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 98
    Sounds way more overdriven to me than Django.
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