Thursday, 3 March 2011

Specimen aluminium-bodied Selmer-style jazz guitar
This Specimen aluminium-bodied guitar is currently being offered for sale on eBay with a starting price of $2,500. It is styled after the Selmer oval-hole gypsy jazz guitars (although with a scaled-down body size) as used by the likes of Django Reinhardt. The seller refers to it as "Maccaferri" but this appellation is a total misnomer. Selmer Maccaferri guitars featured a larger D-shaped soundhole (originally conceived to house an internal resonator device which eventually proved unpopular), and by the time that the Selmer company had brought out the oval-soundhole guitar they had ceased all connection with Mario Maccaferri himself.

Anyway, as for this Specimen "tribute", I'll borrow from the eBay listing and let the seller explain all:
This one-of-a-kind guitar was built in Chicago about ten years ago by Ian Schneller, founder of Specimen Products and the Chicago School of Guitar Making. In the event you are familiar with Specimen, you don't need me to say much of anything here. This is a very serious guitar, for serious bidders only. Do not bid prior to researching Specimen Products--you will be glad you did, as it is quite an amazing operation. Assuming you are not familiar with Specimen, here is the description from the Specimen website of this guitar, and whereas Specimen has produced many guitars over the years, they've only produced one Maccaferri, and this is it:

"A nod to another point in history — Django Reinhardt, Mario Maccaferri. This fully-acoustic aluminum Specimen guitar has quite a usable volume unamplified. When plugged in with a regular mono cable, its mini-humbucker provides a feedback resistant electric signal. When used with a stereo 1/4-inch cable plugged into a Fishman Power Blend pedal, its transducer in the bridge surreptitiously accompanies the humbucker via a third wire. This enables either a stereo or combined output with a broad and complex tone pallet. I have always been critical of transducer units, but I believe that the technology has finally matured. And, coupled with the sustain of aluminum, the sound of this instrument is truly stunning. It's like listening to a guitar through a microscope. A tiny drop of water teaming with life."

The only blemishes on this guitar are a very small knick in the back of the neck about halfway up--doesn't impair the instrument but you can feel it when the left hand is moving to various positions on the neck. Otherwise, there is slight corrosion on a few of the screw heads at both the pickup and bridge. It appears that whereas the larger screws holding the body together are stainless, the smaller screws holding the components (i.e. bridge, pick-up, are not). This is a NO-RESERVE auction for a very rare and very special guitar.

[...] [A] Fishman Powerblend pedal--barely used, with all original paperwork and packaging--is included. [...]

Features of the guitar are as follows:
• Fully-acoustic aluminum body
• Bird's eye maple neck with aluminum facing on headstock
• Ebony fretboard
• Banjo tuners
• Mini- humbucking pickup in neck position
• Fishman Transducer pickup in ebony bridge
• Volume and tone controls
• Custom-made aluminum tailpiece with sculpted ebony insert
(Ignore all reference to Maccaferri - as already noted above, this is incorrect).

See also:

G L Wilson

Guitarz - The Original Guitar Blog - now in its 10th year!

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