History - DiMauro

dimauro 1940 spchJosephDiMauroelderDi Mauro-Guitars as already mentioned earlier, besides the more famous brands of Selmer, Busato or Favino-guitars belong to the worldwide most famous Gypsyjazz-Guitars - for good reason.

Joseph Di Mauro (1894-1966), the brother of Antoine Di Mauro (image right), was born in Catania (Sicilia) in 1884.

He learned the craftsmanship of building guitars and made guitars as well as mandolins. In 1925 he immigrated from Siciilia to Paris (as many other luthiers did in that time, for example Jacques Favino, Barnabe Busato, Castellucia, and many more). Joseph DiMauro at first worked for another italian guitarmaker named GALLESI, inside his workshop in the Rue de Guénot (whose workshop has been founded in 1898 already).

Antoine Di Mauro (1900-1976), the brother of Joseph DiMauro (the elder, 1894-1966), already built instruments in Catania (Sicilia) like Mandolins, Guitars and and other stringed instruments. He came to Paris a little later on, around 1934.
Antoine founded his own shop and workshop in the backyard of a furniture store at the Rue de Fontarabie. In this place he stayed for two years building guitars and mandolins. In 1936 he moves into the Rue Rançon in Paris.

DiMauro_Workshop_021Slowly his family also came to Paris bit by bit and finally himself and his wife as his three sons Francois (the eldest), Nicolas and Joseph (the younger) are all living together in Paris.

Francois is starting to work in his father´s workshop as well after finishing school.

In 1942 the workshop moves into the Rue Réunion 50 and is modernized and enlarged, as well as the name of the store has been changed into "Lutherie Moderne".

Just a couple of years later, around 1950, again the shop is enlarged and DiMauro_Workshop_011 Joseph DiMauro additionally takes over some more rooms at housenumber 47. The workshop in number Nr. 50 is just beeing used as a storage room for wood.

JosephDiMauroyoungerJoseph Di Mauro (the younger, 1932-2001) is the youngest son of Antoine Di Mauro. He starts to work from 1947 at the age of 15 in the family-company together with his father and the two brothers.

After the death of his father in 1976 he takes over the workshop completely alone. His brothers decided to go on own paths meanwhile. As his son Nicolas (1928-1999) the two brothers are working in the field of Catering, his second brother (born 1925), workes with his own company Importing/Exporting instruments and  Accsessoires in Montreuil since 1972. He is as well retired meanwhile.

Joseph DiMauro later on works under the name "DiMauro - Luthier" on his own and keeps building  instruments for another 18 years, mainly guitars and mandolins.

In June 1993 he stoppes his work earlier than expected. There are plans for the house which his workshops is residing in to beeing trashed. But at the age of 67 Joseph Di Mauro doesnt want to start all over again and closes his workshop and company. So he retires and after only 2 years dies early at the age of 69 in Paris (Source: www.di-mauro.fr)

Here are some pictures of the workshop in the Rue Réunion 50 in Paris.


DiMauro´s Workshop about 1942


DiMauro´s Workshop about 1942


DiMauro´s Workshop about 1942


DiMauro´s Workshop about 1942


DiMauro´s Workshop about 1942


DiMauro´s Workshop about 1942

Features DiMauro-Guitars (1/2)

hist2The guitars of the brothers  DiMauro which mainly were built between 1930 and 1976 always have had the highest prestige amongst Gypsyjazz-players worldwide. It is known that even Django Reinhardt played DiMauro-guitars (see image below).

dimauroworksEven if not as famous as the instruments of the other famous makers (Selmer, Busato, Favino) the brothers DiMauro always gave their instruments a very unique and special personal character.

In this article about Feautures of original DiMauros we briefly describe the most common details of DiMauro-Guitars, with description and images.

Special inlays, a special kind of pickguard or the form of the soundhole - Di-Mauro-Guitars have always been something special in the kind of their making.

The guitar-models built by the two brothers DiMauro over the years had serveral names or models:

"Boogie Woogie", "Heart", "Saint Louis Blues", "Modele Jazz", "Chorus" or "Special Chorus" and "Special Chorus DeLuxe". Later on they created two elektric Jazz-Guitar-Models named "E 1" and "E 2" with one or two pickups installed.


Modele "Swing"
"Boogie Woogie"


Modele "Heart"


"Saint Louis Blues"


Modele "Jazz"


Modele "Special
Chorus Deluxe"


Modele "Jazz E 1"

One very unique and outstanding Guitar-series of Di Mauro´s always has been the models called
"Chorus", "Special Chorus" or "Special Chorus DeLuxe" which existed in different makings.

jazzsc2 jazzsc10 jazzc6 chorus_luxe

(here you may take a look at the whole catalogue)

Read more -> Features of original DiMauro-Guitars (2/2)

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Features DiMauro-Guitars (2/2)

In Part 2/2 of this article about Feautures of original DiMauros we briefly describe the exact details of DiMauro-Guitars, with descriptions and images.

