A guide to vintage full-body/ Spanish/ torres shaped/ practise gypsy guitars

Well here is a post on the probably less desirable (smaller) non cutaway vintage gypsy guitars. They have been made by the same luthiers and in the same way as the vintage Selmac type guitars: lightweight, ladder braced, floating bridge, laminated (often braceless and arched) back and sides and should also be strung exclusively with light gauge (gypsy guitar) strings. Maybe they deserve a little more recognition and if you own or have played some of these guitars then with your help this post could help people looking for a vintage gypsy guitar to know a little bit more about these models. There are quite a lot of these guitars out there, and only vintage ones (please correct me if i am wrong). The contemporary luthiers only build the big cutaway Selmac gypsy guitars if i am right. A lot of these vintage smaller sized gypsy guitars will probably end up being collected by our garbage men and women.

Maybe the best way to introduce them is watching and listening a famous gypsy jazz guitarist play on them, so here is Favino Lorier & l’ensemble Swing du Rhin in 2 videos. In the first video Favino Lorier plays on what I think is a Patenotte (judging from the headstock shape and the looks of the floating bridge that is seen very often on these Patenotte’s). The other guitarist Judicael Lienhard plays on a Castelluccia. In the second video Favino Lorier plays on what looks like a “model Brassens” made by Gérôme.

Maybe they are not as loud as some of the big cutaways, but you can be surprised how much volume some of these have. I have two unlabeled ones where the highs are so sharp and loud I sometimes wonder if they could give me a hearing problem later on. Some really have “the sound”, others less. I have to note that there are also some bigger non cutaway gypsy guitars which have as much volume as the cutaways. I know Joseph Di Mauro made some (I own one which has 39cm at the lower bout and Willie has one probably been build by Joseph Di Mauro as well with 40cm at the lower bout). Henri Miller made some big ones and there is one very nice looking big 1930s Busato non cutaway for sale at . 

Let’s stick to the french / franco-italian ones for now, since there are also a lot of these guitars that have been made in Italy, mostly in Catania.

I have also included in this post the “model Brassens” (named after Georges Brassens” I don’t know how many of you know about this guitar, maybe it deserves a post of its own, it is a hybrid guitar with a classical bridge but can also be strung with argentine strings since it also has a tailpiece for argentine strings. I read on the internet that Django Reinhardt also played on a model Brassens made by Gérôme, mostly to compose and used it as a practice guitar. I cannot verify if this is true, I know there are a lot of speculations and people trying to boost prices with hearsay. This guitar has been sold at an auction house (Drouot Coutau-Bégarie & Associés) for 2447 euros. You can look it up. 

Known models by the french / franco-italian luthiers (list might be incomplete as this point):

Antoine Di Mauro (modèle 5 Poema/ often referred as Parlor) (including the “model Brassens” guitar)

Joseph Di Mauro (the elder)

Busato (modèle 40, genre espagnole) (including the “model Brassens” guitar)

Pierre (and Horace?) Bucolo

Carbonell (including the “model Brassens” guitar)

Jacques Castelluccia


Favino (“model Brassens “guitar)

Gérôme (including the “model Brassens” guitar)

Henri Miller

Pierre-Marcel Mouly

Louis Patenotte

A lot of these models can be found without label or marque au fer, probably the most of them being made by Pierre Fontaine

Resellers / brands:

Paul Beuscher

Pierre Beuscher

Gaillard et Loiselet 

José Sanchez

Alfonso Guerita


Paris Musical





  • Jangle_JamieJangle_Jamie Scottish HighlandsNew De Rijk, some Gitanes and quite a few others
    Posts: 205

    These guitars sound wonderful in these videos - beautiful.

    I just had a look on Ebay at vintage guitars, and spotted this for £35. I bought it! Why not?! Who made it? I don't know. What does it sound like? I don't know!! Let's wait and see. I will report back when it's here in my hands, and I have fitted a bridge and nut.

    Any idea what it might be?

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,335

    This is like the equivalent of purchasing penny stocks. No one assigns them any value, maybe some have promise but with some flaws. All it takes is someone to spot it and burnish that diamond in the rough. You may lose out on 9 of them but then the 10th one hits a grand slam and makes it all worth it!

    (Btw, I think this one is from the atelier of Busato. 🤣)

  • Jangle_JamieJangle_Jamie Scottish HighlandsNew De Rijk, some Gitanes and quite a few others
    Posts: 205

    Yes! This will be the greatest guitar ever made - I just know it.

  • PJDPJD New
    Posts: 38

    Nice one! The tailpiece looks italian!

  • PJDPJD New
    Posts: 38

    I just got the rare Louis Patenotte model that Favino Lorier plays in the video above for 80 euros, it is all solid woods, flamed maple sides and maple back and a tight grain spruce top, i think a beach neck, with a thin layer of maple on the front of the headstock. Very nice rosette It just got back from my luthier who repaired 4 small cracks on the soundboard. The sound is quite impressive.

  • PJDPJD New
    Posts: 38
  • Jangle_JamieJangle_Jamie Scottish HighlandsNew De Rijk, some Gitanes and quite a few others
    Posts: 205

    That's a great buy - looks like a nicely made guitar.

  • PJDPJD New
    Posts: 38

    @Jangle_Jamie Thanks, yes it is, the Louis Patenotte guitars are not much sought after. I also own the more common Patenotte full body gypsy guitar that has laminated back and sides, i don't know the woods used. I was surprised the nearly all maple one is all solid woods, it is in a really good condition considering its age and is really loud, crispy high notes and very good basses even upon the 12th fret. Well balanced. I had never seen this model before, i got curious when i saw the Favino Lorier video and was lucky to have found this one. If anyone ever sees the maple full bodied Patenotte I can highly recommend buying it, you will not be disappointed!

    @Jangle_Jamie I did some research to find out the origin of the guitar you just bought. I think it is an EKO guitar from Italy, if you do a research for EKO parlor guitars on the internet you will find the 3-5-7-9-12 dots on nearly all of them. Since the tailpiece is italian I already thought to look in that direction.

  • Jangle_JamieJangle_Jamie Scottish HighlandsNew De Rijk, some Gitanes and quite a few others
    Posts: 205

    Ah yes, it certainly could be, thanks for that. I expect it'll arrive on Monday, and I'll report back when I have it and it's playing ok.

    I realise this is a classical guitar, but someone on Facebook Marketplace advertised this in my nearest city for £20. After some slow communication, I managed to get a few more photos of it sent to me. It appears handmade, and has an odd offset neck. This could be design special... or poor workmanship!!! (I have a suspicion it's the latter) Anyway, at £20 it's worth a punt. I'm taking the kids on a trip tomorrow and will pick it up then.

  • PJDPJD New
    Posts: 38

    Interesting guitar! I wouldn't know who build it... . I also have a classical nylon stringed guitar, with a 27 boulevard beaumarchais Paul Beuscher label, difficult to tell who build it, maybe Joseph Di Mauro or Bucolo or a collaboration, I don't know.. . It has birdseye maple back and sides.

Sign In or Register to comment.
Home  |  Forum  |  Blog  |  Contact  |  206-528-9873
The Premier Gypsy Jazz Marketplace
Banner Adverts
Sell Your Guitar
© 2024, all rights reserved worldwide.
Software: Kryptronic eCommerce, Copyright 1999-2024 Kryptronic, Inc. Exec Time: 0.01514 Seconds Memory Usage: 0.99881 Megabytes