CSL Gypsy

‘The Gypsy’ – CSL Guitars –
70’s Rebirth of the Maccaferri Guitar

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Back in 1974, CSL (Newcastle in the U.K.) were offering a Japanese made model “The Gypsy” guitar as an authentic Maccaferri D-hole replica. List price was £100 including hard case. For comparison, a Martin D-28 cost around £400 at that time.  In 1981, Summerfield were advertising a new, Ibanez-built “Maccaferri” (D-hole again), endorsed by Mario Maccaferri as “better than the original…”.

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Charles Summerfield Limited
now
Summerfield Musical Instruments Ltd
1 Vance Court, Trans Britannia Enterprise Park
Blaydon on Tyne, NE21 5NH, United Kingdom

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The Summerfield (S. Summerfield Ltd) UK import and export business was founded in 1900 in Blandford Street, Newcastle  by Simon Summerfield (1875-1947). Originally an importer of a wide range of goods he was joined by his son Charles (1905-1971) around 1920. When Simon passed away in 1947 the business changed its name to C. Summerfield Ltd. Charles’s eldest son Melville (1934-) joined him in the business in 1953 and he began to enlarge the toy division. Charles’s younger son, Maurice, joined the business in 1958. With upturn in the Musical Instruments they moved in 1969 to Saltmeadows Road, Gateshead on Tyne (NE8 3AJ).  By 1962 C. Summerfield Ltd was one of the 6 largest toy distributors in the UK.   C Summerfield Ltd was dissolved in 1993

Maurice Summerfield had taken up the guitar at the age of 16 and within a year was playing in various jazz and dance bands in the North-East of England. From 1956-1969 Maurice played semi-professionally several nights a week whilst working in the Summerfield business during the day. Passionate about the guitar he imported some low price guitars from 4 makers in Japan in 1964 to satisfy many requests from local music shops. This was due to the wide popularity at that time of the Beatles, Elvis Presley and other rock/pop stars. One of Maurice’s 1st suppliers was the Hoshino Gakki & Co. who owned the brand name Ibanez. Hoshino already supplied some acoustic guitars to J. T. Coppock Ltd a musical instrument distributor in Leeds with the Ibanez brand – as well as their Ibanez electric guitars but with Coppock’s Antoria brand.

Hoshino were impressed with Maurice’s wide knowledge of the guitar and his many contacts with professional guitarists of all styles. They began to supply their high quality Ibanez replica guitars to Summerfield with Summerfield’s CSL brand in the late 1960’s. Within a few years Summerfield had expanded their musical instrument division considerably and were supplying leading music shops throughout the UK with a wide range of guitars. Hoshino Gakki wanted to promote their Ibanez brand in the UK on a much larger scale and felt that Maurice Summerfield would be their ideal partner. From the early 1970’s Summerfield distributed the Ibanez line exclusively for a further 18 years. During that time Maurice instigated many of Ibanez’s best selling models including the beautiful ‘Joe Pass’ model. The quality of many Japanese instruments produced during the 1970s was significantly better than many instruments produced (due to poor quality control) in the USA at that time. CSL Japanese made copies of original guitars have now become collectables among guitarists owing to their high quality and affordability

I worked for Summerfield’s from 1968 to 1973 and wanted to point out a discrepancy in your information. When I started in ’68 the Company was based in Blandford Street, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and had been there for a number of years, but also had an had an older building elsewhere in town. They didn’t move into the Gateshead warehouse/offices until ’69 or ’70. I presume the Gateshead building closed when the old C.Summerfield Ltd stopped trading in 1993. – Stewart

CSLMaccaLabelIn the late 1970’s British retailer and guitar historian Maurice Summerfield persuaded Maccaferri to collaborate on a recreation of his ground breaking instrument, and by 1979 had arranged with Ibanez to produce a small batch. The 1st modern reissue of the 30’s original, the CSL Maccaferri MAC-10 was produced only until 1981. Although the run was limited to just 440 instruments, the MAC-10 almost single handedly jump-started the contemporary resurgence of interest in Maccaferri-inspired guitars, now spanning scores of builders and untold thousands of devoted gypsy jazz players worldwide.

The MAC-10 is faithful to Mario’s original “Grand Bouche” model with it’s signature D-shaped soundhole complete with his resonator. This design is renowned for it’s increased bass response, and is a versatile instrument for either rhythm or lead work. Made with the traditional 650mm scale, and sports a very generous 1 15/16″ nut for easy fingering. With back and sides of handsome arched Indian Rosewood, laminated for strength and stiffness in the traditional Selmer style, the body makes a brilliant platform for the solid book-matched Sitka spruce top.

