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  • juanderer 7:10PM

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Recreating Django's 1953 electric tone

I love the electric warm tone from Django last recordings, specially that from 1953 sessions... I just wanted to dedicate one topic to the settings (guitar, amp, pickup and strings available nowadays) we should use to recreate it.

I think one of the best options might be this one, but I haven't tested the combination...

Eastman 16" or 17"
Stimer Modèle S.T. 48 Pickup
Stimer Modèle M12 Amplifier
Argentine strings

What do you think about? Which are your settings to get close to that tone?




  • Posts: 11
    Here's a link to the tone I'm referring to:

    (Nuages - March 10, 1953)
  • SalieriSalieri Europe, Romania✭✭✭
    Posts: 97
    Here is still this varitant, but sound quality is better than who posted minisergium :)
    Visit my YouTube profile:
    Vive Django!
  • Posts: 11
    Thanks Salieri, the link was only to have a reference of the sound, not to look for the optimum quality... :wink:

    Any idea about the object of this topic?
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,913
    In my opinion, this would be the best setup for a vintage Django sound:

    A Dupont Vieille Reserve (about as close as you can get to a real Selmer)
    Stimer pickup
    Stimer M12 amp

    We have all this equipment here and I've tried it on several gigs. Really brings you back! So 50s Django!!

    Of course, if you can actually find all the real vintage gear you'd be even closer! But I don't know anyone who actually has an original Stimer amp that works, and a real Selmer will cost you $30K!!

    You could use the Eastman if you wanted to recreate some of Django's archtop electric sounds. Like the tone on the stuff he did with Ellington. I think most people agree he was using an Epiphone Zenith (probably with a DeArmond pickup) and an Epiphone tube amp.

    Keep in mind, it's highly unlikely that Django put much thought into any of his gear choices. He usually just played what was given to him....although he did express a severe disdain for American archtops (but played them anyway) and seemed to prefer a Selmer petite bouche above all (but also owned a Busato and played other French guitars as well). So he wasn't completely aloof, but certainly didn't switch gear at the rate some contemporary Gypsies do (I've lost count of how many Debarre, Ferre, and Schmitt models there are now, they endorse everything!)

    Since I mentioned the Ellington sessions....I've always found it interesting that Django ended up doing so much performing in the US on a non-cutaway. Obviously didn't cramp his style....I've tended to shy away from the non-cutaway archtops but I'll probably just get one at some point because they do often sound a lot better!

  • Posts: 11
    Thanks for your info Michael, it's really interesting to me...

    But I'm a little bit confused... I know Django had different tones during his career, but the sound I'm talking about -that from 1953- was from a Selmer with a Stimer pickup and Stimer amp? Or did he use an archtop with DeArmond pickup as he did with Ellington?

    Could I find anywhere a clip emulating that tone with nowadays guitar, amp and pickup?
  • FransFrans The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 53
    Hi Minisergium,

    I guess a good place to start would be '70's Phillippe Catherine (if possible try to find "The Viking" with Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen or "September Sky"), he comes really close to Django's '53 sound, his setup is basically a Gibson 175 and usually a compressor through a small jazz-tone oriented (non-tube) amp like a Polytone. In my ears he sounds closest of all "archtop" players to the '53 "Nuages" sound. This is however his sound with him playing, I tried to copy this years ago and came close but couldn't nail it exactly

    anyway, my two cents
    kind regards
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,913
    I don't think there are any photos or written accounts of those sessions that could confirm what he was using. It's likely he was using a Selmer with a Stimer, but it's pretty hard to say for sure. An archtop with a single coil pickup can sound very similar, so you could probably get a similar sound either way. I'd say the two main components would be some sort of a single coil pickup (be it Stimer or DeArmond) and a tube amp (preferably a small vintage type one like a Stimer or a Gibson EH-150)

    I'd say you get a more twangy sort of sound with the Stimer/Selmer and a bit thicker, darker sound with the DeArmond/archtop.
  • Posts: 11
    Thanks to all for your replies. They're all really very appreciated... :D

    It would be nice to know which set ups did Django use in the different recording sessions he performed after 2nd WW... If anyone knows exactly what guitar, pickup and amp he was using in specifically any of them, it might help too...
  • CuimeanCuimean Los AngelesProdigy
    Posts: 268
    Would you guys say that the wide, flat magnets in the Stimer and DeArmond contribute to the darkness of the sound?
  • gadjojazzgadjojazz where the fun isNew
    Posts: 17
    in my opinion the biggest contributor to the tone is the guy behind the guitar! I remember many years ago at Samois, Bireli brought a Jap Strat to play on the main stage. At a jam session later at Chez Fernand someone produced a battery amp for him to plug it into. I swear the sound was the nearest I have heard to Django himself as the amp distorted as it struggled to be heard in a busy bar. Needless to say Bireli responded accordingly and played like a demon. He said the sound insired him to play like a post '50 DR.
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