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20th Century Guitar
Rara Avis -- 1933 Selmer Maccaferri Grand Modele

November 1999
by Bianca Soros

Link to 20th Century Guitar Magazine

his 1933 tenor guitar was designed in 1932 by well-known genius, inventor and classical musician, Mario Maccaferri, for Selmer, the Parisian band instrument company. The guitar was called the grand Modele Quatre Cortes, the grand 4-string model, best used to accompany voice or for solo instrumental harmonies.

    This guitar was developed to transition tenor banjo players to guitar in the 1930s in London. Banjo players could make the change relatively effortlessly by going from a 4-string tenor banjo to the 4-tring design of the Grand Modele Quatre Cortes guitar.

   This early Maccaferri was considered a prototypical model guitar. The Eddie Freeman version guitar was built without an internal sound chamber. The guitar also had a different shape headstock as well as a change in the rosette design. One of the most apparent design changes was in the sound hole shape, going from a d-hole shape to a round sound hole in 1934.

   This particular Selmer Maccaferri has an early serial number of 162 and has the Mario Maccaferri patent stamp on the headstock. The spruce top is split with a hatchet to induce the natural strength of the wood for stability purposes. The back and sides are laminated rosewood. The neck has a non-adjustable, aluminum truss ros and the guitar has a French polish finish and gold plated hardware.

   The Selmer guitars were popularized by Django Reinhardt, one of the great jazz musicians of this century. Maccaferri and Django forever changed the sound of modern jazz.End

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