What is a Gypsy Jazz Guitar?



Please get started on whatever instrument you can get your hands on. But ultimately if you want to get that authentic Gypsy percussive rhythm you are going to need a Gypsy Jazz guitar and a really solid pick.

So, what makes the Gypsy guitar different?


The guitar used by Django, and the guitarists in the Hot Club de France, was a Selmer Maccaferri. Selmer was the manufacturer and Maccaferri was a luthier who had an unusual design at the time. The guitars they built were about the size of a dreadnought with a metal tail piece and a movable bridge with a moustache marker each side. The top was gently arched and quite thin. They also usually had a cut away which was quite novel at the time. Also, novel was the sound hole; either oval (Petite Bouche) or a large D (Grande Bouche). Even today I think these guitars are unique looking.

Though these Selmer’s were not especially designed for Django. He and the Hot Club made these guitars their own; and the design suited their music perfectly. The thin top, brass tailpiece and large body gave these players plenty of volume and a percussive sound hard to find in other guitars. They had a sound of their own.

Here is some more reading on Selmer guitars-


Today a Selmer guitar is automatically associated with Gypsy Jazz. Sadly, there are less than 200 original Selmer left and they fetch huge prices ($30k - $75k). Fortunately, there are excellent modern luthiers who copy the original design