The Twelfth Fret ~ Since 1977 ~

❌SOLD❌ Bozo Podunavac Bell Western 12 String Guitar, 1989


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Today we have a very rare treat, something that I have heard on recordings, perhaps seen on stage, but never up close. This is a Bozo Podunavic Bell Western 12-string, built in the USA.

Bozo guitars, built by Bozo Podunavac in California or later Florida, are not at all common, but were used by a number of highly influential guitarists. The notable player for me was Leo Kottke, whose incredible skill with the 12-string still astounds all of us here – regardless of how fast and hard he’s playing, every note is clear, clean and audible.  At the time, Kottke did play with a very forceful attack and with thumb and fingerpicks, which eventually led to physical wear requiring him to cease playing for several years. Now, he plays without the picks and a much lighter touch, often on Taylor instruments.

Bozo Podunavic was born in Serbia and raised in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, completing an apprenticeship with Milutin Miadenovic in 1950. After emigrating to the USA, he worked for an instrument dealer and opened a shop in Chicago. During the mid 1970’s Bozo moved to San Diego CA, and finally to Florida. His European training was unmistakable.    Bozo Podunavic died around June 2, 2015. 

During the 1970’s, some Bozo guitars were built in Japan, possibly by K. Yairi or Morris.

The Bozo Podunavac Bell Western 12, like all Bozo guitars, is spectacular. It is heavily ornamented, but that’s not to mask or make up for some deficiency in the quality of construction or tone. It’s built to be played in performance, and it rings out loud and clear. And – it is loud, and projects.

This Bell Western dates to 1989 and is in decent condition. The body is Indian Rosewood for the back and sides and spruce for the top, with herringbone binding on the back and doubled Abalone and herringbone on the top. The decorated rosette shows Bozo’s European influences – flowers, more herringbone, and more Abalone. The ebony bridge is heavily shaped and inlaid, again with Abalone. The headstock has a Bozo rendering of his name and a traditional ‘Flowerpot’ – of course in Abalone. The position markers are Abalone, but using three rectangles. The neck block is signed by Bozo Podunavic.

This guitar plays reasonably and speaks with a highly authoritative voice. The action height is at 5/664ths treble and 6/54ths bass, a fairly standard action height. However, it is an older instrument and as happens to nearly all guitars of a certain age, it is heading towards needing a neck reset. On an instrument of this complexity, such a task requires a highly skilled technician and will carry a premium.   

The original hardshell case is included. 


Price: $4,900.00 CAD
  • Model: Bell Western
  • Year: 1989
  • Finish Natural
  • Class: Used
  • Serial Number: 459-89
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • Condition: Good
  • Date Posted: 26/10/2017

  • This instrument has been sold
  • Consignment Item

  • Required CITES documentation
  • Including original Hard case
  • Instrument Weight: 6lbs
  • Scale Length: 25.5in 648mm
  • Nut Width: 1in 51mm

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