Find of the Week: Vincent Bell's 1961 Danelectro Bellzouki

1961 Danelectro Bellzouki
Vincent Bell's Personal 1961 Danelectro Bellzouki. Photo by Doug Tulloch.

This week's Reverb find—Vincent Bell's own 1961 Danelectro Bellzouki—is particularly special and historic. For anyone unfamiliar, the late Vincent "Vinnie" Bell was a session guitarist who played on some of the biggest records of the 1960s and beyond. In addition to guitar, Bell was asked to play a Greek bouzouki in some of these early studio sessions, which eventually led to his collaboration with Danelectro on the namesake instrument you see here: the Bellzouki.

Bell used to tune the eight-string Greek bouzouki like a guitar and eventually had the idea to create a hybrid instrument that borrowed from both the bouzouki and the 12-string guitar. As he already had an endorsement deal with Dano at the time, Bell pitched his instrument idea and the brand was on board with its creation.

The Bellzouki features a teardrop-shaped body reminiscent of a classic bouzouki, but it's ultimately got more in common with a classic 12-string guitar, complete with two lipstick pickups. One notable divergence from a traditional 12-string is that the low strings are on top of the octave rather than the high strings, which contributes to the instrument's unique tone. Like many of the other Danos of the time, the Bellzouki is made of a poplar frame covered with Masonite.

1965 Danelectro Bellzouki

Being that this was Vincent Bell's very own instrument, the listing points to several notable projects that this exact instrument can be heard on. "[This Bellzouki] was built/assembled/modified by Vinnie in his home workshop and used on MANY studio recordings including Bob Dylan's Desire and hits such as 'Walk On By,' 'Hello Dolly,' 'Can't Take My Eyes Off You,' 'Stand By Me,' the Barbarella soundtrack, Neil Sedaka's Oh Carol, The Complete Recordings, the TV Series Twin Peaks, and many many others."

You can get an idea of what the Bellzouki sounds like in the video above, which features a later 1965 model, but be sure to check out the full listing here to see more photos of this super unique and historic 12-string guitar.

comments powered by Disqus

Reverb Gives

Your purchases help youth music programs get the gear they need to make music.

Carbon-Offset Shipping

Your purchases also help protect forests, including trees traditionally used to make instruments.

iOS app store button
Android play store button
The Apple logo and the App Store are trademarks of Apple Inc. Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google LLC.
Scan with your phone to get the Reverb app:
App Install QR Code
Oops, looks like you forgot something. Please check the fields highlighted in red.