Modele Special Chorus

DiMauro_1950_InlaysThe following special characteristics are only to find with DiMauro-Guitars of the "Chorus" and Special Chorus"-Series:

DiMauro_1950_f_holesBig F-holes, more known from el. Jazzguitars today, in the middle area of the top (Image 4 left). Even small details like the end of the fretboard show great a personal note and this has always been "different" with DiMauros compared to other guitarmakers.

The fretboard shows diamond-shaped inlays (image 5 right) typically for DiMauro "Chorus" and "Special-Chorus"-models, which were in the beginning made from real mother-of-pearl, later on also from hardplastic (supposedly because of the lack of material in the postwar-times). Some cheaper models of the"Chorus" also had normal position dots from mother-of-pearl.

The Tailpiece

The brothers DiMauro used different types of special fancy shaped tailpieces which only were to find on original DiMauro-Guitars (Images 5, 6 and 7 below). So the tailpieces are one important feature to distinguish an original DiMauro from other Gypsyjazz-guitars from the same era.

DiMauro_1940_Tailpiece_01 DiMauro_1940_Tailpiece_02 DiMauro_1940_Tailpiece_03

The Tuners (machine heads)

On their first guitars around the years 1930 until approximately 1940 the brothers DiMauro often used simple latch-tuners, pretty often also with small mandolin-knobs from bone or hardplastic (Image 7 left below).

DiMauro 1940 02 Ch 03a

simple Tuners, 1938


SB-tuners, 1949

On many of their later Guitarmodels starting from about 1940, especially on the more expensive "Special Chorus" and "Special Chorus Deluxe" (which also were the two high-class models of DIMauro) the famous SB-tuners (Image 8 above right) were installed which were also used on Selmer-, Busato and Favino-Guitars ever since.

The Logo or brandmark

DiMauro_ModJazzEl_1950_06 DiMauro_1940_LabelOne of the most typical signs and features of original DiMauro-guitars are the Logo or brandmarks the guitars were signed with. On some older models they installed a little plastic-plate with an engraved brass-logo "DIMauro", attached to the top left beside the fretboard-joint (Image 9 right).

More often the DiMauros were signed with a real "brandmark" which with hot iron had been stamped into the backside of the headstock, stating the Logo and writing "A. Di Mauro" (Image 10 left).
Stempel Label
Sometimes the Label was also been staped on the backside of the headplate like a kind of normal stamp (Image 11 right below).

This kind of brandmark was a very unique way of signing their guitars which was solely to find with DiMauros. Unlike on Selmer or Favino-guitars on DIMauro-guitars no Serialnumbers are existent at all.

DiMauro_1985_Jazz2_03Some guitar-models made around 1950 were also equipped with paper-labels underneath the soundhole glued to the backside of the bottom. The labels were stating for example "Mod. Jazz 2" and the signet "Joseph Di Mauro, Luthier a Paris" (Image 12 left). Some of the older DiMauros also had these kind of paper-labels, but may have "lost" them over the years (or it has been removed for whatever reason).

Other special features

DiMauro_1950_ArmauflageSome of the DiMauro-models "Special Chorus DeLuxe" had special "arm-guard" made from white plastic to save the sides where the arm of the player always used to leave scratches on the laquer (Image 13 right). These were taken off later on at some models by the players

DiMauro_1950_BridgeMany of the later models from around 1950 had installed very modern hight-adjustable bridges (Image 13 left), unlike on many modern Jazzguitars nowdays is standard.

Joseph DiMauro worked until the sudden end of his carreer in 1993, building instruments. He died in the year 2001 in Paris.

DiMauro-Guitars, same as Selmer-, Busato and Favino-Guitars, meanwhile have become collectors-items, even if not as famous they usually are not sold at same high prices as equivalents of Selmer-, Busato- or Favino-Guitars of the same years ... even if their quality of crafting and true tone doesn´t stand back behind their competitors.

So a well aged DiMauro in great condition may be a payable and worthwhile alternative to all the other higher priced Gypsyjazz-Guitars...

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jazzsc10joseph-di-mauro-heart-hole-frontThe Di Mauro-Guitars, besides the more known brands of Selmer, Busato or Favino-guitars, belong (for good reason!) to the worldwide most famous Gypsyjazz-Guitars ever.

