what's inside

Set-up & Playability

As an acoustic instrument, the jazz guitar has better volume and projection when the string action is set a bit higher. However, with the action set lower, it is easier to play. Some players are more accustomed to the lower action of an "electric guitar-like" setup, while some will prefer the more traditional feel of higher action with no string buzz. Then again, some may desire something in between the two that offers good volume, and provides a touch of buzz to be used for effect -which is typical of gypsy guitar.

String height affects the sound of the guitar in many ways. high action leaves more space for the strings to vibrate without touching the frets, and the steeper angle over the bridge applies more pressure on the top. Depending on the top, some guitars like that, and some don't. High string action can also reduce sustain, and treble response, while low action can sound brighter and more "open".

All AJL gypsy guitars are provided with three rosewood bridges of different heights, which makes adjusting the string action very easy. When the neck is adjusted straight, measured between the high E-string and the top of the 12th fret, the string action is set to 1.75mm, 2.00mm, or 2.25mm (Low E-string is set + 0.5mm). Each bridge is adjusted and shaped for that particular guitar only.

All bridges have intonation adjusted to New Savarez Argentine 010 stings,unless otherwise requested.

AJL-neck profile

Old Selmer guitars had quite flat and angular neck profiles, which many find uncomfortable to play.

The AJL-neck profile retains the same traditional Selmer dimensions, and 20" radius, yet offers much more when it comes to comfort and playability. The over-all shaping of each neck, the fret ends, and how the fretboard edge is gently rolled off, are all handled with great care and attention to detail. Anyways, as you all know, neck shapes are a never-ending topic amongst guitar players, but you should try mine!

All Selmer/Maccaferri models are crafted with original headstock joint. 

Trussrods & reinforcing plates

The neck itself should be stiff, and transfer most of the vibration to the body of the guitar. The neck should not vibrate, or flex in balance between the string tension and a tightened truss rod. Vintage Maccaferri guitars even had their necks reinforced with aluminium plates.

All AJL guitars come equipped with a two-way adjustable truss rod, and can be ordered with additional carbon fiber reinforcment strips. These carbon fiber reinforced necks are even lighter, and stiffer. This enhancement causes the neck to be more stable, produces greater volume, and requires less seasonal adjustment.


Back & sides

 Gypsy guitar backs, and sides are made up of three layers of selected veneers. Each layer is carefully sanded to specific thickness, and then laminated together in a mold here at AJL-guitars. This traditional Selmer construction makes the body both very light, and exceptionally strong. This procedure also allows for the back to be tuned to a desired thickness and flexibility.


Ecological Brazilian rosewood

The Brazilian rosewood (Dahlbergia Nigra) used for my guitars is over 40 years old "Pre-convention" stock. Because this wood was harvested prior to 1991, CITES can provide documentation with each guitar enabling then to be legally exported and sold internationally. So, this precious old wood doesn't need to be wasted! You can have it singing sweetly!

So, no rainforests are harmed, and no living Brazilian rosewood trees are cut down for the production of AJL-guitars. Each guitars is provided with CITES documentation, so you won't end up in any trouble over your Brazilian rosewood guitar!

Varnish inside

Gypsy guitar bodies are always varnished inside, just like the original Selmer guitars were.




The original Selmer guitars suffered from a weak point on their top at the neck joint, and the sound hole area. The top plate and braces were not strong enough which allowed the neck angle to shift under string tension, causing the action to rise up. Over the years some of them have had their bridges adjusted very low to compensate for that. 

To alleviate that problem, the top bracing is intentionally stronger in that area on AJL-guitars. The tops plates are also carefully hand-shaped with an undulating thickness which adds structural stability to the area around the sound hole and neck joint while enabling the vibration area to remain very thin and responsive.


 Gypsyguitars have their tops bent on arched top braces. Some of the original Selmers had the top with round bent, some of them had the bend made with heat, French call that angle ”pliage” steeper visible angle behind the bridge on their tops. 

Also AJL Selmer/Maccaferri-style guitars have that "pliage".

Heat treatment

Thermally modified timber is wood that has undergone a heat treatment procedure to reduce the moisture content, and increase it's resistance to decay by destroying fungi. It's is widely used throughout the carpentry and construction industry. This procedure can have some undesirable side effects on tonewoods used to build musical instruments, such as decreasing elasticity, bending strength, as well as changing the color.

Tampere University of Technology, Luthiery department of Ikaalinen School of Arts and Crafts, and a company named Suomen Ekopuu, have worked together to developed a special heat treatment procedure which is suitable for tonewoods. This procedure was developed with extensive scientific research utilizing a large number of guitars, and guitar parts at a Finnish guitar factory.

The procedure doesn’t have so much in common with ”roasted maple”, "torrefied wood”, or other common trade names widely sold today, they’re all more or less violent to woods flexibility. This special procedure achieves the same effect on the woods cellular structure that naturally happens after slowly drying for 15 years - but without any of the unwanted effects caused when treated with higher temperatures. As a result, this wood has increased stability and speed of sound, but still has the flexibility to produce great projection, which makes it an ideal choice for top wood. The colour changes only as much as the wood colour would naturally change over 15-20 years. New guitars made with Thermo Wood treated tops sound more mature and sensitive like an old guitar.

wood shrinks

I have my workshop climate control adjusted to 43% of relative humidity. As the woods are properly dried and the construction is made under stable conditions, I can guarantee that your AJL-guitar won't crack.

When guitars are made in high moisture environments (or the wood isn't properly dried), and it's sent to a drier climate, the wood starts to shrink - always - due to the nature of wood. That can sometimes cause the wood to crack.

When guitars are made in low humidity and then brought to a higher humidity environment, the wood absorbs moisture and expands. This doesn't cause cracks, only the need to adjust.

On archtop and gypsyguitar, You usually just need to keep the neck straight by adjusting truss-rod. When top wood gets to drier conditions than when it built, it comes down, and You may need to lower the bridge too.

In an perfect world, I'd have different humidity set in the workshop for every guitar based on where it was destined to go, 80% for the one heading to the customer on the beach in California, 30% for someone in Norway - but I chose to have 43% of relative humidity.


As We know, in northern countries we have even less than 30 % of relative humidity in the wintertime, so We need to use humidifier. It's easier to humidify your guitarcase than the entire house, so try to store your guitar in it's case in wintertime and use a hygrometer to check the moisture content. Use a humidifier when needed. If You manage to keep the conditions stable, You wouldn't need to adjust your guitar at all. 


Ebony needs to be carefully dried to prevent loose fret ends. I also glue all frets and fill the fretboard edge. 

For frets I use Jescar FW5509 fretwire, It's available in traditional 18% Nickel Silver (62% copper, 18% nickel, and 20% zinc so it really is harder than traditional "German silver").

Jescar FW5509 Gold EVO; Jescar's  EVO "Gold" is proprietary nickel-free hypoallergenic alloy, originally devised to make eyeglass frames for folks with nickel allergies. However it contains no gold despite the name- but it's almost as hard as Stainless, making vibrato very easy and smooth - both beautiful and durable.

Jescar FW5509 Stainless steel - hardest of all these, also nickel-free, the most durable choice.



Gypsyguitars and archtops without cutaway can be ordered as left-handed version + 10%. Archtops without cutaway, no extra costs for lefthand version.


Handmade AJL-Fiberglass case

Every guitar is delivered with handmade finberglass case. Gypsyguitarcase is copied from Selmer "Pegamoid" case, the design is the same, but it's made in fiberglass with better cushioning and it's very safe. Comparing to AJL case, any regular factory made case looks bulk and clumsy. I like to have it sleek & slim, so it fits easily to overhead lockers in aeroplane. Selmer had the interior in red or blue, I offer same colours. Nice option for that would be AJL casebag, it gives extra protection and makes your hardshell case even easier to carry as backpack

Archtop case is also designed and built here in my workshop. It's also slim and can be customized with different styles, Fiberglass case can even have outside in two-tone lizard-skin style with leopard inside ! - of course no real leopard or lizard is harmed here...