Thursday, 28 April 2011

Vintage South African Bellini acoustic
We've not featured many South African guitars here on Guitarz other than those made from oil cans.

Pictured above is an acoustic guitar from Bellini Instruments of Pinetown, South Africa. I'm not sure if the almost Art Deco marquetry work on the top is original. It is a little crude, so possibly it was applied later. The thick turquoise handpainted finish to back, sides and neck is certainly a later "customization" (I'll add more photos to the comments below).

According to the seller on eBay UK (currently listed with a starting price of £6.99), the label inside the guitar reads:
This instrument is superior to other guitars as it is the arch type, top and bottom swelled, cello shape, giving better tone, strength, and longer life.
It also says:
Guaranteed not to split.
To the right is an advertisement for Bellini Guitars from The Straits Times, 14 December 1958.

Note the text that tells us that:
Bellini Guitars retain their excellent tone quality and finish under extreme climatic conditions. They are built under a special process known only to this famour Maker and are rapidly outdtripping all other Makes of moderate-priced Guitars in Malaya and Borneo.
(The peculiar capitalization is as it appears in the ad).

The impression I get is that Bellini Guitars are the South African equivalent of Stella guitars. They don't exactly have the most fantastic acoustic tone, but they are not without their own primitive charms.

G L Wilson

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  1. The finish is an after application. I have a fully fledged original.

    1. Hi Vera, I just bought one on Gumtree for (too much me thinks) but Im writting it down to South African History 101...... Tont

  2. I too have an all original more akin to what the guy in the Ad. is holding - but round hole and not "f" unfortunately. They have a slight 'bluesy'sound to my ear. Can't wait to get mine finished and strung and try "slide" to hear how that goes...!



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