The old and the new

Gypsy jazz-guitars with arched tops have a very long history. Back in 1930, an Italian luthier named Bartolo Barnabe "Pablo" Busato was working in the workshops of Mario Macafferri, who created the famous Selmer guitars, known for being played by Django Reinhardt.

In 1934 Barnabe Busato left the Selmer Company and started his own workshop in Paris, where he continued to build Gypsy jazz guitars inspired by Mario Macafferri, but also introduced his own ideas to create new Gypsy jazz guitar models.

Busato guitars were among the very first acoustic Jazz guitars to have been strongly inspired by the Selmer guitars created by Mario Macafferri.

For more info on Busato-history, click here.

Today original Busato Guitars are among the most expensive and sought after Gypsy jazz-Guitars worldwide due to their unique sound and construction, next in line after the rare Selmer Maccaferri-Guitars. Because of their special mode of construction, Busato guitars have some extraordinary features that distinguish them from Selmer guitars (and their copies).

Here are some of the salient characteristics of Busato Guitars:

•       Tops and backs are strongly arched, much like the archtop-jazz guitars known today.

•       Busato's braces are usually pointy (triangle-shaped) or have a triangle shape with a flat arched top.

•       Like many vintage gypsy guitars, Busatos have a thick top of 125 thousandth of an inch and are braced underneath with 3 top braces.

•       The top is far more arched than is usual for Gypsy guitars.

•       Often, their tops were made out of several pieces of wood (maybe due to lack of material in the war times).

•       Some head plates were slightly longer and smaller than is common for Gypsy guitars.

The making of Busato guitars was highly complex from the start and many luthiers in the following decades decided to model their guitars on Selmer Maccaferri, as they are easier to build.

When Bertino Rodmann met Alex Kashkin from Polak-Gypsy guitars (formerly named ERG Guitars) in 2014, they started discussing the possibility of recreating a Gypsy jazz guitar based on the special features of Busato guitars. This led to collaboration between Bertino and luthier Edward Polak of Polak-Gypsy guitars, who designed and built special Gypsy jazz guitars in the "Model Bertino" series. The "Model Bertino" combines the best out of the features of Busatos: arched tops glued and bent from three pieces of spruce, and arched backs, hollow bridges for maximum sound, top quality woods and top quality brass hardware. This guitar does not aim to be an exact copy of a Busato, but rather our concept of a perfect Gypsy jazz guitar, inspired by Busato guitars and taking advantage of their best qualities.

 

If you would like to read more information on the models we offer, take a look and choose your model. 

© 2017 by Polak Guitars

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