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Selmer 504 owned by Stochelo Rosenberg is for Sale!!

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  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,939

    That said, the current obsession with volume over tone seems counterintuitive in an age of high quality amplification.

    I beg to differ....at heart this genre is still an acoustic style of music. For many, that's one of the main attractions: a style of guitar jazz played proficiently on an acoustic guitar. American jazz never really developed an acoustic style of playing....the larger ensembles left guitarists with no choice but to use pickups. But the Euro/Gypsy style is so unique in that it's truly an acoustic form of playing...the technique and the instruments have evolved with acoustic playing in mind. While volume in of itself is not the most important thing, it ranks pretty high on the priorities for most pros. Granted, a gigging guitar that will be plugged in with bigtone/Stimer/etc doesn't need to be acoustically loud, or even have a very good tone. It's all about the pickup and amp. But Selmer 504 is an exquisite acoustic guitar, and people looking for the best in acoustic sound definitely care about volume. When you're sitting around the campfire or doing a acoustic gig (or mic'd through a PA), the louder guitars that pop the leads out make all the difference.

    At one of our regular gigs the restaurant clears out during the final set so we often unplug and play acoustic. If I bring a real cannon like a Busato it's SO easy to be heard, whereas a lesser guitar just gets buried. You can relax so much on the loud ones, they do the work for you!

    As mentioned earlier, 504 is probably not as loud as 607. If 504 is anything like 520 (which was here recently), it has a flatter top and less pliage than other Selmers. That makes for a warmer, more rounded tone and less volume. 607 sounds a lot like the 863 we had here a while back, much brighter with tons of volume! Pliage was mountainous!!

    I've always noticed that 504 has a really tall bridge for a Selmer...makes me think the top is rather flat on that one.

    Of course tone is important too....some people are willing to trade volume for tone. There's always going to be a compromise as only a very few guitars are super loud AND have an amazing tone. But in my experience, most people want a Gypsy guitar to be pretty loud. Even if it has a great tone, it doesn't do most people much good if it's weak in the volume dept. The archtop world seems to be much more focused on purely the tone as acoustic volume really only matters for guys playing rhythm in swing bands (19" Strombergs with 5" action??!!!)

    Anyway, I don't think modern amplification will ever completely remove the need for loud guitars. If I had my way, I'd never plug in again!

    'm
  • DuozonaDuozona Phoenix, AZNew
    Posts: 159
    Great post Michael, and 'here here' to the "if I had my choice I'd never plug in again", I cant think of any statement I agree with more. The louder the guitar for me, the more relaxed I play, the better I play, the better my own tone becomes.

    -Chuck
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Michael, I agree that in an acoustic setting, volume is important. But here's betting that Stochelo wasn't pulling out 504 for campfire jams. In a studio, or in a setting where a guitarist is playing amplified, acoustic volume doesn't matter as much as tone. Luckily, there are guitars with great tone and others that are loud. There are probably even a few that have both assets, and lucky are the few who own those! You know better than anyone that I have some ferociously loud guitars, and I do like volume! But a great sounding guitar (like 504 or 520) can be saved for recording or PA system gigs. I've heard that's what Stochelo did with 504. But as I spend more time with GJ and acquire more guitars, I am coming to appreciate that tone matters more to me. And I keep thinking that lack of volume can be overcome in some settings, but poor tone is there no matter what. A great guitar to me has an excellent balance of volume and tone, and it's personal taste whether you want the inevitable compromise to lean one direction or the other.

    For those that want volume monster uber alles, have at it. I do understand where you're coming from. But once amplification enters the picture, you just nullified your guitars greatest asset, IMHO. It's really just a matter of taste. I agree that volume matters alot, but to me, tone matters even more.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • Tele295Tele295 San Buenaventura (Latcho Drom), CA✭✭✭ Gitane DG300, D500
    Posts: 629
    "Leo Eimers is specialized in building and restoring Selmer style guitars. He maintenanced Stochelo his Selmer over the last 10 years. The buyer will meet Stochelo Rosenberg and will receive the guitar directly out of the hands of Stochelo. "

    Do the hands come with it?
    Jill Martini Soiree - Gypsy Swing & Cocktail Jazz
    http://www.jillmartinisoiree.com
  • If you get the hands I want the brain :lol: :lol:
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,939
    But as I spend more time with GJ and acquire more guitars, I am coming to appreciate that tone matters more to me.