Worldfamous musicians like for example Jacquel Brel, Sacha Distel, Henri Salvador, Georges Brassens, Django Reinhardt, Bireli Lagrene, Moreno Winterstein, Samy Daussat, Ray Ventura, Francis-Alfred Moerman, Tschavolo Schmitt, Boulou Ferré, Pat Matheny, Mondine and Ninine Garcia as many, many other musicians more played and still play these guitars until this day.

Here you can read more about the History of Di-Mauro-Guitars and the exact Features of original DiMauro-Guitars. In these article-series about DiMauro we briefly describe the most important features of DiMauros as of their history.

Antoine DI MAURO (1900-1976), the brother of Joseph Di Mauro (1894-1966) the elder, also makes mandolins in Catania/Italy, arrived in Paris in 1934. He sets his works in the background of a furniture store in the Rue de Fontarabie in Paris. There he made mandolins and guitars during 2 years. In 1936 Antoine opens up its first workshop in Rançon-Street in Paris.
Since 1993, Di Mauro guitars are no longer manufactured. Today they are still the delight of musicians and collectors.They are appreciated by Gypsy jazz guitarists with its models of Selmer-Maccaferri type, played by Django Reinhardt, whose house Di Mauro was one of the first to propose versions. The house Di Mauro is also known for his own original creations, like the famous jazz guitar "Special Chorus" whith the openning in "S" (image left above), created in the 40s or the model "Hearthole" with a soundhole in form of a heart.

The company of DiMauro-guitars was founded by Joseph Di Mauro, the elder (1894-1966) and his brother Antoine Di Mauro (1900-1976). Both of them were immigrated from Sicilia/Italy to Paris in the early 1920ies where they both lived and worked from around 1925 until 1966.

Later on the youngest son of Antoine, Joseph Di Mauro (the younger) took over the business of his father, leading it until his own death in the year 1993, also working and living in Paris.

Read more -> DiMauro-history

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Gypsyjazz History (1/3)

To understand how the music-style of "Jazz Manouche" or "Gypsyjazz" (also known under the name "European Jazz") came alive, one must learn a bit about the history of the Sinti and Roma.

history_sr01According to the oldest records the Sinti are descended from the Indians. They lived and worked in India from possibly in the 5th century, already at that time known as famous musicians.

The writings say that they often used to play at the courts of the maharajas at that time, until they fell from grace for some unknown reason and therefore were expelled from the country. (Athough some Sintis deny this version, however, other secure knowledge also do not exist).

"Sinti and Roma already lived in Europe for many centuries. In some countries they are old-established and historically grown minorities. They have been long integrated citizens working and living next door, even some of them where fighting as soldiers for the german army in the 1. and beginning of 2. worldwar. In the "Third Reich", the period of the Nazis between 1933 and 1945, they were expelled from army and brought into the Concentration-camps, same as the jews. Over 700.000 Sintis and Roma have been killed in these camps."

In Germany the Gypsies are called "Sinti", in East and Southeast Europe - where their number is by far much bigger - they´re known as "Roma". In France one speaks of "Manouches" or "Bohemians", in Spain again they are named "Gitanos".

gypsycaravansIndeed, the name concept "Sinti(s)" (or "Zigeuner" in german) is also afflicted at the same time with misinterpretation. Sintis always mostly have been and still are the musicians in the different "Gypsies"-Tribes.
Thus there were many different names for the different professional guilds available among the Gypsies. There were the so-called "Kalderescha" (from Kaldera = kettle), these were the boiler-makers and blacksmiths amongst them. There were also different names for wicker-workers, for traders, musicians (Sintis), horse dealers and animal traders etc. Of course also other professions amongst Sintis were practised especially for "making a living", but the majority used to be musicians until today.

That said the name "Sinti and Roma" used today is only one collective name which encloses a huge number of groups. However, the german term for "Gypsy" (Zigeuner) is a foreign name which is rejected by many members of the minority (as well as by us) meanwhile as rather discriminating.

"The word "Gypsy" or "Gipsy" is a foreign name which seems to exist in similar form in many European languages. The exact origin of the common-European Ethnonyms is unsafe and mythical. In german language the german word "Zigeuner" (Gypsy) national-etymologically and erroneously was made up from "Zieh-Gäuner" and became falsely reinterpreted as „(around) moving crooks“. Today this name "Zigeuner" is often rejected as negative loaded." (Source: Wikipedia)

"On the basis of linguistic investigations could be proved that the original origin of the "Sinti and Roma" lies in India, because their language, the "Romanes", is very closeto the old-indian language of Sanskrit.

In the course of the centuries own fiction dialects developed in the respective homelands of the Sinti and Roma, thus also in the case of the German "Sinti". Their original language "Romanes" is still used within the families beside the respective national language as the second mother tongue." (Source Wikipedia: History of Sinti and Roma).

Read more -> JM-History (2/3)

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