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Busato Guitars - More Infos - (en)

History - Busato

In these further article(s) of the Busato-series we focus and briefly describe the details and features of original Busato-Guitars with exact description and images.

"Busato"-Guitars were named after their maker Bartolo Barnabe "Pablo" Buzatto (renamed later to Busato (BB), and were one of the first acoustic Jazzguitars that have been "strongly inspired" by the original Selmer-Guitars of luthier Mario Macafferri.

Bernabe Bartolo Busato (image bottom left), born 1902 in Chiuppano (Italy) started making guitars around 1925 when he arrived in Paris/France and worked until shortly before his death in 1960. Bartolo Busato died at the 4th of Juli 1960 in Champigny sur Marne/France.
Bartolo_Barnabe_Busato
There are truely not many informations about Busato and his workshops. Busato produced Guitars since early 1920ies until the late 1950ies.
Even for a long time it was doubted that there had ever been a person called "Busato" at all or if there was really a workshop with that name at all, as there were different adresses he resided in and a couple different workshops worked for his name as well.
Busato 1940 Moyen 01
Meanwhile it is known that these different adresses were Busato used to work in really existed. One of his known workshops was in Paris/France at the Rue Orgemont from 1934-1943 and later on there was another second one at the Cite Griset No.4 inside the 11th District in Paris. These were the places Busato ran has workshops.

(Photo courtesy of ©Michael Dregni)

His first adress that was documented from 1931 was in the Rue de Chaligny 34, within the 12th District in Paris when he officially registered his commercial business in February 1931 under "Musical Instruments Works and Repairs". Since 1934 until 1943 he had one workshop in the Rue d’Orgemont 40 inside the 20th District in Paris.
signet BusatoIn 1943 he additionally opened up a musicstore with the name "Everything for Music", directly on the Boulevard de Ménilmontant 140, also located in the 20th Parisian District.

At the end of 1943 he completely changed place with his workshop from the Rue d’Orgemont into the Cité Griset 4 inside the 11th Parisian Arrondissement. Additionally in 1945 Busato opened again another third production-workshop in the Avenue de Coeuilly 73 in Champigny sur Marne, outside of Paris, where he used to life as well.

In the beginning of his business he had employed around 20-30 co-workers and guitarmakers, in the best years he even had up to 60(!) persons which made all kinds of instruments for him in his different workshops.

Busato ModOblong 1930Many people dont know that but at the same time Busato built guitars he also produced and sold many other instruments under his name like Mandolins, Banjos and Upright-Basses that he mostly let make at his own workshops by his co-workers. There were even Busato-Akkordeons that have possibly been made on his order from another italian company (Castagnolo or Fratelli Crosio), but which have after been sold under his name in his workshops and musicstore. These instruments really existed which is certain today.

Many Luthiers in this time were selling their instruments through dealers with large shops like Paul Beuscher, Symphonia and Paris Musical in France or Sonora in Italy. Many of Beuscher-guitars as most Symphonias, Sonoras or "Paris Musical"-guitars were actually built by Busato, but have just been sold with another label.Busato GrandModele 1952

Barnabe Busato died from a heart attack on July 4 th 1960, at his house located at the same address as his shop in Champigny.

Until his death Busato had trained many famous Luthiers amongst them Jacques Favino (who worked for him until 1946), Siro Burgassi, Gino Papiri or Pierre Anastasio. All these guys have been working for him in his staff over the first years of the early years of 1925 to 1948, until some of them started their own businesses and workshops in later years.

Because of the rarity and big demand of the Busato-guitars alongside the famous Selmer- and Favino-Guitars there are always "Busato"-instruments beeing "faked" and put on the market for expensive prices. When buying such an expensive instrument it is of great importance to watch out for their real features and details.

Be sure to read our articles about "Features of original Busato-Guitars" and "Fake Busatos" were we put down the most important and known facts about these great guitars, with an example of a faked Busato-guitar wich has been offered on the internet shortly.

Read more -> Features of original Busato-Guitars


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Features Busato-Guitars (1/3)

busato bj1950busato-oval-hole-grand-modeleAlike in our article-series about "Features of original Selmer-Guitars", "Features of orirginal Favino-Guitars" and "Features of original DiMauro-Guitars", here in these article-series we briefly describe the details of original Busato-Guitars.

