The great Italian singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini once told his biographer, “It was a Carmelo Catania, missing that fool of a low E… it was the second guitar I ever owned… I had borrowed it earlier and it had become my own by usucaption. One evening, after I had finished military service, I tripped on the stairs and fell on it. I tried to fix it up with scotch tape, but after a while I was forced to let it go…” (“Un altro giorno è andato: Francesco Guccini si racconta a Massimo Cotto”, Giunti Editore, Florence 2001).
Like many fellow musicians, such as Domenico Modugno and Claudio Baglioni, for part of his career Guccini was a proud owner of a guitar made by Carmelo Catania (1908-1970), a Sicilian luthier who had built his first string instrument at the young age of seventeen.
Catania had started working on mandolins, learning the ropes of his trade very early in life in Naples: he gleaned the secrets of the Neapolitan school of string instrument making and repair, and founded his own company in 1936. After the Second World War, the “Primaria Fabbrica di strumenti musicali a corda Carmelo Catania” recorded a sharp increase in business, peaking at 10,000 instruments sold a year, ranging from the professional to the beginner.
The splendid guitar in this gallery, inlaid with plant-like motifs, is a 1957 “Tipo 18”.