Inside the Selmer shop (114-116 Charing Cross Road) circa 1964. Head of sales Rod Hannaford with a selection of Selmer amplifiers, and Gibson and Futurama (Hagstrom) guitars.
Selmer was one of, if not the most important name in musical instruments in 1960s Britain. It was an offshoot of Selmer Paris, that had been trading since 1928. Aswell as being the major UK and Commonwealth distributor of guitars for the likes of Fender, Gibson and Hofner, it also had it's own brand of guitars Futurama, which were rebranded guitars by Swedish manufacturer Hagstrom and Czechoslovakian manufacturers Resonet and CSHN.
But the guitar brand most strongly associated with Selmer has to be Hofner. Selmer had been selling Hofner guitars since 1953, but the early 1960s were definitely their heyday. Hofner made distinct (though similar to European models) guitars for Selmer, which were given American sounding names: President, Congress, Senator etc; typically hollow bodies in the style of Gibson, and solid bodies in the style of Fender. These guitars played very well with the American-minded British public who could not afford the American equivalents, priced many times higher.
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In the summer of 1967, Selmer also introduced a number of guitars actually branded Selmer: The Emperor, Diplomat, Astra, Triumph and Arizona; all manufactured by Hofner.
But Selmer also produced it's own excellent guitar amplifiers, that, at the time, were somewhat eclipsed by Vox (with their Beatles and Stones product endorsements), and later Marshall. But many of these were actually very good amplifiers and are still well regarded, and used in the studio as great recording amps - such as the Selmer Treble 'n' Bass.
The 1970s were a troubled time for guitar businesses worldwide. Selmer found itself changing hands a number of times, being owned briefly by two separate Gibson parent companies CMI, and later Norlin.
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Below: Selmer Emperor circa 1967
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