Busato-Guitars, named after their creator the italian luthier Bartolo Barnabe "Pablo" Busato, were one of the first acoustic Jazzguitars that were "strongly inspired" by the original Selmer-Guitars of the famous italian luthier Mario Maccafferri (see also Busato-Guitars).

A long time it was of doubt if there really existed a person called "Busato" or if this has just been a workshop with this name, as there  existed several adresses and workshops of that name.

At the same time that Busato built guitars there were also Mandolins, Banjos and Uprightbasses beeing produced under his name. Even some Busato-Accordeons existed that were made on his order by some other makers or company (propably Castagnolo or Fratelli Crosio), which were sold under his name and in his workshops. So later on it was found out that Barnabe Busato truely existed. Busato died in Paris in 1960 (see also Busato-history).

In these further article(s) of the Busato-series we focus and briefly describe the details and features of original Busato-Guitars with exact description and images.

Because Bartolo Busato built many different guitar-models himself and let build by co-workers in his workshops, plus additionally it is known that he had built special edition-guitars for customers "on demand", today it´s a fact that there are all kinds of different Busato-guitars around that don´t have the typical features that Busato-guitars normally have, nevertheless they actually have been built in his workshops. Also there were guitars been made in his workshops for big musicstores in Paris and elsewhere which were sold under other brands for example Sonora, Symphonia, Paris Musical or Beuscher.
In all there are more Busao-guitars then one might think, surely according to Busato´s long living- and working-period. Busatos were built between 1930 until 1959 in different sizes and all kind of shapes.

General Features


Generally Busatos can be divided into three main-categories: the so called "Grand modeles" (see image 1 left), the "Moyen Modele" and "Special Modeles". Some of the "Grand Modeles" have also been made as variation "Deluxe" or as D-hole-models.

Bild 1: Busato1932Bild 2: Busato_1952_GrandModThe "Grand modele Deluxe" so to say was the Luxury-version, often decorated with wonderful inlays (see image 2, right).

In the early 1930ies of his working-period Busato also produced some unusual shapes like the so called "Oblong-Modele" (see image at next page) as well as a couple of rare F-hole-Models.

Very often many his guitars are just labeled as "1936" or "1940" the year they were built in, as often it´s Label inside the body misses.

The most Busato-Models generally differ only in the way of their makings and features.

Model-Variantions


From the early 1940ies Busato mainly produced five different Variations of his guitarmodels:

• Model 43 ("Moyen Modele"), mostly made out of Mahagoni, often with a pickguard and the typical BB-Tailpiece. Tuners were simple DeLaruelle with yellow tuning pegs.
• Model 43 BIS, same size for sides 40cm, sides made from Mahagoni, brasilian Rosewood or Maple and tuners by SB Bilardi or BB DeLaruelle with caps.
• Model 44, the famous "Grand Modele" with size of sides 41 cm and often (not always) 2 Braces at the bottom. Very othen these models were built with a three-piece-neck made from brasilian Rosewood with a stripe of black ebony in the middle, equipped with golden BB-tuners ("Grand Modele Deluxe"), actually all these original made by Salvatore Bilardi (same as for Favino).
• Model 45, same Model like 44 but with additionally white bindings
• Modele 46, in black Finish, a special pickguard and white bindings (see photo next page)

Read more ->Features of original Busato-Guitars (2/3)

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Features Busato-Guitars (2/3)

In Part 2/3 of our article about Feautures of original Busatos we briefly describe the exact details of Busato-Guitars with descriptions and images.

Label-Variations


Busato-Guitar mostly had Labels glued into the insides, regrettably not stating any year of making or alike the original Selmer-Guitars with a continuing serialnumber, or as with original Favino´s with additional years. Many of these old instruments have "lost" their Labels over time or it has been removed (for whatever reason).

So basically here are four different Busato-labels to distinguish: square ones and ovals with different stamps and printed statements. Commonly they were stating the name "B. Busato" plus additionally the adress of the workshops they were made in (Cite de Griset 4, Paris XI). In rare cases (mostly in the younger years from 1950) they even had a year on it and additionally the signing of Busato.

label-moyen-griot Label_Busato_1940er
green-label_z84g2jtx label signature busato-1956


As stated earlier some guitars were made by Busatos workshops for other musicstores and/or distributors, so these guitars may have Labels of Symphonia, Paris Musical, Sonora and also some of them "Paul Beuscher".

