Django Reinhardt Guitar Great
At the age of 18, Reinhardt was injured in a fire that ravaged the caravan he shared with Florine “Bella” Mayer, his first wife.They were very poor, and to supplement their income Bella made imitation flowers out of celluloid and paper. Consequently, their home was rich in highly flammable material. Returning from a performance late one night, Reinhardt apparently knocked over a candle on his way to bed. While his family and neighbours were quick to pull him to safety, he received first- and second-degree burns over half his body. His right leg was paralysed and the third and fourth fingers of his left hand were badly burned. Doctors believed that he would never play guitar again and intended to amputate one of his legs. Reinhardt refused to have the surgery and left the hospital after a short time; he was able to walk within a year with the aid of a cane.
Django brother Joseph Reinhardt, an accomplished guitarist himself, bought Django a new guitar. With rehabilitation and practice he relearned his craft in a completely new way, even as his third and fourth fingers remained partially paralysed. He played all of his guitar solos with only two fingers, and used the two injured digits only for chord work.Django Reinhardt played acoustic guitar his entire career. He played electric once, during his tour with Duke Ellington in the States, but it wasn’t a success and he never played amplified again. Django only used 1 brand of guitar: Selmer guitars, typical gypsy jazz instruments with an oval sound hole and very high action.Check out the full bio below…
His son Babik Reinhardt is also a formidable guitarist.