Vintage Selmer or US made B5??

Discussion in 'The Great Bigsby forum' started by Wayne Gretschzky, Jan 11, 2020.

  1. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    This well worn B5 appears to be a Selmer made example by way of features like the Philips top bolt in the swivel, the slotted screws behind the removable pins, and most of all... the license stamp commonly found on the reverse side. However, this example also displays the Patent number stamped (or cast) on the reverse, which is a feature found on only the earliest US made B5 examples (circa '61/62). It's very curious...
    s-l1700-3.jpg s-l1700-4.jpg s-l1700.jpg s-l1700-1.jpg
    thunder58, Merc, loudnlousy and 3 others like this.
  2. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Did they send some US Bigsby surplus parts as samples to Selmer for the first batch?

    Where was the Selmer factory located, and why did they bother with the “Made in England” stamp on a simple spacer(under the circlips)?
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2020
  3. Pete66

    Pete66 Gretschie

    Nov 18, 2015
    Wyre and Fylde
    I had a Selmer Bigsby on a 1959 Hofner Senator and it was just as good as the US made ones.
    That was a guitar I regret selling.

    2020-01-12 01.17.16.png
    Merc, rob batz and new6659 like this.
  4. knavel

    knavel Synchromatic

    Dec 26, 2009
    London, England
    The existence of a 1961/62 Selmer Bigsby seems consistent with the history discussed from a Lennon perspective on the following site:

    One of the more intriguing aspects of Lennon's first Rickenbacker is the numerous modifications that he made to this instrument to control knobs, vibrato and refinishing. While this article focuses on the refinishing of his instrument from a natural to a black finish, a number of additional findings are also discussed, the first of which is the installation of the Bigsby vibrato. The Bigsby story begins, in part, with Lennon's friend, Chris Huston, arranging to obtain a Bigsby from the United States. The details of which can be seen in the letter below.

    What is kind of coincidental is that at some point I tried to work out if Lennon's B5 was Selmer or not. I recently had a back and forth with a guy on the FB Rickenbacker page who said he's been to the museum in Japan where Rickenbacker V81 is and said it is not Selmer. The only way to me that Lennon's can be said to be Selmer or not without removing the B5 and looking at the underside would be looking into the holes on the back of the bar to see what screw in tines were used.

    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
    wildeman, Merc, Pete66 and 1 other person like this.
  5. loudnlousy

    loudnlousy Friend of Fred

    Oct 18, 2015
    I always thought that Selmer was selling trumpets, saxophones etc..
    I was surprised when I saw vintage amps with their name on it but I did not know that they sold guitars, too. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.
  6. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    I'm not aware that Selmer sold guitars... but they did (obviously) get the licensing rights from PA Bigsby for the vibratos. Hofner was a big customer for Selmer made Bigsby-style vibratos.
    loudnlousy likes this.
  7. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    Django Reinhardt was playing Selmer guitars back in the 1930’s
  8. Wayne Gretschzky

    Wayne Gretschzky Country Gent

    Aug 27, 2008
    East Coast
    Well yeah... I was thinking electric guitars (that would benefit from a vibrato). But you're correct!
  9. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    I’d put a Bigsby vibrato on a Sel/Mac style guitar if I could!
  10. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    He played Selmer-Maccaferris until his death in ‘53.

    Speaking of, Selmer never made electrics(not counting a lapsteel) but Django (and according to lore very happily) promoted an electrified Selmer in ‘52. The amp is a Stimer.

  11. wildeman

    wildeman Gretschified

    May 10, 2015
    Interesting pickup, kinda looks like a DeArmond FH-C but not. I wonder why they didn't just use the DA which was widely available in '52, maybe it wasn't in France, hmmm.
  12. Ricochet

    Ricochet I Bleed Orange

    Nov 13, 2009
    Monkey Island
    Seems very plausible to me, plus there is perhaps the matter of national pride of using French produce... I read Django wasn’t exactly complimentary when he had to play US made guitars while touring the US.
  13. Tele295

    Tele295 Country Gent

    Pickup and amp are both made by Stimer. As far as availability, this is post-war France. They were still rebuilding. A Dearmond pickup was quite an imported luxury at the time.

    Django was experimenting with electrics as early as 1946, with mixed satisfaction. The Stimer pickup came out in 1948 and allowed him to use his favorite Selmer guitars with the pickup
    Ricochet likes this.
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