All of Busato´s guitars basically were made identically, which means the size of the bodies, shapes or design variated just litte (mostly 40 or 41 cm sides). Also the guitarmodels were mostly equipped with four "Bracings", as original Selmers do.

Model-Features


• The sides and backsides of the "Grand models" mostly were made from brasilian Rio-Palisandre.

• the simplest "Moyen"-Model was made from walnut-wood, the top out of french spruce, the necks from Rosewood or also walnut.

• some of the "Grand models" were also made from Rosewood, sides and backsides laminated brasilian Rio-Palisandre.

The Headplates Bild 3: Kopfplatte Busato 1950

Busato_Bj1950_2_05_2
• The headplates of the "Grand Models" in pre- or after wartimes were decorated with a small metal-plate (brass) with the engravings "Busato Fabricant, 140 Blvd. Menilmontant" mounted (see image 4 right).

Additionally many "Grand Modele Deluxe" had wonderful inlays and carvings on their headplates (see image left). It seems that some of the co-workers had left over their marks on those kind of wooden carvings for Busato´s Deluxe-guitars.

Bild 5: Deluxe Busato Hals


The Neck


• another important feature of original Busatos are the three-piece-necks which have an inlay of ebony in the middle (see image 5 right).

• the necks were often made from exotic Mahagony or Rosewood often with the midlle inlay of mahagony or ebony.

Although the first Favino-Guitars (aprox. until 1990) have a three-piece-neck, but mostly made from maple. The typical feature of many "Grand or Moyen"- Busatomodels is the black ebeony stripe in the middle, starting with the year 1940. Some luthiers have begun copying this feature afterwhat, also often using a black inlay in the middle of the backside of their guitarnecks, but mainly not made from ebony...


Read more -> Features of original Busato-Guitars (3/3)

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Features Busato-Guitars (3/3)

In Part 3/3 of our article about Feautures of original Busatos we briefly describe the exact details of Busato-Guitars with descriptions and images.

The Tailpiece


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.

Bild 6: Busato Tailpiece busato-tuners

The tuners


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. busato-oval-hole-1940

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:
Busato_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.

1952er_front2

Busato, built 1952

Busato_1938er_02

Busato, built 1938

busato_1933_oblong_front

Busato, built 1933

Busato 1952 GrandMod 01

Busato, built 1950




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Busato Guitars

1952er front2Busato 1932Busato-Guitars, almost same to the rare Selmer-/Maccaferri-Guitars, are the most expensive and sought after Gypsyjazz-Guitars worldwide due to their unique sound and making.

The "Busato"-Guitars were named after their maker Bartolo Barnabe "Pablo" Busato (BB) (see Busato-history), and were one of the first acoustic Jazzguitars that have been copied or better to say were kind of "strongly inspired" by the famous Selmer-Guitars.

In the further article(s) of the Busato-series we focus and briefly describe the details and features of original Busato-Guitars with exact description and images. Be sure to also read the articles about the Busato-history and Features of original Busato-Guitars.

Bartolo Barnabe "Pablo" Busato, born 1902 in Chiuppano (Italy) began buildig guitars around 1925 and worked until shortly before his death in 1960. Busato had two daughters and one son and probably some relatives are still alive in Italy.
Many people thought that Busato already died in 1952, but he sigened his last known guitars around 1958. Bartolo Busato died on 4th of July 1960 in Champigny sur Marne/France.

Busato-Guitars have, like the famous Selmer-Guitars which were first on the market, a very special sound signature.

Especially some features of their making have this special influence, and are of course of great interest, which we will be showing and investigating more detailed in our article-series Features of original Busato-Guitars.

Here we show you the main features for a first glimbse:

• Busatos braces are usually pointy (triangle) or have a triangle shape with a flat top.

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

• some Busato´s do often have some irregularities at the lower bout level, due to worn moulds. Interesting enough you might find the same kind of features on other guitars made by Busato under different synonymes like "Sonora", "Symphonia", "Beuscher" and "Paris Musicals", as on some guitars which were made without Label but still were beeing produced in his workshops too.

• on many Busatos the sound hole (rosacea) is reinforced below the top with a thin wooden layer or made with even beautifully (pearl) inlays.