LouisGalloBy 1974 Summerfield’s musical instrument import and distribution company was one of the UK`s most successful musical instrument companies and Ibanez was one of best selling UK guitar lines. By that time Maurice – a great Django Reinhardt enthusiast from the age of 15 – owned 2 original D sound hole Maccaferri guitars. He sent the best one of these to instrument designers at Hoshino Gakki in Japan to see if a replica could be made with his CSL brand. Maurice consulted his old friend, London based dance band and studio guitarist, Louis Gallo (an expert on Maccaferri guitars) in regard to the construction of the CSL Gypsy replica guitars. Eventually Gallo would be so happy with the CSL Gypsy instruments he agreed to endorse the line. At the same time Maurice asked his Company’s lawyers to find out if Mario Maccaferri was still alive, and if any copyright was still in force on the design. After a 3-month search the lawyers advised there was no trace of Mario Maccaferri or any design copyright. By the middle of 1974 the 1st supply of Summerfields ‘Maccaferri’ guitar line – called the CSL Gypsy (a D sound hole-model) was released in the UK. Sales exceeded all expectations.
Louis Gallo. (Above) his name endorsed the highly successful Maurice Summerfield venture, CSL ‘Gypsy’ guitars and eventually approved by Maccaferri himself.

 MarioMaccaferriThen – out of the blue – at the end of October 1974, Maurice received a letter from Mastro Industries in New York, signed by Mario Maccaferri!  He telephoned Mario immediately and so began a long and happy friendship between Mario and Maurice. In January 1975 Maurice flew to New York and met Mario for the first time taking with him some samples of the CSL Gypsy guitars as a gift. Mario Maccaferri (1900-1993) was really thrilled to see them. From that time on they kept in touch by mail or phone, and saw each other regularly either in New York or London.  Mario, originally a virtuoso classical guitarist and award winning luthier based in Europe, had built Mastro Industries into one of the USA`s most successful plastic companies. His innovative patented designs included plastic wall tiles, plastic clothes pegs, audio cassettes, plastic reeds for wind instruments – and plastic ukuleles (he sold over 9 million of these from 1949-1965) and plastic guitars. Some of today’s great guitarists had their first musical playing experience on one of these plastic instruments.   His French-American Reed Company was also a major supplier of  reeds for wind instruments.

Mario Maccaferri`s many years building the Mastro business meant he had lost touch with his first love, the guitar. From 1975 Mario became actively involved in the production of the Summerfield Company`s Maccaferri guitar lines. He often told Maurice how grateful he was that Summerfield had made his 1931 guitar designs available again, and that he was back again in the world of guitar.

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Maurice Summerfield playing a CSL Gypsy guitar for Mario Maccaferri
in Mario’s office at Mastro Industries, Bronx, New York in 1975

Summerfield’s had a long association with Jeavons Record & Music Store on Percy Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. Maurice Summerfield bought his jazz guitar records there as a teenager – and it was Cyril Jeavons who persuaded Maurice to start importing musical instruments in 1964. Jeavons became one of Summerfield’s largest retail customers. Jeavons also had a musical instrument workshop (Balliol Musical Instruments) in County Durham making mainly cellos and later some guitars. As a result a high proportion of Summerfield’s CSL marked and slightly damaged instruments were sold through Jeavons . Most of the damaged ones were minor stuff – usually end strap pins pushed into the bodies in-transit – and these were repaired in Jeavons’ Durham work shop. They also sold any one-off demonstrators /prototypes. Cyril and Dorothy Jeavons retired in about 1983 and sold their business to C Summerfield Ltd..

Since 1988 Summerfield have had a close association with The D’Addario Company (D’Addario strings, Planet Waves, Evans, HQ, Pure Sound) and the C. F. Martin Company (strings and accessories).  They have distributed both these company’s string lines since 1972. Summerfield Musical Instruments Ltd. is currently one of the UK’s largest musical instrument accessory distributors. It is understood the re-introduction of the CSL guitar line, due to public demand, is now scheduled for 2010.

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Maurice Summerfield wears many hats within the music industry as wholesaler, retailer, exporter, historian, author, publisher, concert promoter, record producer, magazine publisher and mentor to a new generation of industry leaders He also played an important part in the expansion of the Ibanez and the D’Addario Company, not only with performer endorsees, but in opening up the English market to these companies.

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Maurice with Ike Isaacs and Charlie Smith
Maurice says Charlie was the leading guitar teacher in the North East 1950 – 1970. For many years was staff guitarist at Tyne Tees Television. I was one of his pupils – as was John McLaughlin.

