A guitar of this stature needs no introduction. Next to Selmers, Busatos are the most sought after guitars by today's top players. So many contemporary Gypsy jazz guitarists play these exquisite guitars:
-Romane (he plays a Busato on most of his recordings over the last 5 years)
-Stochelo Rosenberg (performs with his Selmer but is an avid collector and player of Busatos)
-Yayo et Fanto Reinhardt (Romane's rhythm section get an amazing dry rhythm sound with their Busatos!)
-Moreno owned one of the most ornate, and beautiful Busatos ever made!
and of course, Django himself! (see Django's Busato here: Django's Busato). Django is rumored to have written the ballad Anouman on his Busato.
So what makes Busatos so great? Generally speaking, they simply out perform other guitars in almost every way. First off, they are positively the loudest guitars every made! I've compared Busatos to numerous classic Gypsy guitars such as Jacques Favinos and Selmers as well as new guitars by J.P. Favino, Dupont, ALD, and Dell Arte. A good Favino is pretty loud...but the Busato is just a cannon. A vintage Selmer is actually quite timid by comparison.
Busato guitars possess three tonal elements which provide superior performance in acoustic settings. 1) They are extremely dry. They have little or no natural wetness (reverb.) This makes the guitar much more focused and is therefore much easier to hear in a loud jam setting. 2) The tone is very pure with very simple overtones. The fundamental pitch of single notes are very strong while the overtones are extremely clean and even. Very flute like in character. A Selmer sounds more complex, but is also somewhat "messier" sounding which dampens projection. 3) They respond to the slightest touch. Just barely strike the strings and you get a lightening fast bolt of sound. This feature really helps you relaxe because you don't have to play these guitars hard to be loud.
Busatos yield an exceedingly wide frequency response. They have a crisp, bright high end which gives your leads some sparkle and adds ambiance and clarity to rhythm work. There's not much mids, except for a slight upper midrange nasalness. But nothing like a Favino in that regard. Like a Favino, there is far more low end then a Selmer, and it's an incredibly tight, clear low end. Not mushy or ill defined in anyway. The excellent low end response of a Busato mixed with it's dry character really make it excel for rhythm playing. It's just so clear. The high end cracks like a whip and the bass notes are like a kick in the gut.
This Busato is a variation of the Modele #44 which has a slightly thinner body than usual. The width of the lower bout is the typical 16 1/4" (Selmer is 15 3/4", Favino is 16 1/2".) The scale length is also the usual 675mm. However, the body depth is 3 1/2" which is a 1/4" smaller then a typical Modele #44..
Busatos are also the curviest Gypsy guitars out there. The bombé (top arch) is the most pronounced I've ever seen on a Selmer type guitar. It's like a huge bubble under the bridge. The back is also beautifully arched.
This guitar has walnut back and sides, a spruce top, and a three piece mahogany neck with an ebony strip in the middle. The top is actually 6 separate pieces of spruce which is very common for Busatos.
This guitar has Dupont replica BB tuners and an original BB tailpiece.
This guitar is currently strung with Argentine 10s and is incredibly easy to play. It plays like butter with no buzzes or other sonic problems.
The condition of the guitar is excellent. Just some minor wear, scratches, and checking. The guitar seems to have been refinished and a pick guard was added. The moustache pieces are also new. A strap pin was added to the heel. Overall, a very good looking guitar considering it's age.
This guitar actually has the original Busato label on the neck block AND the plastic name plate on the headstock. Usually, Busatos have one or the other...and often nothing at all. Both labels have the Boulevard de Ménilmontant address. My best guess would be that this is a 50s Busato.
|Model Number||Modele #44|
|Fret Neck||14 Fret|
|Nut Width||1 3/4"|
|Body Depth||3 1/2"|
|Back and Sides||Walnut|
|Neck||Mahogany with Ebony spline|
|Tuners||BB Replica Nickel|
|Case||Superior Deluxe Black|
Instrument that Inspires Awe
Pros: Sound, playability, aesthetic
Cons: Replaced tuners, added pickguard
Personally I feel this is one of the most underrated guitars I've played. It's a cannon (loud!). The playability and aesthetic is excellent. The neck is chunky and round, but less of a square shoulder than the 40's Busatos or original Selmer. Most important: the sound. It's very different from the 1940's busatos - which I find to have chimey crystalline highs, and percussive and chalky bass. There is certainly a range of variation in the 50's Busatos, but this one in particular has very round bell-like trebles - very sweet. A punchy mid, and a clear strong bass. Less "transparent" and "rustic" than the 40's grand modeles, but very sweet and melodic. This guitar is: Highly Addictive!
Submitted by: Spencer on 09/15/2018 12:57:50 PM