This story is just fun on so many levels!
Fretboard Journal’s Michael Simmons sent me this video link the other day. Click on it to enter the psychedelic world of 1966 Italian beat band Equipe 84. Called “Italy’s answer to the Beatles,” their video looks more like outtakes from a Monkees episodes to me. Be that as it may, it is of course the curious harp guitar “played” by the guitarist that caught Michael’s (and my) eye.
What is it?! I of course first thought “Mozzani!”, but it didn’t match any of the known models or specimens, so I went looking in our Masetti section instead. Hmmm, close, but that’s not it either. Perhaps one of the other Mozzani copycats, like the guy who built Gino Bordin’s instrument? The video is too blurry!
Fellow expert Benoit (Meulle-Stef) pointed out the separated soundholes which were definitely Mozzani, and then I finally figured it out…it’s a newly-discovered composite Mozzani model! I had to look in both the single arm and double arm Mozzani galleries…and there were the two perfectly standard – but never before combined – elements: the body of the Aquila with the sound holes and bridge of the “Ginkgo” design. How very cool. Check it out:
If you think about it, it’s not at all unusual; Mozzani’s shop “mixed and matched” many of the design elements and shapes to create different “models” (and probably “one-offs”). Does this particular composite specimen still survive somewhere? It should be easy to spot, as it has some additional elements (rectangular “pick guard”? and other patterns added to the soundboard in some way).
Curiously, while I found hundreds of Google Images of the band – album covers, promo shots, you name it – there was nary a pose with the distinctive Mozzani. Perhaps it was just something borrowed last minute for the music videos.
However, there is more Equipe 84 out there…in the last few seconds of the above video, the footage jumped to another staged video using the same Mozzani. And I bet my Italian baby boomer readers will have fond memories of the band as well!