Pistolesi production Register...
TECHNICAL NOTES... by Paolino Canevari
Roberto, over the years has mainly, repaired, restored and in some cases rebuilt a large number of guitars and amplifiers, therefore it was decided to define and publish a list of the instruments effectively built entirely by him.
To do this, we relied on the material kindly provided by his family:
- the notebook where Roberto noted the guitars he had built with date and customer (the names in the scans, were deliberately blanked out for obvious reasons of privacy) and where he carefully "indexed" the technical data and measurements of the most relevant instruments that passed through his hands and served as a method of comparison to obtain precise shapes and measurements which differed for the various vintages; of these we have photographed only a few models as an example of his work method.
- the photographic collection of part of the instruments he built. In this case, as we have no other references, we have tried to match the respective serial number for each photo, where possible.
Some essential details:
A) Roberto's production is divided into two distinct periods.
The first when he made the bodies and used Warmoth necks, purchased in a rough state by him, which were later shaped, rounded and finished.
The second starting from October 1995, with the necks produced directly by him after building the "neck machine", that is, a fully equipped bench where he could build the whole neck with great precision.
The instruments built by Roberto carry the branded "Pistolesi" logo, the final date and the serial number in the slot and the heel of the neck.
All of these instruments are (presumably) recorded in the list below, in many cases the chronology is not sequential but shows the delivery date of the work.
The confirmation of these dates is based both on my personal experience and through direct contact with some of his customers.
We have reported the dates exactly as written in the notebook (example: 1990/12 assumes an instrument was delivered to the customer in the year 1990 on December 12th.
In some cases, the serial number was included in the list at the moment of the order (examples numbers 09-10-20-38)
In matching the photographs to the serial numbers, in some cases, it was easy to do so, either because of the peculiarity of the instrument, or because I "knew" the instrument in question; for others it was more difficult, for example in the cases of the Skycaster numbers 34 and 29 and the Spacecaster numbers 16 and 19 we might have reversed the numbers and therefore we apologize.
Not all the instruments built by Roberto were photographed. Where possible, brief explanatory indications have been included.
B) When Roberto left us, many things were left unfinished except two necks, completely finished and ready to be fitted, which were subsequently paired with the related bodies completed by another two craftsmen luthiers.
- one for Skycaster, now finished in a "see through white" finish on the list as number 46;
- one for a Spacecaster now with Fiesta red finish listed as number 38.
These necks were originally intended for guitars that were commissioned by customers who did not conclude the purchase because the overall work had not been completed by Roberto, it goes without saying that the current owners are extremely happy with their respective guitars.
- about 20 rough necks and as many "Sky" and "Space" bodies already shaped and partly "sanded" that were then bought by private customers and finished by other luthiers.
Most of this work was entrusted to two collaborators and former students of Roberto who were trusted and esteemed by him:
Marco Caroti, owner of Mac Guitars (who finished about 10, amongst which numbers 09, 10, 20, 44, 45 and the "Fiesta Red", which appears in the photo with the name A.C. Giuseppe Orlando owner of NovitecLab.
Only a few of these appear in the list and are recognizable by the delivery date from 2004 on.
C) It should also be noted that several customers commissioned the partial restoration of vintage instruments, and regarding these I can confirm that I have seen them personally.
- a "Tele®" neck (with Fender® decal) commissioned for a '68 Telecaster® and subsequently mounted on a Pistolesi body.
- a '65 Stratocaster® the body of which had previously been reshaped in a "Vox®-style" peardrop shape ... eventually replaced by a Spacecaster body.
- a Fiesta Red Strat® with Schecter® neck (Fender® decal) and Pistolesi body built in the first half of the 90's.
Of these and / or other similar work there is no written record, we can only say that the replaced parts were nevertheless branded "Pistolesi" to avoid any “misunderstandings”.
D) For his instruments, Roberto generally used bodies in a single piece of alder or "swamp ash", "birdseye" maple for the necks and Brazilian rosewood keyboards.
He used seasoned woods that he personally selected and left to season for a long time (especially the necks) after the first rough shaping (the reason for the waiting time for the delivery of the completed instrument).
For the pickups, from the end of 1997, he turned directly to Peter Florance (Voodo® pickups) from whom he obtained pickups ordered with precise specifications, depending on customer requests and requirements (the photos show this).
Brand names marked with ® are registered
The luthier Roberto Pistolesi at work in his Atelier...