Another typical feature of original Busato-guitars are their tailpieces (if not changed...). The original Brass-tailpieces used by Busato had two big "BB"s (for Barnabe Busato, see image 6 left) engraved. Often on his guitars pure brass or silverplated brass-tailpieces were beeing used. On older models of the early period (1930-1938) also other metal tailpieces (see image 12 at the very bottom) might have been used.
The typical tuners (if not changed after) used from 1939/40 on Busato-guitars most of the time had the initials "BB" engraved on the outer tuner-caps all the same (like the tailpieces). Before that time also older kind of open-tuners came to use.
The typical tuners are SB-Mechanics originally and were especially made from Salvatore Billardi for Busato with these engravings "BB" (similar to the Selmer-Guitars which also used SBs but had the big "S" engraved instead).
Regrettably the tuners or tailpieces often have been changed on many guitars around, as if they might have been broken thru the years or if the owner wanted to use something else on his guitar instead (similar to Selmer- or Favino-Guitars). So these may not original if you find such an old instrument...
Arched Top- and Backside
Another, real unique characteristic of Busato-Guitars is the typical strong arched top-and backside, similar to today´s electric Archetop-Jazzguitars (see images 9 and 10). This was a feature that solely was invented by Busato in the late 1940ies with his guitars. No other Gypsyjazz-guitars from that period have this.
Alike Mario Maccaferri developed special features for his famous "Selmer-Guitars", which generally were the blueprint for Bartolo Busato´s guitarmodels, Busato also experimented already early with unusual methods to optimize his guitars continuesly and to develop them constantly.
And also as Maccaferri once had developed sound-optimizations with his "Resonator" and other features, Busato all the same quickly understood that the arching of the tops and backsides had a great influence on sound and volume of a guitar.
The principles of his development of the arched top- and backsides later on were the blueprint for other luthiers when developing their electric Jazzguitars ("Hollowbodies" and "Archetops") to optimize sound- and volume of their instruments.
Busato-Guitars are the only acoustic Gypsyjazz-Guitars from that time which were equipped with rather stronly arched tops and backsides.
To achieve such strong arching different techniques were used: one technique was to scrape a bigger piece of wood to the right form, so the wood was tapered inside until the right form was achieved. Because this was a lot of work to do, a second technique was developed and used later on: serveral thin pieces of wood were glued together whilst beeing heated and pressed into the right arching-form until the glue was cold and solidified, thus keeping the arched form. After everything beeing laminated.
Here is an example of a typical "arched backside" of a Busato made in 1946:
Summary: to clearly identify an original Busato-Guitar without doubt take in account different facts and features.
These are special features like model depent forms and other features (alike with Selmer- or Favino-Guitars):
- the typical makingwith arched top- and backside
- special inlays with the "Grand Models"
- three-piece-necks, often with a black stripe of ebony in the middle of the backside
- Tailpiece with engraved initials "BB"
- SB-tuners with engraved initials "BB" on the outside-caps
Busato-guitars also have been made on demand (see page 1 of these article series) as "special custom models" for guitarrists, so it is most likely that even other strange shapes or atypical guitars that differ from the described features are to be found, which nevertheless originally have been made by Busato or came out of his workshops sold in his name (see images 11, 12, 13 and 14). Certainly most of the time real original Busato-guitars show the described typical features like described above.
Share this article: