|37 Kenmare Street|
It is a well known fact that some of the finest archtop guitars ever built in the 20th Century came out of a small guitar shop on Kenmare Street in New York City. These were the guitars built by John D’Angelico.
|1937 D'Angelico New Yorker|
|1935 D'Angelico Style A|
Though his production was robust in the 1930’s, his shop was only producing around 35 instruments each year. And this included guitars and mandolins. Much of his day to day work involved repairs of guitars, mandolins and violins.
|'37 Style A|
By the latter part of the 1930's John D'Angelico had settled on building only four styles of guitars. They were all based on the popular Gibson L-5. These guitars included the Style A, which much like the Gibson L-5 had a 17 inch body and his first original style head stock.
|D'Angelico Style B|
D’Angelico made the decision to produce a larger instrument and called it the New Yorker. Perhaps this was in response to the Strombergs building a similar sized guitar. The New Yorker guitar had an 18 inch body. Only around 300 New Yorkers were built. They were all gorgeous instruments. These bore the other D'Angelico touches, such as the Empire State Building truss rod cover and his uniquely shaped pickguards.
|1937 Style A|
The early D’Angelico instruments came with a steel rod to reinforce the neck, however it was not adjustable. This feature would come on instruments produced in the late 1940’s.
|1953 New Yorker|
|Johnny Smith with D'Angelico|
|Martin Taylor with Teardrop - Scott Chinery - Steve Howe|
|1957 D'Angelico Teardrop - 1993 D'Aquisto Teardrop - 2008 Monteleone Teardrop|
In 2007 luthier extraordinaire John Monteleone begqn his version and even added extra flairs, but making a scroll design on the upper bout that is similar to the design on a Gibson F-5 mandolin. Monteleone included 4 unusual sound holes on the instruments top and an additional one on the guitars upper side. This sound port could be opened or closed. Its purpose was to allow the player to better hear the guitar. The Monteleone instrument was 18 inches across to lower bout, which was a full inch larger than the versions that D'Angelico or D'Aquisto produced.
|'52 Excel - '46 New Yorker - '40 Excel|
John D’Angelico became very ill in 1959 and suffered a series of heart attacks in subsequent years. During a particularly cold winter of 1964 D’Angelico contracted pneumonia, but like most self-employed entrepreneurs he continued to work.
|'59 Excel Cutaway|
At the time John D’Angelico was only 59 years old.
|1947 D'Angelico Tenor Guitar|
|#2041 '58 and 2091 '59|
|1960 D'Angelico New Yorker|
D’Aquisto went on for a few years building guitars in the style of his D’Angelico. He continued for the rest of his life to produce archtop guitars, but in his own design. Sadly D’Aquisto died unexpectedly in 1995 at age 59.
|D'Angelico, J. Smith & D'Aquisto|
Both D’Angelico and D’Aquisto are still regarded as the greatest builders of archtop guitars ever.
|R. Patt's 8 string|
Jimmy D'Aquisto went on and was very much in demand as a guitar builder and luthier until his death in 1995.
One guitar that D’Aquisto had created during his last years was Called the Blue Centura Deluxe. It was built for wealthy guitar collector Scott Chinery, who had an appreciation of fine instruments, especially those built by D’Angelico and D’Aquisto.
The Blue Guitar Collection. The event culminated with a huge party that featured a variety of guitars, including Scotty Moore, Tal Farlow, Johnny Winter, Jack Wilkins, G.E. Smith, Jimmy Vivino, Steve Howe, Lou Pallo and others, who all played the Blue guitars that were designed by the likes of Bob Benedetto and 21 other prominent luthiers.
In 2011, works by D'Angelico and D'Aquisto were included in the 'Guitar Heroes' exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
|A picture of John D'Angelico's Shop for Guitar Heroes at the MMA|
This event caught the attention and lead investors John Ferolito, Jr., Brenden Cohen, and Steve Pisani to purchase and resurrect the D’Angelico brand name, and build a new showroom in New York City.
|New D'Angelico Guitars and Basses - from Forbes online|
the Grateful Dead’s final series of concerts and was autographed by the surviving memebers.