Comparison Video: Battle of the 503 Replicas (Barault & Stringphonic)

Recently picked up a Barault Selmer 503 Replica and I was able to borrow my friend's Stringphonic 503 Advanced, so I thought I would do an A/B comparison with the two guitars.

Here's is the comparison on Soundcloud. I recorded the Soundcloud comparison after shooting the video.

Let me know what you think! Which one would you choose?



  • rudolfochristrudolfochrist Worms, GermanyNew Dupont MD-100
    Posts: 138

    I'd take the Barault 😊 Amazing sound with a very unique characteristic.

    But I'm kind of biased. After hearing Tchavolo's Barault live, I consider myself a Barault-Fanboy™. I'm currently saving up to get the Tchavolo Signature model and I hope, once I have all that money together, someone will sell his. The signature model is limited and I guess all have been sold, because the new website doesn't mention it anymore.

    So, enough of hi-jacking. Thank you for the comparison video. What pick did you use?


  • TwangTwang New
    edited February 2021 Posts: 407

    I have never played an original Selmer but I have played guitars that are based on Selmers and owned a top end 503 copy. These guitars had a reputation for offering the "old Selmer sound". What these guitars seemed to have in common is:

    Quite weak bass (503 is meant to have better bass)

    A pronounced mid range (narrow frequency range)

    Not particularly loud (very probably just my experience)

    Sweeping generalisations aside, is this a fairly accurate description of a vintage Selmer sound? i.e all about the mids.

    If so, it didn't do it for me. The guitars that have stood out for me are classed as "modern". The best being a Marin I tried very briefly at a workshop. That guitar has haunted me. So modern to me seems to be the following:

    Very punchy fast attack

    Very responsive dynamically

    Very broad frequency range. Lots of warm bass and treble but still very dry.

    Is this accurate?

    In defence of the Selmer sound, If I've got my description correct, a vintage Selmer style guitar will come into it's own in a band situation with those mids slicing through the mix but not so sweet on it's own. And it has to be argued, playing in a band/jam situation is largely what its all about.

    Many thanks Geese btw, great playing and despite what I said, your guitar sounds great😁

  • geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew 503
    Posts: 458

    I'm just using a regular Dunlop Delrin 500 1.5mm. I use that for my comparison videos as a reference since a lot of players use them and they are more accessible (i.e. less expensive) than other GJ picks.

  • geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew 503
    Posts: 458

    I have not played an original Selmer either, so I can't really comment on how these guitars compare since I don't have first hand experience. I would say that your latter description better describes the sound of the Barault.

  • TwangTwang New
    Posts: 407

    @geese I think it wasn't the best idea for me to raise these points. Just too many variables.

  • TwangTwang New
    Posts: 407


    That's an exciting purchase you're gonna make! I have the DC Tchavolo lessons and love his sound on that Barault. I am a sucker for reliced guitars and Baraults look amazing! I would be very surprised if Barault has sold out of the Tchavolo guitars cos there aren't many luthiers who would be able to build a whole bunch of guitars and have them waiting around to be sold. However, if he is building them to order and has reached the limit of the edition then you'd be outta luck.

    I'd like to try one of his studio guitars but I live in the UK and Brexit has pretty much barred me from buying from the EU anymore.

  • Posts: 4,712

    They sound fairly different for an instrument that aims to copy a very specific guitar. Stringphonic sounds fine but every time you picked up Barault there was a difference, it just sounded bigger and better: more open, none of the brightness that Stringphonic has in comparation.

    I had a chance to spend time with a Barault borrowed from a friend. Don't know which model it was. It had maybe the best playability of any guitar in the style and that dryness but didn't have the punch that his 503 copies seem to have. But this Barault I had for some time was in the same ballpark as the only Selmer I played, forgot which serial number. Not so loud to the player, even subdued in a way but excellent projection among other guitars, easily the most heard guitar in the jam. It seems like it's all thanks to that absence of natural reverb and overtones. It's actually fascinating how they managed that. Because strings want to feed off of each other and create overtones and reverb.


    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • ChristopheCaringtonChristopheCarington San Francisco, CA USANew Dupont MD50, Stringphonic Favino, Altamira Chorus
    edited February 2021 Posts: 186

    Thanks for putting together the video! I think videos like this are important for context and tone hunters like myself.

    I think the Barault clearly sounds better here, and to @Twang's point it probably sits better in the mix with a band. In fact the 2nd best guitar I ever heard live was a Barault 503 copy.

    However, if memory serves that 503 copy is around 2x the price of the Stringphonic which already isn't cheap - so my takeaway is a more humble opinion of Stringphonic's.

  • Posts: 279

    @geese_com How much do you want for the Barault? :P

    Sounds great. That being said, I just got a Martin Tremblay in January. It sounds and plays so well. Obviously no idea how it sounds in a jam yet. Oh shit I'm railroading this thread!! Nooooooo

  • juandererjuanderer New ALD Original, Manouche Latcho Drom Djangology Koa, Caro y Topete AR 740 O
    Posts: 205

    Congrats on the acquisition! It sounds killer. The one Stringphonic 503 Advanced I've heard in person sounds amazing so I can only imagine. Prefer the Barault here.

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