Django Played Electric Guitar in May 1946

Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
edited December 2007 in History Posts: 1,263
With the help of Papi and Spatzo, we have found pretty conclusive proof that the Django White Epiphone sequence was filmed in the first half of 1946 before he went to America.

More details here:-

Django White Epiphone Film Clip from 1946


  • waldenjazzwaldenjazz Thoreau, NMNew
    Posts: 70
    That's interesting Teddy, I have never seen a photo of Django playing an archtop that was a cut away, maybe he did but I haven't seen a photo, and I wonder if Gibson and Epiphone had cut aways produced at that time... I thought they did... I figure Django would have liked the archtops more than he apparently did if he would have had higher fret access? I wonder what ever happened to that white Epi...
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,263
    waldenjazz wrote:
    ....... I wonder what ever happened to that white Epi...
    Well this is one of the stories but it does not really hang together anymore if the film was made in 1946 in France:-
    Django's White Epiphone

    .....and No.6 here:-

    More Stories
  • waldenjazzwaldenjazz Thoreau, NMNew
    Posts: 70
    Thank you Teddy, that's really very interesting! I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing Howard Alden this fall playing his Benedetto oval hole seven string archtop... some of the best sounding gypsy jazz I've heard! I can only imagine the direction Django would have gone had he lived a longer life. Thanks again.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 655
    I had also always assumed that this was the Epiphone that Django obtained while he was in the states. But now that Teddy has challenged that CW, it's an interesting problem. First thing I did was to ensure that it wasn't the Bale guitar that Marcel Bianchi brought from Switzerland when he was repatriated in 1945. Django and Bianchi were friends, so it's certain that he would have seen and played this guitar. It's not the Bale, I have a good photo of MB with it at "Le Doyen" in '45 - the guitars are very similar but not the same. Then I found a photo on p37 of Wheeler's "American Guitars" of an Epiphone that basically looks the same as the one in the film clip. According to the text, it's one of two prototypes made in 1944. It's a prototype of the "Century model, I guess. Did one of these guitars make it to Paris in the immediate post-war? It's certainly possible because Epiphone wanted to sell guitars in Europe. There's a good book on the history of Epiphone that might give up some more data.

    For some reason there are very few published photographs of Django in the states - actually playing in concert, I mean. In the ones I've seen, he's playing a dark L-5. And there are photographs of him playing this guitar after his return to Europe, too. Thinking about it, I don't know if I can remember even a single photograph of Django playing any Epiphone.

    I talked to Fred Sharp about his guitar a number of times. He was always vague about it. That he had modified it, added pickups etc. The only photograph I have ever seen of Fred with the "Django" Epi, it is positively not the guitar in the film clip - the pickup placements are original and the peghead size and shape is wrong. But it actually looks like a fairly new guitar. He did not want to talk too much about it and once told me it had been stolen. When I tracked down the guy who now has the "Django" Epi, Fred admitted that he had sold it to him, but exactly when he sold it I don't know. That is the guy in Florida who I presume still owns it - I have a letter from him c1995 where he says the guitar will never be sold. I'd guess that Babik did give Fred Sharp an Epiphone guitar but it isn't likely the one in the film clip. It's another one of those stories like the Simon Lustigman Selmer story...
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,263
    It is a typically confusing situation regarding the guitar in the film clip and the Epiphone Babik gave to Fred Sharp. From the number, the latter was made in 1939 and I think it would be odd for Django to buy or be given a 7 year old guitar when he was in America. Les Paul did say Django loved his two blonde Epiphones when they jammed together but he never claimed, to my knowledge, that he gave one to Reinhardt.

    I think it is actually more probable this guitar turned up in France immediately after the war which is why I felt it was much more likely to be the one in the film clip than anything Django obtained in America.

    But Scot is right. I have over 450 photos of Django and there is nothing of him with an Epiphone. It seems odd to me that Django would have a guitar for 7 years and apparently never be photographed with it. In fact, when interviewed in 1948 and asked how many guitars he had, Django said "Just one. This one", his 12 year old Selmer. Django had no emotional ties to his guitars and as far as I know gave away or discarded them if he was not using them.

    I think it is quite possible the guitar Babik gave to Fred Sharp had never been played by Django at all and the one in the film sequence, he never played again after the "Rodeo Club" gig.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,263
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