A Brief History
The Selmer guitar is an acoustic guitar best known as the favoured instrument of Django Reinhardt. Selmer, a French manufacturer, produced the instrument from 1932 to about 1952.
In 1932, Selmer partnered with the Italian guitarist and luthier Mario Maccaferri to produce a line of acoustic guitars based on his unorthodox "Grande Bouche" (big mouth) or D-hole design. These were widely known by musicians and owners in Britain by their model name rather than the manufacturer, hence they are commonly referred to as Maccaferri or Selmer-Maccaferri guitars. The D-hole was initially designed to accept an internal resonator, invented by Maccaferri, which was designed to increase the volume of the guitar and to even out variations in volume and tone between different strings.
Although Maccaferri's association with Selmer ended in 1934, Selmer continued to develop the guitar (abandoning the resonator) and in 1936 the definitive version of Selmer guitar, the 'Modèle Jazz' was launched. It became known as the "Petite Bouche" (small mouth) or "Oval Hole".
The "Petite Bouche" model has an especially loud and cutting voice, and remains the design preferred by lead players in Django-style bands, while the accompanying rhythm players often use D-hole instruments. This was the lineup in Django's Quintette du Hot Club de France during its classic period in the late 1930s, and it remains the pattern for bands that emulate it, although it should be noted that Django used the 12 fret-to-body D-hole model until about 1936, after which he favoured the recently introduced 14 fret to body oval hole model.
Le Voi Models
I make Selmer style guitars in all the original configurations. i.e. 14 fret-to-body oval hole model with 670mm scale length, 12 fret-to-body oval hole model with 640mm scale length (the so-called "transitional" model), 12 fret-to-body D hole model with 640mm scale length, plus a 14 fret-to-body D hole model with 670mm scale length. This model was not produced by Selmer but has become popular in recent years.