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Bozo Podunavac (pronounced bo-zho pod oo nav ack) was a Serbian-born master luthier / guitar builder who emigrated to the U.S. in 1959. He was raised in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and served his apprenticeship with master luthier Milutin Mladenovic and graduated in 1950. He moved to Chicago, when he came to the US and for a time worked in the repair department of a musical instruments dealer and manufacturer. In 1964 he opened his own shop and began building guitars with his name "Bozo" on the peghead. Bozo apprenticed in the old world tradition of his homeland, and relished building highly ornate instruments.Whether plain or fancy, his guitars have a very distinctive "voice," and tone. They are particularly well balanced and have a commanding presence. He was best known for building a few guitars (6 & 12 strings) for Leo Kottke back in the early 70's.Bozo left the Chicago area in the mid 70's and moved to Southern California and opened up his shop in San Diego along with a school of lutherie. During this time he "licensed" several of his designs to a Japanese firm that proceeded to build several hundred "Bozo" guitars, some with laminated back and sides, some all solid wood construction.Bozo had some health problems and stopped building his handcrafted instruments. He was then "rumored" to have died in the early 1980's, and as the Mark Twain saying goes, the rumors of his death were greatly exaggerated. Alas, Bozo passed away 2015, and will be missed by the luthier community at large.The works of a great master will live on. His instruments are treasured by collectors and players for their quality, style and design. They are truly playable works of art.
Englewood, Florida
Leo Kottke
Bell Western, 12-String Guitars, Requinto, Archtops
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