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TomN michaelsnow

BYO: Forms or Molds (Sel-Mac Style)


I am ready to make my gypsy guitar molds, but am trying to understand the body shapes and sizes for the petite bouche Sel-Mac style gypsy guitar. What are the differences (or similarities) of the Sel-Macs, Busatos, Favinos, M. Collins guitars. I know there are many other luthiers, but am focusing on these for now. Is the Selmer #807 assembled by Favino, or is it a Favion creation? M. Collins mentions the Sel-Mac #678--is this the guitar his book and DVD set is based on? LMI has the #807 templates and forms, but does the measurements of this pattern deviate from the M. Collins book? M.C. also has Favino plans (1961)--are these what he bases his book and DVD set on? How does the F. Charles plans compare?

I'm shooting for a simple answer which will allow me to select a body shape and style to create a master template.

My goal is to reproduce a guitar like Django's #503 petite bouche. Which plans will get me closest?

Thanks for any help you can give me!


  • Craig BumgarnerCraig Bumgarner Drayden, MarylandVirtuoso Bumgarner S/N 001
    Posts: 795
    The Francois Charle Selmer #807 plans what the name suggests, plans of the Selmer #807 built by the Henri Selmer company. Favino and Busato made similar guitars but had their own distinct variations. Favinos can be as much as an inch wider for instance and fairly flat tops. If you are making patterns and molds, you will need to choose a model and to a large extent the molds will not be interchangeable. Collins is a modern builder of replica Selmers and Favions as well as other types. His book and plans build a guitar similar to the 807.

    By the late 30s, the Henri Selmer petite bouche 14 fret guitar design was pretty much locked in. Minor variations in wood, but pretty much all the same in shape, size and construction between guitars with serial numbers 500 to end of the line (high 800s?). A notable variance is that some where made without the lower brace in the top. Django's #503 is reported to be that way.

    For a true Selmer, I think the Francois Charle #807 plans are the best available to the public. Collins' book is very good, but there are some inaccuracies, be careful. Consider using both and double check them against each other. Some of the Collins errata are noted in past BYO posts. Collins has a set of Favino plans. To my knowledge, there are no Busato plans. Charle has two other Selmer Maccaferri plans, both 12 fret. All together, I think this all that is available.

    Keep in mind that all plans, books, patterns, molds are interpretations and not necessarily 100% accurate. Human nature.

    Simple answer: If you are shooting for a Selmer 503, use the FC #807 plans, Collins' book and Francois Charle's excellent book on Selmer guitars. And try get a look at some real Selmers sometime. Finally, go to Paris and poke around in the Paris Conservatory collection until you find the 503 and worship at the alter. 8)

  • Posts: 4
    Thanks Craig for the great info! I have the FC plans on order. It was hard trying to figure out the different body styles, but you cleared up my confusion. I will make note of the errata found in the plans and book as noted in other postings. Thanks for the heads up! I saw Bob Holo's guitar--Selmer #863--very nice work!
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