WILLIAM (Bill) BARTOLINI, 85. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, August 16, 1938. Son of Enrique Bartolini and Nerina Vechiett, brother to Evelina Bartolini-Arglen, father to Antony, and grandfather to Milo.
In 1956 Bill married Patricia Ann Underwood and a year later they moved with their son Antony to married student housing in Lafayette, Indiana, to attend Purdue University. The son of a self-taught electronics engineer, Bill was an “A” student throughout his schooling and graduated with a degree in Physics in 1960 with high honors.
Bill was invited to join the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, in California, as a Mathematician, Junior Physicist, and Computer Coordinator. At the lab he assisted in the measurement of neutron cross-sections by mirror reflection methods. He wrote a computer program describing the transport of neutrons through curved internally reflecting pipes. After almost 15 years at the Laboratory, writing major computer programs and over 15 publications, in 1975 he resigned from the laboratory and switched to making acoustic guitars on his own. Bill learned to play classical guitar when he was 9 years old in Argentina. Self-taught and curious about what would be the best materials (wood, glue, shellac, … ) to make a premium guitar, Bill designed a method to measure the wood’s resonance. His exploration resulted in beautiful-sounding, uniquely resonant instruments. Bill then wrote and published “Acoustics of Guitars and Violins” in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. Bill was also a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society and the Acoustical Society of America.
Not long after these achievements, he designed and patented a pickup for guitars and basses. Bill produced many different pickups in his shop in Livermore and sold them internationally. Many bands still use his “Bartolini Pickups” which are favored by many musicians. In 2012, he sold the pickup business since he was getting slower at 74. As his health declined, Bill moved to Santa Maria, along with his wife to be closer to their son Antony, and his sister Evelina. Bill and Patricia were together for 67 years until his death on September 2, 2023.
Bill is remembered as a man who continually sought answers to improve himself and understand the world a little better. He will be missed greatly by family, friends, and musicians.

NAMM Interview with Bill and Pat January 2006

Gary Willis, Michael Manring, Lee Sklar, and many more pay tributes to Bill Bartolini