The Real Italian Grand Prix

The Real Italian Grand Prix

Having Your Own Voice

“Lick of the Week” by Steve Kuykendall

“We all have the same notes and same frets to play our music with. So working out ways that fit your personality, I think, is very very important.”

Steve describes this lick as, “a phrase construction based in the Am pentatonic box. It’s kind of bluesy, and a little bit of classic rock in its undertone.”


The accordion industry has significant roots in Italy.  While it’s not the birthplace of the instrument, specifically the town of Castelfidardo was the epicenter of international accordion production from the mid 1800s to the mid 1900s.

Eko, Guild, Carvin, Hagstrom, and Watkins guitars all have significant connections to accordions before musical tastes changed in the 1950s. In the 50s and early 60s savvy and larger accordion manufacturers were able to pivot and follow the music trail by refocusing their production efforts to pianos and guitars.  

Galanti Piano Accordion

One of those companies, Galanti Electro Music company of Mandaino, Italy did just that.  Founded in 1917 by Antonio Galanti and his three of his eight sons, they had a successful accordion business in Italy, prosperous enough for one son to immigrate to NYC and open a retail store. 

As rock n’ roll hit the scene the accordion industry started to dry up by the late 1950s.  So Galanti diversified into guitars.

The guitar line was short-lived for the family, lasting from approximately 1962 to 1968, but they managed to produce about 16,000 guitars: solid and hollow bodies, and a bass.  

They even did some contract builds for Goya, producing the Goya Panther. 

Galanti’s most popular model was the Grand Prix, available in a two, three, or four pickup version. Other than the tuning keys and pickups all components were produced in-house including the roller bridge and vibrato.  

The push-button pickup selections are an “accordion thing” and another unique feature is the dual truss rod access at the headstock and neck end. 

Having such a large family the Galanti name lives on in various businesses, Ahlborn-Galanti Organs and Viscount International. 

1960s Galanti Grand Prix 3002 Specs: Mahogany body, Maple neck, Rosewood fretboard, Two mini humbuckers, Master volume and tone controls,Four push button pickup selections, one for each pickup, all together, or a kill switch

Interested in how it sounds? Watch below.

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