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1934 Selmer Modele Orchestre

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SN# 350

Body size at lower bout: 15 3/4" (400mm) Scale length: 25" (640mm) Nut Width: 1 13/16" (47mm) Neck depth: .86/.98, 1st/10th frets

Materials: Bookmatched solid Alpine spruce soundboard; figured bookmatched Brazilian rosewood laminate back and sides; solid walnut neck; solid ebony fingerboard; rosewood bound body.

Hardware: Original gold Selmer tailpiece with ebony inset; gold sealed DR tuners with celluloid keys; solid compensated ebony bridge; clear scratchplate.

Notes: Designed by Italian luthier/performer Mario Maccaferri, the Modele Orchestre was introduced by Selmer of Paris in 1932. Originally built with an interior wooden sound reflector, this model, popularly known as the 'Grand Bouche', was eagerly adopted by European guitarists in the era prior to amplification. Combining warm tone with a powerful punch, the Modele Orchestre became an essential part of the gypsy jazz ensemble, where it was particularly popular for rhythmic accompaniment. Its nimble 640mm scale is ideal for stretch chords and lightning fills, and its generous soundhole enhances the woody resonance of the Alpine spruce soundboard. Fewer than 1000 Selmer guitars of all types were built over just 20 years of production, making original examples a precious find for players and collectors alike.

The serial number of this guitar dates it to around 1934, and it was built with a fully unobstructed sound chamber. Owned by Belgian guitarist Francis-Alfred Moerman, this remarkable instrument was used to accompany a number of legendary Gitane performers, including members of the Ferret family, and appeared on numerous recordings with his own trio, Jazz Tzigane and others. (It is featured as well in R.F. Charle's Selmer history, in a full color spread on p.145, a copy of which is included with the guitar.)

The Brazilian rosewood body is handsomely figured, with a particularly attractive black walnut neck in the traditional slightly flattened D profile. The instrument remains fitted with its original gold hardware, and the solid ebony fingerboard was installed by Dupont, who also cleated and resealed several grainline cracks, and applied a light overspray of true vintage style nitro lacquer.

Weighing in at a scant 3lb. 12oz. (1.74kg), the guitar is exceptionally light and well balanced, seeming to float effortlessly on the lap. Carefully played over a long career, the voice is full and open, though the guitar shows little in the way of pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear. An instrument of significant musical and historic importance, this Modele Orchestre is ready now for its next turn in the spotlight. Call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with light gauge silvered steel strings, and will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference.

Case: Deluxe black arched plush lined hardshell case.






















































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