The Castelluccia legacy

The Castelluccia legacy

Castelluccia is a big name when it comes down to the vintage gypsy guitars. Castelluccia is actually a family of luthiers who have passed their knowledge from father to son over multiple generations. When talking about vintage gypsy guitars the name is mostly referring to Jean-Baptiste Castelluccia who’s been making guitars professionally in Paris since the 1940’s. A lot of the instruments that have been made by his hands have been able to withstand the ravages of time, not only because of their good construction but also because of their outstanding acoustic quality and beautiful appearances. This is what gave Castellucia the status as a excellent luthier. Nowadays, these instruments still represent quality and are loved among gypsy guitarists and collectors.

In the early 1900s’ the Castelluccia lutherie story began with Francesco Castelluccia, whom was focussed on the making of violins. While still living in Italy he passed his knowledge, expertise and the profession on to his son Jean-Baptiste. Apparently Jean-Baptiste made his very first guitar when he was 13 and gave it to friend. Around 1946 Jean-Baptiste moved to Paris while swing music was at it’s peek. He lived close to “la zone”, a (in)famous gypsy area, which was the epicenter of the gypsy scene. There he was situated together with a small group of other -now famous- Italian luthiers who where specialized in making steel stringed gypsy guitars. At some point in Paris he met the great Django Reinhardt and it’s been said that this led him to make gypsy jazz guitars.

Jean-Baptiste Castelluccia
Jacques Castelluccia working in the workshop ~1970

Jean-Baptiste’s son; Jacques joined his father’s practice in 1954 and so he is now continuing the name of the Castelluccia legacy. His focus lies rather on classical guitars, but he also still produces gypsy guitars in quite a great variety of models and with great care. Jean-Baptiste passed away in 1964 but luckily he passed his knowledge and expertise on to his son who’s now running the Castelluccia atelier in Paris.

Typical Castelluccia features

There have been a lot of different models produced, but one that stands out a lot is the eye-catching D-hole model. It has a typical soundhole shape, slightly different from the Selmer D-hole. They have 14 frets to the body and a nicely curved back. The interesting thing about these guitars is that they come in a great variety. Different types of woods and bindings indicate whether it was a normal or deluxe model.
Castelluccia has also developed their own style tailpieces. There are some variations in the design but you can easily pick them out because of the CJ Signature.

Castelluccia D-hole (deluxe model)
A typical Castelluccia tailpiece with the C & J initials (source:djangobooks.com)

The history of Gerome guitars

The Gerome family has been making instruments in Mirecourt, the ancient center of French luthiery, for over a century. First known for their Neapolitan mandolins, the Gerome workshop eventually grew to the point where they were producing nearly 2000 guitars and mandolins a month. Over the decades Gerome instruments gained a reputation for their excellent quality, great tone, and aesthetically beauty. By the 1990s the Gerome brothers had all retired and passed their legacy onto their apprentice, Philippe Moneret.

René Gérôme has four sons, the latter do not leave the world of violin making, three of them take over the family workshop, while the fourth works in a sawmill wood violin.

The Gérôme frères workshop

René, André and Lucien work with their father until 1967, from that date the Gérôme workshop becomes the Gérôme frères workshop.
While respecting the family tradition, the three brothers make the small society evolve. While René Gérôme sold only to wholesalers, they decided to reduce the marketing of their instruments and sell directly to musicians.

source: www.hendrixguitars.com


Zonnegloren goes Django 2020

The second edition of this small, but really nice Dutch gypsy jazz festival will be held during the first weekend of September. Because of the Corona situation there we're some resctrictions but the organization is happy to announce that they will continue with the festival this year. Lots of gypsy jazz lovers are happy to hear so. Considering that this years Samois sur Seine festival has been cancelled it is even a greater joy that there is still a possiblity to expierence late night jams in the outdoor. Musicians and Gypsjazz lovers from all over Europe are coming over.
The location is the same as last year; in a nice and nature rich envoirment in the north of Holland. The town is called Selen and the Camping is named "Zonnegloren".

More soon.

 


Ladies and gentlemen; we are online!

Finally, we are online! The idea to create this platform has been in our minds for a long time. The corona situation made us both rethink our ideas and plans about the future. Spending most time indoors gave us the time and focus to actually start this off.
We're looking forward to seeing this platform grow, help a lot of clients out, seeing beautiful instruments come and go and learn in process. In the meantime we're doing everything we can to get this to a succesful start.
We also have some great ideas for promotional video's in the future, but those will show up when they're ready. Let's just keep in touch through facebook and instagram.


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