Bell Carousel Model 1920
"A new slim-line cutaway guitar of outstanding quality. Highly polished sunburst finished body with double white purfling on front and back. Spliced and reinforced neck, inlaid fingerboard, seperate machine heads, ajustable bridge and manual tremolo arm. Two sensative pickups in neat gilt covers mounted on black perspex plate with contrasting two-tone plectrum guard. Tone control and two seperate volume controls; jack plug socket and 3 way pickup selector switch giving easy selection of bridge or fingerboard units seperatly or with both units simultaneously. Complete with screened lead and jack plugs.
Cash price £33.12"
Bell Carousel was marketed for one year in 1962 for the UK market only. Selling for an orginal price of a whopping £33.12. This was not cheap for it's time and would be roughly around £500 of todays money. Bell Musical Instruments Ltd marketed the Bell Carousel for only a year and it was featured on large print in the Bell Musical Instruments Ltd Catalogue as shown above. The Carousel model 1920 was featured in 1962's edition of the Bell Catalogue only.
It has been proposed that this guitar was modelled / based after the Roger Model 54 Thinline, Designed by the infamous Roger Rossmeisl of Roger Guitars who was building instruments from Berlin shortly after WWII.
These guitars didn't have branded headstocks, instead they featured a blank space which could be filled by the retailer. Ours has a metal tag pinned on either side which states: 'Supplied by Johnny Owens Musical Instruments. Charles Street, Ballymoney.'
It's hard to track down where they were made and records show that the woodwork was outsourced. Believed to be outsourced from former Yugoslavia. This stipulation comes from educated guesses by industry lovers who found a GMI branded guitar that has a lot of similar features Distributed by Eko in the 60's also built in former Yugoslavia. (possibly Slovenia)
However that aside they were assembled and finished in London, UK by Henry Weill, using Jim Burns electronics and components. The pickups are designed by Henry Weill and records are hazy but seem to say that he handwired most of them himself. Henry then fitted a Burns Tremolo System and wired everything up with Burns components.
These are beautiful guitars and a bit of a lost gem in the collectors market, especially for the collectors that like Henry Weill and Jim Burns.
This guitar is part of our private collection at WM Guitars.