How much does Michael Horowitz Know? DjangoBooks - Vintage Gypsy Guitars - Busato- Favino-Di Mauro-Castelluccia

Go to content

Main menu:

How much does Michael Horowitz Know? DjangoBooks

Home > DjangoBooks & Michael Horowitz

How Much does Michael Horowitz Know?

"Au pays des aveugles les borgnes sont rois". Nice French proverb, which translates by "In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed is king".

With the growing interest for gypsy music over the last decade, there was the need for someone who could serve this market. Jacques Mazzoleni was the first one to position himself, and his website was created in 1999. He found a partner in the person of Michael Horowitz who was back then a newbie.

In spite of the fact that Mazzoleni was and still is without any discussion, and by far, one of the best experts of gypsy guitars in the world, and Horowitz could not hold a candle to him, he lost very quickly his leadership to Horowitz. There are some reasons for this. Horowitz is smart but surely not smarter than Mazzoleni, but he knows perfectly how to create and manage an Internet business. He understood, like the guy from Facebook, that traffic is the key. To get the highest traffic possible, he started selling all kinds of gypsy related things, have a forum, and attract the attention of players and collectors by selling on consignment nice vintage instruments.

So, after initially learning from Mazzoleni a couple of things about vintage guitars, he started to come across as a reference on vintage guitars as he was learning also about the instruments he was selling for others. He is consulted by many collectors on instruments provenance, and other related details. In Europe, where all gypsy guitars come from, he is not considered at all an expert, and people loathe him. If you read blogs and forums he comes across there as a harsh businessman, with little and wrong knowledge. Keep in mind that if there are dozens of nice gypsy vintage guitars in North America there were thousands of them in France and Europe and most of what comes to Horowitz and Mazzoleni come from French brokers.

I have some touching emails from Michael, showing that he is more like a kid wanting to learn when he does not have to pretend he is the world expert to justify his fees. Eager to learn, he is asking me here to gather the most info from my own sources.
Begin forwarded message:

From: "" <>
Date: August 27, 2012 6:31:15 PM EDT
To: Jean Paul Karcz <>
Subject: Re: Mystery again and a grand modele to come in a month or so...

Hi JP,

When you do get opinions from people like Dias, Griot, etc. let me know any details they may provide as to why they think a particular guitar may or may not be a Busato. Even if I'm still not 100% certain myself, it helps to know what sort of proof they have. If there's enough evidence that a particular labeless guitar may be a Busato then I may be convinced. Things like the bracing, glue, the shape of the braces, neck construction, contour of the top, etc are all great clues. I don't see enough evidence with the Mystery guitar to call it a Busato, but generally I'm using what I've seen in the model 44s with labels as a baseline. Perhaps Dias or the others have seen other styles/eras of Busato's work that would widen the definition of what is and isn't a Busato. But even so, you only get the big money for the classic model 44s which is what everyone wants. Even if we were to prove the Mystery guitar was built by Busato, it is most definitely a different design which customers are less interested in. But it still helps if you can prove it beyond reasonable doubt so any details from others that you work with will help.

I look forward to the Beuscher and the moyen. The F hole Busato looks great! I look forward to seeing how it turns out.


Also, he learnt through me that Busato necks were just glued flat. Read his reaction and Bob Holo’s reaction. These two pseudo experts did not know what dozens of luthiers in France know about the way Busato assembled the necks. How can you trust Bob Holo when he claims he studied Busato construction in and out. Looks like schmoozing to me… These two are a pair of would-be experts who are so full of themselves that they do believe they are the only trustable source.

Begin forwarded message:

From: "" <>
Date: August 16, 2012 12:31:11 PM EDT
To: Jean Paul Karcz <>
Subject: Re: Busato unique and funky way of building the joint between neck and body.

I'll have to ask Bob about that....I don't think he's taken the neck off one so I don't know if he's aware of that.

On 8/16/2012 9:27 AM, Jean Paul Karcz wrote:

That's exactly what I think, I have a couple of Busatos that need to be renecked. Will let you know what we find when we take down the original neck

On 2012-08-16, at 12:26 PM, wrote:

So Busato just glued the neck on to the neckblock without a joint? Amazing that it would stay on!

On 8/16/2012 9:19 AM, Jean Paul Karcz wrote:
Hi Michael,
The sound surely indicates if a guitar is a Busato or not.
Also if you take down the neck Busatos and the Sonoras made by Busato have a unique joint of the neck to the body. No dovetail. Jacques told it to me and it is right.

The truth is that knowledge is scarce about vintage instruments. And we are all learning. Let’s keep modest, and not pretend that we know and anybody else does not. My site is now highly regarded, including in France and Europe, as a trustable source of information. And this pisses off M. Horowitz. I receive many emails telling me that Michael feels threatened by my site. He should not. I give away information, he sells every bit of the little things he knows.

Horowitz will continue his brilliant career of defaming me and doing anything to keep his illusions of being on top. But you cannot stop progress. There are already other vendors in the same business (not me) and Horowitz will just have to feel the pain of losing some nice chunk of market share to his competitors. This will be good to temper his ego.

There are less and less blinds in the kingdom, and the one-eyed is less as less a king, if ever he was.

Back to content | Back to main menu