|Died||September 1, 1964 58–59) (aged|
|Known for||Founder of D'Angelico Guitars|
John D'Angelico (Little Italy, Manhattan, 1905 – Manhattan, September 1, 1964) was a luthier from New York City, noted for his handmade archtop guitars and mandolins. He founded the D'Angelico Guitars company, where other notable luthiers like Jimmy D'Aquisto served as apprentices.
John D’Angelico was born in 1905 in New York to an Italian-American family, and was apprenticed in 1914 to his great-uncle, Raphael Ciani, who made violins, mandolins, and flat top guitars.This apprenticeship would become the basis for construction principles he later incorporated into his archtop guitars. After Ciani died D'Angelico took over the management of the business, but he didn't like having to supervise the 15 employees. As a result, he left and founded in 1932 D'Angelico Guitars at 40 Kenmare Street in Manhattan's Little Italy. Here he began making guitars initially based on the 16 inch Gibson L-5 and subsequently working on his own designs.
Initially D'Angelico's guitars were based largely on the 1920s version of the Gibson L-5 with a 16 inch lower bout and "snakehead" headstock design, but by 1937, he had settled on four main f-hole archtop guitar designs, heavily influenced by the Gibson L-5:
Through at least the late 1930s, D’Angelico's guitar necks had non-adjustable steel reinforcement. Later models had functional truss rods.By the late 40s, D'Angelico was building only the Excel and the New Yorker. All New Yorker models featured pearl inlays in the headstock and fingerboards, as well as quadruple bindings.
All of D’Angelico's guitars were hand-built, and many were customized for specific people, so substantial variation is evident in his output. D’Angelico's shop rarely made more than 30 guitars per year.In all, it is estimated that he built 1,164 guitars. D’Angelico also built a few round-hole (as opposed to f-hole) archtops, and a few mandolins.
While D'Angelico's craftsmanship was not always exemplary, the performance of his guitars established him as the premier maker of archtop guitars.During the late 1930s, when production was at its peak, D'Angelico made approximately 35 instruments per year with the help of only two workers, one of whom was Vincent "Jimmy" DiSerio. His recognition as the "finest builder of archtop guitars" later brought offers from larger companies, but ultimately he decided to keep his operation under his own name.
During the 1950s, some of the instruments leaving D'Angelico's shop had mixed features, such as an Excel-sized guitar with New Yorker features created for Johnny Smith, or D'Angelico necks custom fitted to bodies customers brought in.Original D'Angelico guitars are identified by a serial number punched inside the bass f-hole—the serial numbers ranging from 1001 to 2164.
In 1952 Jimmy D'Aquisto joined the company as an apprentice.
D'Angelico had a heart attack in 1959 and also parted ways with DiSerio, who left to work at the Favilla guitar company. As a result, he closed the business but soon reopened it after D'Aquisto who was unable to find work, convinced him to do so.After several more heart attacks and having also suffered from pneumonia John D'Angelico died in 1964 at the age of 59. He had built 1,164 numbered guitars with the last ten finished by D'Aquisto. D'Aquisto then bought the business but a poor business decision lost him the right to the D’Angelico name.
The D'Angelico Guitars brand has continued under other owners.
Some of D'Angelico's employees went on to become craftsmen in their own right. Among them were Jimmy Di Serio, who worked for D'Angelico from 1932–1959, and D'Aquisto who would eventually buy the business from the D'Angelico family. D'Angelico and D'Aquisto are generally regarded as the two greatest archtop guitar makers of the 20th century.
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.
Vincent "Jimmy" DiSerio, was commissioned by Ralph Patt to modify a Gibson ES-150 (six-string archtop hollow-body guitar) to have a wider neck, wider pickup, and eight strings circa 1965; seven strings enabled Patt's major-thirds tuning to have the E-E range of standard tuning, while the eighth string enabled the high A♭.
A mandolin is a stringed musical instrument in the lute family and is generally plucked with a plectrum. It most commonly has four courses of doubled metal strings tuned in unison, thus giving a total of 8 strings, although five and six course versions also exist. The courses are typically tuned in a interval of perfect fifths, with the same tuning as a violin. Also like the violin, it is the soprano member of a family that includes the mandola, octave mandolin, mandocello and mandobass.
A luthier is a craftsperson who builds and repairs string instruments that have a neck and a sound box. The word "luthier" is originally French and comes from the French word for lute. The term was originally used for makers of lutes, but it came to be used already in French for makers of most bowed and plucked stringed instruments such as members of the violin family and guitars. Luthiers, however, do not make harps or pianos; these require different skills and construction methods because their strings are secured to a frame.
An eight-string guitar is a guitar with two more strings than the usual six, or one more than the Russian guitar's seven. Eight-string guitars are less common than six- and seven-string guitars, but they are used by a few classical, jazz, and metal guitarists. The eight-string guitar allows a wider tonal range, or non-standard tunings, or both.
An archtop guitar is a hollow steel-stringed acoustic or semiacoustic guitar with a full body and a distinctive arched top, whose sound is particularly popular with jazz, blues, and rockabilly players.
