1969 Bozo Podunavac Bell Western. SN:25469. Instrument database.

Bozo Podunavac | Bell Western | 1969 | SN:25469

Guitar Database


Vintage 1969 Bozo Podunavac Bell Western guitar. SN:25469. Instrument database. Vintage 1969 Bozo Podunavac Bell Western guitar. SN:25469. Instrument database.

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Luthier Facts :
Name: Bozo Podunavac
Location: Florida

Wait list: Unknown at time of press
Taking Orders?: Unknown at time of press
RIYL: Intricate marquetry and fingerstyle dreadnoughts. Note: (RIYL) Recommended If You Like

Vintage 1969 Bozo Podunavac Bell Western guitar. SN:25469. Instrument database.

  • Model: Bell Western Prototype
  • Year: 1969
  • Serial number:254 69
  • Top:  European Spruce
  • Back & sides: Brazilian Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Body length: 20 1/4
  • Upper bout: 11
  • Lower bout 16 1/2
  • Bridge:Ebony
  • Binding: Rosewood
  • Rosette: Marquetry
  • Backstrip: Herringbone
  • Purfling: Line
  • Headstock: Rosewood
  • Scale Length: 25.4”
  • Nut width: 1 3/4”
  • Twelfth fret width:2 5/16”
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Vintage 1969 Bozo Podunavac Bell Western guitar. SN:25469. Instrument database.

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Vintage 1969 Bozo  Podunavac Bell Western guitar. SN:25469. Instrument database.This is a very early example of a Bozo Bell Western. Mr Podunavac was raised in Belgrade and completed his apprenciship to Milutin Mladenovic in 1950.

He emigrated to Chicago and soon thereafter in 1964 opened his own shop and built guitars under his own name. He is best known through Leo Kottke who played several of his guitars in the 70′s.

To date he was completed over 500 guitars with a distinctive voice and aesthetic. He relishes highly ornate instruments and his guitars are known for being balanced with a full projection.ce

The prior owner says: “Today we have the rarest of the desirable rare, an original 6-string Bozo Pudunavac Bell Western model 80S, from 1969. This, folks, was when Bozo was making all of his guitars himself and was at the top of his game – not to mention building with the most incredible Brazilian rosewood you’re likely ever to see! Perhaps that’s because guitarists like Leo Kottke, John Fahey, Peter Lang, the Reverend Gary Davis, and John Pearse played instruments that Bozo himself lovingly assembled. Original Bozo-built instruments are sold so rarely that the Blue Book of Acoustic Guitars lists only the Japanese copies. So when an original Bozo comes along, it attracts a lot of attention.

The top (I’m told) is German spruce. It’s turned a deep honey color, however, so there’s no longer any color clue available for me to confirm or deny that. But based on my other guitars I’d tend to rule out Sitka, and German would be my next guess. The back and sides are Brazilian rosewood, as is the case with virtually all of Bozo’s early guitars.  And what Brazilian rosewood!  Not the crazy, swirling stumpwood that luthiers are forced to use these days (when they can get even that). No – this is the perfect, straight grained, quarter sawn Brazilian last seen in Martin dreadnoughts from the 1930s and 1940s!

Vintage 1969 Bozo  Podunavac Bell Western guitar. SN:25469. Instrument database.The neck is mahogany, and the fretboard, bridge and heelcap are ebony. The nut (1-3/4”) and saddle are bone. It has pearl dot position markers, a fancy flower pot and Bozo name in mother of pearl on the headstock, and clover in mother of pearl in the fancy rosette – which also includes herringbone. The binding is wood (maple, I think), and there’s a fancy back center strip and herringbone purfling. Original Grover tuners, working perfectly. Clear pickguard. A sharp looking guitar, for certain.

Structurally, this guitar needs nothing except to have you play it. The first 5 or 6 frets are showing some wear, but it’s perfectly playable now. The action and intonation are excellent.  Cosmetically, there’s a good deal of lacquer checking, and there are a small number of minor dings and scrapes here and there – as you’d certainly expect in a 40 year old guitar that’s been played regularly! And though I can’t be certain, it looks like there have been two top cracks on the treble side, fixed long ago. It has a new set of GHS mediums on it, and this guitar wants to get going!

Now, something about the sound.  It’s been said that the Bell Western was Bozo’s marriage of a Martin dreadnought upper bout with a Gibson jumbo’s lower bout.  I don’t know if the measurements stack up precisely, but I will tell you I’ve never heard a guitar that sounds quite like a Bozo.  It’s like the guitar has on-demand 4 wheel drive.  You’re cruising along, everyone watching your clever guitar riffs, because you sound great, your guitar looks awesome – and of course, you’re incredibly good-looking!  Then you want to end the tune by hitting a big chord.  It’s like … I dunno … maybe someone opened a garage door somewhere in the guitar and all this extra room and volume just materialized!  That’s a Bozo.”


Vintage 1969 Bozo  Podunavac Bell Western guitar. SN:25469. Instrument database.Vintage 1969 Bozo Podunavac Bell Western guitar. SN:25469. Instrument database.

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6 comments

  1. Rich Chaffee says:

    My Brother-in-Law was left a 1969 Bozo that we are trying to assess. Can you let me know what this sold for or is selling for? Any one I can contact who coild help?

    Thanks,
    Rich

  2. John Randa says:

    Hello,
    I have one of the proto’s for Leo’s 12-string made with Indian rosewood. Mine has also been played a lot and has been rated by several upscale shops as VG+ condition. Can you give me an idea on the value of my beloved Bozo? Many thanks!
    John (BTW, yours is fabulous and I love the description.)

  3. robert raffel md says:

    I have a 12 string bozo made by Bozo when his shop was in Chicago. It is in excellent shape. It has been independantly appraised at $ 5,000. I am interested in selling it or trading in for a new Martin 00-21.

  4. Terence says:

    Hi robert,

    Thank you for your comment on guitarbench.com maybe you would like to send in some photos and specs to us for the database and we’ll list it up for sale for you on our classifieds section?

  5. kim says:

    I AM LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET A 1967 BOZO FROM THE ORIGINAL OWNER THAT HAS SPENT MOST OF IT LIFE IN THE CASE. VERY NARROW NECK ACTION A BITE HIGH FOR MY TASTE (WHICH ARE SUPER LOW AND SLINKY), TOP PLATES FLAT, COSMETIC CONDITION EXCELLENT FOR AGE, STRUCTURE IS SOUND. NOT CRACKS, LIGHT FRET WEAR IN “COWBOY POSITION” STRAIGHT GRAINED BRAZILIAN ROSEWOOD. THE PREVIOUS OWNER GOT FROM BOZO AT THE STATE ST SHOP IN CHICAGO. HAS “PATENT PENDING” GROVER TUNING MACHINES

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