Maccaferri New Romancer

Contrary to appearances, this plastic guitar is not a toy but a fully functioning instrument, designed by one of the most famous names in guitar history, Mario Maccaferri.

The Italian-born guitarist is best-known for designing a line of flat-top acoustic guitars for Selmer, the French band instrument company, that were played by gypsy jazz great, Django Reinhardt.

Maccaferri’s interest in developing a more reliable saxophone reed led him to plastics and, after relocating to NY at the beginning of WWII, he invented a plastic clothespin. After the war he turned his attention back to guitars and worked with the Dow chemical company to come up with the best type of plastic. He introduced his first models in 1953.

The New Romancer’s artwork belied a surprisingly decent sound, the result of a sheathed wood neck and wood body bracing.

Maccaferri continued to build plastic instruments and introduce new models through the 1960s, but his Islander ukulele was the only model that achieved even moderate success, and he finally withdrew the line in 1969.