Lloyd Allayre Loar (1886–1943) was an American musician, instrument designer and sound engineer. He is best known for his design work with the Gibson Mandolin-Guitar Mfg. Co. Ltd. in the early 20th century, including the F-5 model mandolin and L-5 guitar. In his later years he worked on electric amplification of stringed instruments, and demonstrated them around the country. One example, played in public in 1938 was an electric viola that used electric coils beneath the bridge, with no back, able to "drown out the loudest trumpet."
Hagström is a musical instrument manufacturer in Älvdalen, Dalecarlia, Sweden. Their original products were accordions that they initially imported from Germany and then Italy before opening their own facility in 1932. During the late 1950s, the company started making electric guitars and later amplifiers. The early guitars were heavily influenced by the accordion production and had a special look and feel. Hagström were the first company to mass-produce 8 string bass guitars as well as the first to build a guitar/synthesizer hybrid. The company ceased production in 1983. In 2004 the brand was resurrected and is now in production in China. In 2008 Hagström expanded their line of products and launched their own line of basses including a re-issue of their famous Hagström H8, an 8 string bass.
The tenor guitar or four-string guitar is a slightly smaller, four-string relative of the steel-string acoustic guitar or electric guitar. The instrument was initially developed in its acoustic form by Gibson and C.F. Martin so that players of the four-string tenor banjo could double on guitar.
Władysław William "Willy" Wilkanowski was a Polish-American violin-maker, guitar-maker and violinist. He was a very productive luthier, known for making over 5000 violins and 100 violas with his staff at his workshop. He also created 30 unique, high-end archtop guitars, one of which, the Wilkanowski Airway W-4, was famously owned by Johnny Cash since the 1980s, when it also was featured as the centerfold in the Guitar World magazine.
Linda Manzer is a Canadian master luthier renowned for her archtop, flat top, and harp guitars.
Phillip J. Petillo was an American luthier. In the 1970s he built prototypes for Travis Bean and Gary Kramer for what would become Kramer Guitars.
James L. D'Aquisto was an Italian–American luthier who concentrated on building and repairing archtop guitars. He served as an apprentice to John D'Angelico beginning in 1952 and later developed his own distinctive style.
The Gibson ES series of semi-acoustic guitars are manufactured by the Gibson Guitar Corporation.
The Hagström Jimmy is archtop jazz guitar built by Hagström in partnership with the American guitar luthier Jimmy D'Aquisto (1925–1995).
Collings Guitars is an Austin, Texas based stringed instrument manufacturer. The company was founded in 1973 by Bill Collings who in 2008 was called "one of the most recognized and respected names amongst aficionados of modern acoustic instruments". Their acoustic guitars have been highly regarded for decades. In addition to acoustic guitars they also make electric guitars, archtop guitars, mandolins, and ukuleles.
Gibson Brands, Inc. is an American manufacturer of guitars, other musical instruments, and professional audio equipment from Kalamazoo, Michigan, and now based in Nashville, Tennessee. The company was formerly known as Gibson Guitar Corporation and renamed Gibson Brands, Inc. on June 11, 2013.
Joseph Jesselli is an American guitar maker and luthier currently living and working in East Northport, NY on Long Island. He has been making guitars since about 1978. He has been described as the “Stradivari of Huntington" by The New York Times. He is also the maternal uncle of Anthony Cumia, formerly of the Opie and Anthony radio show, and current host of The Anthony Cumia Show.
Stromberg Guitars was an American company producing guitars, mainly for jazz musicians, between 1906 and 1955. They produced only around 640 guitars, and are noted for their craftsmanship, similar to the high standards of John D'Angelico. Stromberg's guitars are praised for their superb sound quality and for their contribution to the development of the jazz guitar.
Jim Triggs is an American luthier, described as the "P.T. Barnum of guitar makers." He grew up in Kansas, where he taught himself how to build mandolins and violins. He began building guitars in the early 1980s, influenced by such luthiers as John D'Angelico, Elmer Stromberg, and Lloyd Loar, and went to work for Gibson Guitar Corporation in 1986 as one of the master luthiers in Gibson's custom shop. He is known mainly for archtop guitars and mandolins.
Ralph Oliver Patt was an American jazz-guitarist who introduced major-thirds tuning. Patt's tuning simplified the learning of the fretboard and chords by beginners and improvisation by advanced guitarists. He invented major-thirds tuning under the inspiration of first the atonal music of Arnold Schoenberg and second the jazz of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman.
D'Angelico Guitars of America is an American musical instrument manufacturer based in Manhattan, New York. The brand was initially founded by master-luthier John D'Angelico in 1932, in Manhattan's Little Italy. In 1999, Steve Pisani, John Ferolito Jr., and Brenden Cohen purchased the D'Angelico Guitars trademark. Cohen serves as the brand's President and CEO. Original D'Angelico guitars are collector's items and have been used by musicians including Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, Bucky Pizzarelli, Chet Atkins, and Chuck Wayne. And the D'Angelico Mel Bay New Yorker model was featured on the cover of the Mel Bay Publications' guitar method books for decades.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John D'Angelico .|