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Selmac vs. Electric Guitar in Gypsy Jazz

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Comments

  • I'm beginning to appreciate electric Django and feel certain had he lived,
    electric guitar would've been his instrument of choice.
  • MatteoMatteo Sweden✭✭✭✭ JWC Modele Jazz, Lottonen "Selmer-Maccaferri"
    Posts: 386
    There are a lot of sensitive people in the jazz manouche world. I hope no artist in this genre comes up with the idea to play a lot of gypsy jazz bossa on an electric archtop. That may have consequences we don't want to see. I don't know what I would do myself. Scream and run to the woods perhaps, and never return to civilization again?
    jonpowlrgriceWim Glenn
  • IMO they are somewhat different instruments. There are things one can do on one that one cannot do on another. Goes both ways. Its not the instrument that matters, its what you do with it.
    ChrisMartin
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • bohemewarblerbohemewarbler St. Louis, MO✭✭✭✭ Jordan Wencek No.16, Altamira M01
    Posts: 218
    Based on what some of the commenters have posted, the instrumentation does matter. I doubt that it's to the point where someone is going to cover their ears and babble "la-la-la-la..." all the through it because I'm betting they can still appreciate the music. Any way you cut it, going electric on guitar in this genre is not the same as it is acoustically and, for some of us, generally less preferred for some of the reasons already stated in this thread.

    Some musicians might feel they're breaking the mold by going electric, but we Gypsy Jazzers are already breaking the mold by turning to Gypsy Jazz in the first place. On the other hand, it might just be the best way to be heard in certain situations: ambient noise level, other instrumentation. Personally, I'll stick around for the electric set and will most certainly still enjoy it, but also most likely wishing they had gone acoustic.

    I'm not afraid to admit that I don't even listen to the Django Reinhardt recordings where he's gone electric. I've tried. It just doesn't do it for me. Not at present anyway.
  • fourowlsfourowls Brisbane, Queensland, AustraliaNew Petrarca Grande Bouche
    Posts: 72
    Based on what some of the commenters have posted, the instrumentation does matter. I doubt that it's to the point where someone is going to cover their ears and babble "la-la-la-la..." all the through it because I'm betting they can still appreciate the music. Any way you cut it, going electric on guitar in this genre is not the same as it is acoustically and, for some of us, generally less preferred for some of the reasons already stated in this thread.

    Some musicians might feel they're breaking the mold by going electric, but we Gypsy Jazzers are already breaking the mold by turning to Gypsy Jazz in the first place. On the other hand, it might just be the best way to be heard in certain situations: ambient noise level, other instrumentation. Personally, I'll stick around for the electric set and will most certainly still enjoy it, but also most likely wishing they had gone acoustic.

    I'm not afraid to admit that I don't even listen to the Django Reinhardt recordings where he's gone electric. I've tried. It just doesn't do it for me. Not at present anyway.
    Mate feeling exactly the same way...and even posted a new discussion seeking advice to try and reinvigorate my love for my Tele and Fender but to no avail at the present. The minimalist feel of a SelMac guitar is pure music, tone and just beautiful!
  • jonpowljonpowl Hercules, CA✭✭✭ Dupont MD-100, Altamira M01F
    Posts: 617
    I've only seen a few GJ shows using electric guitars, Dorado Schmitt (heard he is having hand problems), Hot Club Pacific (very nice local band) and Paul Mehling (HCSF doing Snuffy Smith), it always sounds OK, but not quite what I'm looking for. I've had the chance to see Gonzalo Bergara and his quartet do 3 house concerts all acoustic, and it was absolutely incredible. Of course, it is quite difficult to amplify SelMac guitars, and much easier to show up with an electric and amp. I believe Christiaan and Brad B. discussed it in one of their videos. I just bought a Krivo Nuevo and have to admit, I love the sound of my Dupont with the Krivo through my Blues Jr. It seems to have elements of modern Django with just enough of the acoustic sound to keep me happy.
  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Hoyer, Epiphone x2, Burns x2, & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    Posts: 663
    I was fortunate to see Babik in Nimes in about '90 or '91 and he was doing his thing on a Gibson ES345 with a great tone, but then he did take his own path fusing GJ with newer sounds. I have some of his CDs but strangely he never really captured that live sound on record, not even his 'Live' CD. But otherwise, I agree as said by others, acoustic GJ on Selmac guitars is one thing, the sound of an electric archtop another and can't really be compared. Both have their place.
  • edited October 2016 Posts: 1,167
    Never say never. For me, it's about the creativity of the musician. Some of that late era Django electric stuff used to really turn me off. I was just getting into it all and it felt like impure. Now, as I realize that this has been a bit of a journey to lead me to be a better guitar player, it doesn't bother me one bit.
    I remember going to a djam with a horn player and he complimented the younger guy who was leading the jam. The guys says "thanks...I only listen to Django" to which the horn player responds "how unfortunate."
  • Good story @Jim Kaznosky The best way to amplify an acoustic guitar is with a high quality microphone well positioned. Mic'ing guitar is an art in itself.

    While it is possible to successfully blend acoustic and electric guitar and have it sound "right"....to my ear it is more often not done well.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 289
    Almost any category of music is going to be optimized for a particular instrumental kind/combination, and changing that formula is going to have technical and aesthetic consequences, some of which might push the music away from its customary or traditional center. This is inevitable and not necessarily a bad thing, though those who prefer the original sound might not be satisfied.

    Think of bluegrass or old-time Appalachian music with electric guitars. Actually, you can hear one such adaptation in the early Goose Creek Symphony albums--



    Early dance/jazz-band lineups underwent an evolution from the 1920s through the 1930s: guitar replaced banjo and string bass replaced tuba. It's hard to say whether the development of swing resulted from or drove these changes, but they certainly affected ensemble textures and even the music's pulse. (A bass-playing friend thinks the change from tuba is pretty significant.)

    The classic Hot Club lineup developed to solve particular performing problems and became the platform for the composing and arranging efforts of Django and Grappelli. And I think most commentators agree that when Django amplified his guitar, that became one of the components in the evolution of his playing. (Of course, hearing bop had a lot to do with it as well--did he amp up to get a boppish sound or just to be heard better?)

    To finally circle around to the original topic: It seems pretty clear to me that if you transplant, say, "Minor Swing" from its original instrumental environment to that of a Fifties bop unit, it's going to become a rather different piece of music. Whether one likes that incarnation or not is a matter of taste.
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