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A student of ours inherited this exceptional guitar from his grandfather in France. Inside the body it is labeled Guitare “Gelas” 192?.

Essentially, it is a guitar within a guitar. There are two intersecting tops that create an angle that force a negative pitch. It uses loop-end strings that attach to a tailpiece at the end of the body and descend down one plane where they meet a double saddle that arrests the strings. They then ascend along another plane and over the sound holes, that’s right, TWO sound holes— two guitars in one! The strings are actually pulling upwards on the sound table like a harp.

This guitar is truly an amazing piece and I am convinced that it played a part in Mario Maccaferri’s creation of his Selmer guitar designs. The sound hole rosette is super multi-ply colored stripes just like a Maccaferri.

The guitar is due back in the shop in several weeks when we will begin restoration work. I can hardly wait to hear it strung up.

4 commments

January 15, 2013
4:57 am

Joe LaCour


Hello. I have a guitar like this one, built in 1938. It came with steel strings but I want to string it with nylon. Can you recommend strings?

Also, the fretboard on this guitar is concave and the frets are very worn. I think the fretboard (rosewood, painted black) has been sanded or filed down to flatten it, but it is still concave. A luthier has said he can flatten the fretboard and refret it, but it already looks thin to me. Might it be better to replace the fretboard? Can you give an idea of what that might cost?

Thanks for any help. I can send pictures if you like.

Joe LaCour

January 16, 2013
9:38 am



Hello Joe,
Thanks for the information. Pictures would be very helpful. Once I take a look at them, I can give you my recommendation.

Ian Schneller

January 17, 2013
2:14 am

Joe LaCour


The guitar is almost identical to the one shown here on your site. It is no. 2016 from 1938. It has the same “button” ? -type string holder on the lower bout. It has very fine grooves that are too small for the diameter of classical strings. I can’t see the ones on your guitar well enough to see if they’re the same, but the string holder looks pretty much identical.

Pictures of mine are here. I tried to show the condition of the fretboard in a couple of them:

Thanks again for your interest.

December 20, 2016
3:06 am

Joe LaCour


Never heard back from you. I’m now in the process of trying to make an ebony tailpiece for this guitar. Any advice would be appreciated. Peace and joy to you this season.

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Specimen is a full-service repair shop. We specialize in the repair of all stringed instruments and tube amps.

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