Vinnie Bell’s Basement Guitars

Vinnie Bell Sitar Ad

Today I googled for Vincent Bell’s name because I couldn’t believe Danelectro didn’t mention him in their promo for the Coral Hornet re-issue now called Dead-On-67. He designed those in the sixties along with several other classic and unique models like the Bellzouki (first electric 12-string) and the Coral Sitar (electric guitar with 12 bordun strings and a sitar bridge). Anyway, so I came across this great page by Moe Thomas for the first time. He says he’s a long time friend of Mr. Bell and when he visited the legendary guitar player’s basement he took pictures of the sheer mass of historic and unique guitars and prototypes – many built by Vinnie himself. He’s a very inventive guy thinking up things like the first wahwah or his trademark underwater sound as heard on Moon Gas and apparently various practices and machinery used in guitar manufacturing – all while making a living as one of the east coast’s busiest studio session men.

Here are links to some highlights of the collection:

  • photo of Sitar prototypes
  • the sitar-shaped Bellzouki as portrayed on the back of Joe Harnell’s Bossa Now! album
  • Vinnie Bell’s personal 6-string bass (who knows how many records we have heard this one on?!!!)
  • one of a kind Coral Scorpio-style 12-string Sitar (a dream instrument of mine)
  • Vinnie Bell model Stratocaster as presented to him by Fender Musical Instruments (note straight bridge pick-up)
  • the banjo he played on Louis Armstrong’s recording Hello Dolly
  • the mandolin Bell played on The Godfather-soundtracks

also visit www.vinniebell.com

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