Well before World War II, Di Mauro guitars were played alongside the much more expensive Selmer guitars. Even after Selmer ended guitar production in 1952, DiMauros were still the more affordable compared to Busatos and Favinos. The Di Mauro brothers were famed for their alchemy: fairly priced guitars to meet the demand in the lower end of the market, yet a lush, opulent sound. Their vintage tone is still appreciated by many contemporary professionals today.

Notable players of Di Mauro guitars are or were: Django Reinhardt, Baro Ferret (depicted on the left with a modéle coeur), Francis-Alfred Moerman, Ray Ventura, Jacques Brel, George Brassens, Sacha Distel, Henri Salvador, Jacques Higelin and Jean-Yves Dubanton, Bireli Lagrene, Dorado Schmitt, Tchavolo Schmitt, Moreno, Boulou Ferré, Ninine Garcia, Patrick Saussois, Samy Daussat, Joscho Stephan, Eric Clapton, Pat Metheny.

While being trained as instrument makers, the Di Mauro brothers both build classical guitars and mandolins in Catania, an epicenter for string instrument crafting in Sicily. As part of the first Italian diaspora of master Sicilian luthiers and cabinetmakers immigrating to France, fleeing from Mussolini’s fascist regime and state controlled (music) factories after countless of business failures from the effects of the Great Depression, including halted production of the massive instrument factory G. Puglisi Reale e Figli, Joseph starting crafting steel-string (jazz) guitars in Paris in 1925 while Antoine followed in 1934.

After the introduction of Mario Maccaferri’s Selmer French jazz guitars starting 1932 and after its popularization by Django Reinhardt soon after, Di Mauro’s instruments were largely inspired by Selmer, but both brothers added their own particularities to the Maccaferri’s formula: distinct sound holes, different woods, and later, electric pick-ups.
While Antoine Di Mauro’s expanded his family business at his own instruments factory, Joseph the elder worked at a small luthier shop, Gallesi, located at Rue Guénot 2 in the 11th district of Paris. When Gallesi passed away in 1952, Joseph took over his business and continued producing numerous instruments until death in 1966.

Written by Daniël ter Laan