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Django's Rio Guitar

Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
edited September 2010 in History Posts: 1,183
This is a well known photo of Django playing a Rio guitar in 1948 but it is not generally known that is was taken at the Nice Opera House as part of the first Nice Jazz Festival:-

Behind him is Challain Ferret and you can just see Emmanuel Soudieux's right hand. Joseph Reinhardt is behind and to the right and Stephane Grappelli is standing left. This guitar was probably Marcel Bianchi's and Sarane Ferret also owned one. They were made by the German luthier Karl Schneider and were possibly the first electric guitars produced in Europe.

Here are the poor quality recordings of the group made at this concert and you can hear what the Rio guitar sounded like when played by Django.


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  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,183
    Marcel Bianchi and Sarane Ferret playing RIO guitars:-

    Marcel Bianchi

    Sarane Ferret, Rene Mailhes and the actress Magda Schneider
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    Teddy, you are amazing!!! If we ever meet, I am buying the drinks. Thanks so much for all the stuff you find to post.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,183
    Teddy, you are amazing!!! If we ever meet, I am buying the drinks. Thanks so much for all the stuff you find to post.
    :oops: Glad you find it interesting.

    It looks like Bianchi is playing the RIO here:-
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 551
    I don't so sure that the one Bianchi is playing in that photo is a Rio. More than likely it's a Swiss-made Bale. Bianchi was taken prisoner by the Germans during the early days of the war. Somehow he escaped and made his way back to Marseilles (his home). Later he found his way to Switzerland, where he managed to get a permit to work. He played regularly with the Jerry Thomas Swingtette and with Fred Bohler and made a few records. He also played his first electric guitar via some American soldier who had one. In 1944 he purchased the Bale guitar which was a copy of a Gibson. He took this guitar with him when he was repatriated, and I have a photo of him with this same guitar at "Le Doyen" in 1945 and it is clearly from around the same time as Roger's photo. I have several other photos of Sarrane with his Rio, and compared to the plain tailpiece and lacquered peghead on Bianchi's guitar, his guitar has a much more more elaborate tailpiece and peghead. These particular blond Gibson-style French guitars are hard to identify in old photos because so many were made by different European workshops. I have some Jacobacci advertisements from the 60s around here somewhere, and they made very similar guitars under several labels. The RV guitars and amps made in the Bramer workshops and sold at the famous Major Conn store in Pigalle back in the 50s also looked almost exactly like the Rio and Bale guitars. Confused now? I am!

    My photos of Sarrane are very large tif files and won't upload. Is there any way to resave this kind of image file as a smaller, low-resolution file? If there is I'll do it and then upload the images.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,183
    Here is Sarane Ferret playing what looks like a Selmer and the rhythm guitarist with a RIO that may well have belonged to Sarane.

    .......and a couple of RIOs:-
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