Sicilian gypsy folk guitar

in FAQ Posts: 28

Thought I'd put this up for anyone whose interested. Have just finished restoring this Guitar by Giuseppe Indelicato Contorino from Catania. Would put it in the late 1920's? Had bar frets when i got it. The DNA is there for the later gypsy jazz guitars we know and love, headstock, D neck profile, neck joint etc. Construction is two ply laminate back, solid maple sides, spruce top 4mm thick. Neck is some type of fruit wood. Ladder braced with the tops chamferred (Busato?). Plays loud and 'spanky'. Sold originally as a Hawaiian guitar.



  • JHAnchorsJHAnchors Austin, Texas New Eastman DM-1-CLA
    Posts: 14

    This is gorgeous!

  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    Posts: 603

    At first glance , from the mosaic round inlay & export brand, I might have said "1950s", but the tailpiece and bridge (and so maybe the whole guitar) look older, maybe 1930s. p.s. I'm no expert.

  • Posts: 28

    The reason i think earlier apart from the bar frets is the maker was around from 1900 till mid 30's. The company then passed to his sons and became Fratelli Indelicato who i think kept going post war at a different address. I have another very similar (awaiting restoration) which has original T frets. So im assuming this was earlier with the bars, by dodgy deduction. Both have the same brass old style tuners. I think the Hawaiian craze was done by the end of the 30s as well. On both guitars there is the tell tale linear indentation on the fretboard end and headstock where a metal nut raiser was used.

  • ChrisMartinChrisMartin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Di Mauro x2, Petrarca, Genovesi, Burns, Kremona Zornitsa & Paul Beuscher resonator.
    Posts: 959

    And one would guess from that label they were made for export. Not a lot of the Sicilian guitars I have seen have anything written in English.

    Whatever, count me in as another admirer.

  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    edited March 2020 Posts: 603

    Ah, did I say it's a lovely guitar? ;-)

    I've watched a few similar (Fratelli ?) Indelicato guitars, with beautiful checked wooden binding and nice animal or insect inlays go through the UK auctions, but I've never pulled the bidding trigger. They don't seem highly valued, which might be a shame, if it didn't allow us to acquire one cheaply ;-)

    I have the exact same "Roman mosaic" inlay on my 1950's Musicalia (Catania) pics are in the "P. Bucolo" threads.


    edit - Musicalia inlay early 1950's:

  • Posts: 28

    A nice guitar. Could yours be a Fratelli Idelicato? Musicalia being an overall export brand? Haven't seen the sound hole design on any other makers. The scratch plate folded fabric design looks familiar along with the fretboard end curve on the 50's ones.

    I think the Sicilian guitars give you what you put in to them. Tweak the geometry, new frets and decent bridge strings etc probably play much better than new. I think the crazy decoration also gets addictive.

  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    edited January 2022 Posts: 603

    Fairly certain mine was built by Alfredo Leone under the 'Musicalia" label, just before he formed the "Musikalia" company in circa 1955, which still operates today. Agree on the Sicilian guitars, lots of good value and good sounds to be had with a little work, and i also agree on the elaborate decoration - very "Gallus" as we'd say here in Scotland.

    I hope to acquire one of the 'Pavone' (Peacock) inlaid guitars one day.

    [ for e.g. this one, said to be by "Carmelo Catania", but I'm not convinced, I think any 'Catania' on its label refers only to the city & it's more likely by, for e.g., Vincenzo Miroglio ]

    edit 2021 another full body hi-res pic - wish I could see what that importer decal at the tailpiece said.

    edit 2022, - I'm fairly sure the import decal is "Delft - Holland", with the black & white shield of the city of Delft , and perhaps a date.

  • Posts: 28

    That looks very nice. They certainly have their hallmarks if only we knew enough of them re makers. I think all the metalwork on all of them pre war was the standard German imports, which doesnt help identifying. Love the sheer flamboyance of them. On a bird related theme below is the slightly younger brother of the first post. This has yet to be restored and the rub on transfer British birds removed! Plus the many coats of household varnish on top!!

  • Posts: 28

    Pic as promised...

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,337

    @AndyW I saw Storro Limberger play with a "peacock" guitar when they were touring the De Piottos album (Same peacock as your picture, difft guitar). You can see it on the cover of the album but the shape of the guitar bouts are stylized. Not sure what kind of guitar that is he was playing. Anyone recognize it?

    @rabbitweir Love the guitar!

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