    Well, ultimately these things are personal and there certainly are people who feel the same way. There are guitars with beautiful, complex tone that aren't loud. They are great too!

    And I keep thinking that lack of volume can be overcome in some settings, but poor tone is there no matter what.

    Well, that's not entirely true as strings, picks, setup, and most importantly the player's technique have a big effect on the tone. That is especially true of Stochelo! You can definitely hear that he's playing a Favino on his early recordings, but it still sounds like him!

    I've known players to prefer very loud guitars which are a bit harsh....they like the volume and then they use their technique to get a better tone.

    For those that want volume monster uber alles, have at it. I do understand where you're coming from. But once amplification enters the picture, you just nullified your guitars greatest asset, I

    Yeah, it seems like that would be true but it's importantly to realize that "loud" doesn't mean that all the frequencies are at a higher db level than another guitar would be. A lot of what actually makes the guitar loud is how those frequencies are distributed. A perfect example are Busatos which seem to achieve their "volume" by being super dry and having very few mids, but a lot of highs and deeper lows. And they are very "simple" in tone, like a bell or flute. That all adds up to cutting power...very, very clear. And when you amplify it you get that clarity which is nice....so in some cases these "loud" guitars have a tone which is beneficial in amplified settings. Sometimes the super warm, bass heavy guitars can sound very muddy when you amplify them.

    Another thing too is that even when you are amplified you are still hearing your acoustic sound....it acts like a little monitor which I find is really helpful. Of course the loud guitars do this really well. The downside is if you are trying to play really loud then a very live acoustic guitar will be more prone to feedback...in that case you really need to get something dead as doornail! But few of us play at those sorts of volumes...
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    No disagreements with anything you just wrote, Michael, and I agree that the player plays the biggest role. We're talking about subtle degrees here. Most GJ guitars are pretty "loud" compared to flat tops, and I think much of that is that most flat tops are midrangy and tend to get swallowed up by the kind of noise that comes with a crowd. GJ guitars tend to really cut in the upper registers, and that translates as loud to listeners. Again, just what you wrote. Also, GJ tone is more "brittle" to my ear than a Martin, and for some reason that seems to help cut through competing noise, although I've no idea why.

    I've had the good fortune to play alot of GJ guitars, not as many as Michael, who lives my dream life, but certainly well more than 50, and I find myself regretting not buying a couple because they weren't loud enough. Two in particular just haunt me, and neither one was loud compared to most GJ guitars. Both arguments have their merit.

    Funny, though...for all it sounds as if we are miles apart, Michael and I, with very few exceptions, like almost exactly the same guitars for exactly the same reasons. Like I said, subtle degrees...
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • Boy am I glad I don't have GAS anymore. :lol: I have one GJ guitar and one fingerstyle classiferri that I use regularly. The rest just gather vibrations hanging on the wall. 8)
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • fraterfrater Prodigy
    Posts: 763
    Far as I'm concerned I find the 607's to be the epitome of Selmer tone, while the 504 sounds almost "too perfect" to my ears, a bit like a classical guitar...
  • WColsherWColsher PhiladelphiaNew
    Posts: 53
    frater - pardon the question from a fairly unsophisticated ear, but is it possible that the "classical guitar" sound might be what appealed to a guy who was more or less pioneering the steel string instrument (at least in Europe)? That is, Django (and his compatriots) favored the Selmer because it resembled the traditional instrument tonally, but had the power to be heard in the new venues?

    On the different tonality front - just heard Gipsy Kings in AC - man are they loud (at least from row 3). But the scene was quite similar to what Dregni describes in his west coast adventures - screaming middle aged (and younger) women in really tight clothes dancing in the aisles. Security had a hard time keeping 'em off the stage! Way cool - as an old time Dead Head it was a fun flashback, but with tailored black outfits in place of tie-dye.

    Plus Mrs. C. and I came out ahead in the casinos!
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