Django's Levin archtop?

Archtop EddyArchtop Eddy Manitou Springs, ColoradoModerator
edited October 2011 in History Posts: 589
Surfing around today I found this article on a 1938 Levin de Luxe archtop owned by Fred Guy. What'a ya think fellas--is this the one Django's playing in the famous WIlliam Gottlieb photo? Article posted Aug 8, 2011. AE


  • Svanis1337Svanis1337 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 459
    Absolutely. The guitar was even put up for auction, and is still for sale: ... 0618990772

    Nobody won the auction.

    $125.000.00 and it's yours.

    It's a really beautiful and colourful guitar, something you wouldn't have guessed by seeing the B&W photos.
  • Archtop EddyArchtop Eddy Manitou Springs, ColoradoModerator
    Posts: 589
    Thanks for sharing the eBay listing. Down to just $105,000. An absolute steal!

    Love the pic there of Fred Guy playing the guitar ala Freddie Green style with it angled on his lap. People -- check out the listing and see the pics of this guitar while they can. AE
  • Svanis1337Svanis1337 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 459
    You're welcome. That pic was taken by William Gottlieb, same place and date as the Django photo you posted. All the black and white photos on the ebay listing are taken by Gottlieb at "The Aquarium" in New York on Django's very first day in the US. You can view them all here:

    Go here to browse photos: ... ndex1.html

    Or here for all Fred Guy photos: ... ,+Fred+?++))

    Don't forget to click "Retrieve higher resolution JPEG version".

    All the Gottlieb Jpegs are badly compressed. You will achieve a much greater result by downloading the TIFFs and coverting them to Jpegs yourself, making sure to convert them in HQ.
  • Archtop EddyArchtop Eddy Manitou Springs, ColoradoModerator
    Posts: 589
    Thanks again. About 15 years ago, our local historical museum brought William Gottlieb to town to exhibit and talk about his photos. My wife and I had a chance to speak with him after his presentation and my wife just reminded me we bought his book of photos which he autographed for us. AE
  • thickpickthickpick ✭✭✭
    Posts: 142
    This is at least its third time around on eBay. (And it was talked about here on the forums.) The good news it's on sale -- 50% off from the $250,000 they were asking previously.

    Just goes to show you, what's a guitar worth? What someone's willing to pay for it.
  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    Posts: 601

    12 years later, it’s up for auction again.

  • luckylucky New
    Posts: 37

    And it now has a list price of £70k-140k.

    I think that’s very ambitious. The association with Django is very weak, there’s no evidence he ever played the guitar, he just posed with it for one set of photos. No doubt he had a strum or two but ultimately that’s conjecture.

    The guitar itself is not particularly collectible and Fred Guy is a minor figure in jazz history, so I can’t see where the value is in this lot.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154

    I've had so many vintage Selmers, Bustaos, etc come through the shop over the years. I'm certain Django probably strummed a chord on at least one of them at some point. I just wish I knew which one and had a photo of it!

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,315

    Apparently this one does have a photo. Second photo of Fred Guy of Duke Ellington's band from the same club. But I don't think that gets one any closer to playing like Django!

  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,857

    This guitar was on display when I went to the 2013 Django exhibition at the Cite de la Musique in Paris.

    According to the display case information, the famous photo of it was taken when Django was in New York City playing with the Ellington band.

    Djnago was scheduled one afternoon for an important newspaper or magazine interview.

    The photographer wanted photos of Django playing his guitar, and of course Django, being Django, showed up without any guitar.

    So thinking quickly, somebody realized that Freddy Guy of the Ellington orchestra was nearby didn’t mind lending Django his Zephyr for the shoot.

    Wouldn’t you let Django borrow your guitar? I would!

    Freddy Guy was one of those 1920’s banjo players who switched to guitar in the early thirties. He was a fine rhythm player, but I never heard him play any solos.

    His real greatness was as a tenor banjo player, and if you, like me, dig all the great early “jungle music” Ellington played in the Cotton Club era, then you will certainly dig Freddy’s innovative banjo work from that period.

    Funny how Freddy’s guitar achieved an immortality that Freddy never did.

    Paul Cezanne: "I could paint for a thousand years without stopping and I would still feel as though I knew nothing."

    Edgar Degas: "Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.... To draw, you must close your eyes and sing."

    Georges Braque: "In art there is only one thing that counts: the bit that can’t be explained."
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