The Bozo 12-String

This month's featured instrument is a fine 12-string guitar built by a highly acclaimed independent luthier. Bozo (pronounced "Bo-zho") Podunavac emigrated from Yugoslavia in the early 1960s and has built fine guitars ever since.

Bozo brings a distinctive old world style to his guitars that is most noticeable in their ornamentation. On this particular guitar, the flower inlays are reminiscent of those seen on bouzoukis and other traditional Balkan instruments. The top is Sitka spruce, the back and sides are Indian rosewood, and the purfling on the front, back and sides is intricate wood marquetry. The fingerboard and peghead veneer are ebony.

Bozo's old world style extends to the meticulous craftsmanship found on this guitar, but he is no slave to traditional guitar design. The unusual bell shape of this and other Bozo guitars is the marriage of a D-28 upper bout and J-200 lower bout. The builder also uses X-bracing different from the standard Martin style, and on some models he has experimented with molded plastic backs similar to Ovations.

The 12-string guitar is generally a custom order from many builders but Bozo has made it his specialty. This instrument has solid contruction, a full-bodied, ringing tone, and an easy feel that is unusual for most 12-strings. Bozos captured the attention of acoustic guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke, who played Bozo instruments on his influential Six and Twelve String Guitar album, as well as other recordings.

We currently have two other 6-string Bozo guitars in inventory. One was formerly owned by Kottke's producer Denny Bruce (inventory #AM3201), which was a prototype for Bozo's plastic-back construction; the other 6-string (AM3442) also has the molded plastic back.

This instrument is SOLD