The Ibanez Connection

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Ike with the Isaacs Ibanez

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Hoshino Gakki also had semi acoustic, nylon and steel stringed acoustic guitars manufactured under the Ibanez name. Tama acoustic guitars were made from 1974-1979 at the Tama Drum factory. In 1979 the Tama acoustic guitars were renamed as the Artwood Series and were also made at the Tama Drum factory. Most Ibanez guitars were made for Hoshino Gakki by the FujiGen guitar factory in Japan up until the mid to late 1980s and from then on Ibanez guitars have also been made in other Asian countries such as Korea, China and Indonesia. Guitar brands such as Antoria shared some Ibanez guitar designs. The Antoria guitar brand was managed by JT Coppock Leeds Ltd England. CSL was a brand name managed by Charles Summerfield Ltd England. Maurice Summerfield of the Charles Summerfield Ltd company contributed some design ideas to Hoshino Gakki and also imported Ibanez and CSL guitars into the UK with Hoshino Gakki cooperation from 1964-1987. The Maxxas brand name came about because Hoshino Gakki thought that the guitar did not fit in with the Ibanez model range and was therefore named Maxxas by Rich Lasner from Hoshino USA.

Ibanez Serial No.s 1975-1986

  • MYYXXXX format
  • M = Month (A = Jan to L = Dec)
  • YY = year (82=1982)
  • XXXX = production number

Most Ibanez models with this serial number format were made by FujiGen Gakki. Exceptions are the Ibanez Blazer models which were made by Dyna Gakki and the Axstar by Ibanez models AX40, AX45, AX48, AXB50, AXB60, AXB65, AX70, AX75 which were made by Chushin Gakki. The Ibanez Axstar AXB1000 model was made by FujiGen Gakki.

Antoria guitars of the same vintage only differ (in many instances) in as much as they were Made in Japan under strict quality control.  Distributed by J. T. Coppock (Leeds) Ltd

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CSL ‘The Gypsy’ offered 4 Models to suit all styles of Guitar Playing

MAC 1    Classic Guitar Model
MAC 2   
Jazz/Folk Guitar Model D Soundhole
MAC 2S 
Jazz Oval Soundhole Model 
MAC 3   
Jazz Guitar Model D Soundhole with Soundbox

D-Hole CSL – for Sale on Ebay sold at £511 after 26 bids

1975 CSL (Grande Bouche) D Sound Hole Guitar with Soundbox.
This was the first Maccaferri replica guitar to appear on the market and was manufactured for Summerfield by the Kiso Suzuki factory (a major supplier to Hoshino Gakki) in Japan. This is one of the most highly regarded Maccaferri replica guitars on the vintage market. It has a solid Spruce top with laminated back and sides in the style of the originals. This 1975 instrument is currently set up with silk and steel strings and a lowish action, it plays beautifully with a warm, throaty and mature sound. It was originally supplied with steel and bronze acoustic strings and came with a fitted hard shell case. Summerfield introduced a CSL Oval Sound Hole/Selmer model around 1976 and this also proved to be very popular.

Internal Resonator The original Maccaferri Grande Bouche models featured a wooden resonator behind the soundhole.
Basically, the Internal Resonator is a small sounmd baffle inside the regular guitar body. It is glued to the top, all around the edges, and just hangs inside the outer box of the body. The sound leaves the resonator through an opening in the side of the resonator closest to the sound hole, and is directed, or reflected, out of the sound hole by a curved wooden surface, sort of a chute or shield attached to the back brace directly inside the sound hole. The “floor” of the resonator lies just above the actual back of the guitar, and the resonator walls rest just clear of the sides of the guitar.

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The later Selmer model, with the small vertical oval soundhole, never had a resonator; in fact, it was a design repudiation of the resonator model. Furthermore, while we’re smashing myths, Django Reinhardt never played a Selmer with an internal resonator. As can be seen in a plethora of photographs, even his early D-hole guitars had no resonator.

Sumbro was also a brand name used by Summerfield Brothers, an importer based in Gateshead, UK. The company later traded as Charles Summerfield Ltd, and the brand they used was CSL. Summerfield Ltd

The CSL‘s are not Ibanez guitars but were mostly based on Ibanez guitar designs (but some design ideas came from CSL) and were made by the FujiGen guitar factory which Hoshino Gakki also used to make the early Ibanez guitars. FujiGen-Gakki®

CSL was a brand name managed by Charles Summerfield Ltd England. Maurice Summerfield of the Charles Summerfield Ltd company contributed some design ideas to Hoshino Gakki and also imported Ibanez and CSL guitars into the UK with Hoshino Gakki co-operation from 1964-1987.”

Later CSL instruments from the 1980‘s are Korean made

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Mario Maccaferri and Maurice Summerfield watching Louis Gallo playing a CSL Gypsy guitar on the Summerfield Music stand at the British Music Fair in 1975.  London – Bloomsbury Centre Hotel.