• the backsides are mainly strongly arched and remind to beeing prototypes of Archtop-Guitars.

• the top instead is rather less arched than usually Gypsyguitars are regularely

• often their tops were made out of serveral pieces of wood (maybe due to lack of material in the war times)

• the "moustaches" of the bridges have a special Form

More details on Busato and his Instruments in the 2. part of this article-series Busato-History and in Features of original Busato-Guitars.

• most necks of "Grand Modele" Busatos are three-piece necks with an inlay of ebony

• in the first years the necks were often made from Tinted pear wood, later on they changed it to Rosewood with an ebony fretboard

• the necks were simply glued into the Bodyblock

• the sides often weren´t very strong made due to only 2 layers of laminated wood, against usually 3 layers with most other old Gypsyjazz-Guitars

• many of the guitars made by Busato weren´t really "perfect made", better to say they had many small mistakes or wrinkles

• often the Neckjoints weren´t really clean made, not middle adjusted to the bodyline, today one would say "badly crafted"

• some headplates were slightly longer than the ones of other guitars of the same model

• many Busatos were not really "beautiful looking" with, a lot of guitar tops are not very beautiful, some are pretty ugly with super wide and irregular grain patterns in the spruce, some even made from cheap rough pinewood

Even if these facts are real, the Busato-guitars still have "that special something" and convince with their special sound image.

Although many other luthiers have tried to lift the secrets of Busato-Guitars in the past, some have made some real effort in building nice guitars, but still never made it sound like a real Busato, thus beeing way more far away from beeing the real thing. Some (like Dupont) even just own the name and use it, still their instruments are worlds apart from a real Busato. There is just one luthier from Israel, Eddi Polak (www.polak-gypsyguitars.com), who really came very close in building a Gypsyguitar with a sound, look and feel nearly close to Busatos, that in 2016 came up under the name of "Model Bertino" (tobacco and maple series).  

Bernabe Bartolo Busato produced Guitars since 1925 until the late 1950ies. There are truely not many informations about Busato and his workshops. Even long time it was doubted that there even had been a person called "Busato" at all or if there was really a workshop at all, as there were different adresses he resided in and a couple different workshops worked with his name as well.

Busato 1940 Moyen 01Meanwhile it is known that these different adresses, were Busato used to work in, really existed. There was one of his workshops at the Rue Orgemont from 1934-1943 and later on another second one at the Cite Griset No.4 inside the 11th District in Paris were Busato ran has workshops.

His first adress that was documented from 1926 was in the Rue de Chaligny 34, within the 12th District in Paris. Since 1934 until 1943 he had one workshop in the Rue d’Orgemont 40 inside the 20th District in Paris.

In the year 1943 he opened up a musicstore with the name "Everything for Music" directly on the Boulevard de Ménilmontant 140, also located in the 20th Parisian District. At the end of 1943 he changed place with his workshop from the Rue d’Orgemont into the Cité Griset 4 inside the 11th Parisian Arrondissement. Additionally in 1945 Busato opened another production-workshop in the Avenue de Coeuilly 73 in Champigny sur Marne, outside of Paris.

In the beginning he had employed around 20-30 workers and guitarmakers, in the best years he even had up to 60(!) persons which made all kinds of instruments for him in his different workshops.

Many people dont know that but at the same time Busato built guitars he also made other instruments like Mandolins, Banjos and Upright-Basses that he mostly let make at his own workshops by his co-workers. There were even Busato-Akkordeons that have possibly been made on his order from another company (Castagnolo or Fratelli Crosio), but which have been sold under his name in his workshops and musicstore. These instruments really existed which is certain today. Busato died in Paris 1960.

Until his death Busato had trained many famous guitarmakers amongst them Jacques Favino, Siro Burgassi and Gino Papiri or Pierre Anastasio,  all guys that have been under his staff that worked for him in the first years until they started their own businesses in later years.

Alike the famous Selmer- and Favino-Guitars and because of the rarity and demand of these guitars there are always "Busato"-instruments beeing "faked" and put on the market for expensive prices. Be sure to read our articles about "Features of original Busato-Guitars" and "Fake Busatos" were we put down all most important and known facts about these great guitars, with an example of a faked Busato-guitar wich has been offered on the internet shortly.

Read more -> Busato-history


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