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Art Discussion Group - Malta

128th Meeting Artist

Charles Busuttil - Musical Instruments Restorer

The 128th Art Discussion Group Meeting will be held on Tuesday 24th March 2015 at 19.30hrs at MISCO OFFICE (first floor) in Fino Building in Notabile Road, Mriehel. ADG is inviting Charles Busuttil a specialist involved in restoring fine instruments ranging from antique and rare violins to mandolins, banjos, guitars and other string instruments.

He took after his father Felix who Charles regards as his mentor and friend. His father always taught him that if someone else could fix it, he could fix it too. Charles will answer questions from the floor regarding his approach and technique in restoration. He will also elaborate about his career and unique tasks that gave him great satisfaction.

‘For the past 40 years I have been working and helping out my father with a vast array of work.  He was a specialist marine diesel engines engineer and lecturer for 40 years. I have helped him fix marine and car engines, overhauled and restored old cars, built furniture, restored antique furniture, restored and built my house, built boats, and the list goes on and on. It is also thanks to my father that I got good grades in advanced level and university level physics and general science, and also graduated as Yacht Master Offshore’.

In 1992, while Charles was at university, he started a small part-time hobby of repairing and setting guitars.  He was soon joined by his father who eventually took the position of a respected Luthier, and since his retirement in 2000 has spent all his days at the workshop. In November 2014 Felix died and Charles had to continue on his own imbued and inspired by the tenacity of his late father.

They had attended restoration workshops in Germany and Italy. Over the years they have restored some fine instruments ranging from antique and rare violins to mandolins, banjos, guitars and other string instruments. While the bulk of Charles’ work involves repairs, he has restored some rare and important instruments over the years, including a violin by renowned Italian luthier Giuseppe Guarneri, dating from 1714. The painstaking restoration took him and his father two years to complete. ‘When we heard it played for the first time we cried – it was such a beautiful sound’.

Since 1992 the garage, a casa bottega in Zabbar has hosted ‘Band Aid Music’ that services, repairs and restores string instruments, as well as selling guitars and amplifiers. Charles started the business after building a strong word-of-mouth reputation for fixing instruments in his university days. ‘’Band Aid Music’ is now well-known among musicians in Malta and beyond, with Bryan Adams, Jethro Tull, Zucchero, Tom Jones, Ronan Keating, Michael Bolton and Riccardo Cocciante just some of the many international stars who have sought Charles’s services while visiting the island. He also receives instruments from collectors as far away as the UK and US, who trust Charles more than restorers in their own countries.

Charles has also worked with and for some famous artists like: Alan Parsons, Supertramp, Claudio Baglioni, Lucio Dalla, Marillion, Moby, Matia Bazar, Riccardo Fogli, The Wailers, P.P Arnold, Smokie, Joseph Calleja, James Blunt, Tom Jones, Winter Moods, Jesse Cook, Patty Smith and many more. 

Charles is a science teacher by profession. He also does part-time work as a session musician with well-known local bands and as a backline and instrument technician during big concerts. But despite his love for instrument repairs and restoration, Charles does not want to give up his day job. ‘The balance is perfect at the moment: I don’t want to expand because I would have to employ more people, and the personal service I’m known for would be lost’.

ADG invites all members and their friends and the public to enjoy meeting Charles Busuttil the restorer and share with him the thrills and pleasures of his successes. E.V. Borg 06. 03. 2015