Sunday, June 14, 2009

Want a funny guitar for $40,000?




At 17 years old Willi Wilkanowski was already an articled violin maker in Warsaw, Poland. He moved to Brooklyn, USA in the 1920's to make violins and cellos. But something diverted him. Whether it was a fancy for the jazz music he found in New York or a commission is unknown. In 1937 he made a guitar. But no ordinary guitar. One based on his infinite skill as a violin and cello maker. Here it is. A stunning creation called a Wilkanowski Arch Top Acoustic. You can see the six string headstock is borrowed from a cello as well as the f-holes. The waist has that cello look, too. He only made a handful of these and no two are alike. Now an auction house in New York is selling it. Willi stopped making them in 1941 and disappeared from history. Johnny Cash had one. (JC could afford it)

I couldn't resist featuring it in my thriller The Emerald Killers. But my musician, Clayton Earle, sells his for drink, silly b*****.

Here's how a proper Wilkanowski violin sounds.

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