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1953 D’Angelico New Yorker No Longer Available

April 17, 2013
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Comments This is a 1953 D’Angelico New Yorker, rare and one of a limited number. John D’Angelico was born in New York City – the Lower East Side of Manhattan – in 1905. His parents were immigrants from Naples, Italy. As a boy, he worked in the instrument shop – building mostly traditional-style bowl-back mandolins and flat-top guitars – owned by his uncle Ralphael Ciani and D’Angelico took over around the age of 18, when Ciani died. Around 1932, he opened his own shop and was building archtops based on the popular Gibson design used by many big-band guitarists. In 1952, he took as an apprentice James D’Aquisto, who ultimately bought the business following D’Angelico’s death in 1964 at age 59. Over his career, D’Angelico built close to 1,200 archtop guitars, and they have been highly desired and legendary for their quality. From 1952, production was limited to about 15 per year. Despite their size, these instruments aren’t mostly known for volume. Instead, and perhaps much more valuable, they tend to be very smooth and mellow, with lots of sustain and balance, so they really work well amplified or in a recording studio. Chet Atkins used a D’Angelico Excel, with two Gibson P-90 pickups before he shifted to Gretsch guitars. This guitar was owned by a barber with a shop near D’Angelico. Many famous jazz players playing in New York passed through that barber shop and picked it up to play it! This example is in very good condition and above its historical value, is lots of fun to play!
Serial Number 1911, built during 1953 in New York City.
Pricing $24,500 CAD with original Lifton brown case.
Neck Curly maple neck with bound ebony fingerboard. 25.5 inch scale length. Engraved Mother of pearl inlays on the front – D’Angelico New York logo, New Yorker block deco-style decoration. No adjustable truss rod.
Frets Original frets in good condition.
Body Full sized 18-inch archtop body; carved x-braced spruce top, carved curly maple back, curly maple sides, top and back have multople layer binding, 3-layer binding on F-holes. Newer, 5-layer bound faux tortoise pickguard, adjustable ebony bridge with mother of pearl inserts on the base.
Finish Original nitrocellulose lacquer sunburst finish in good condition; many small dings on the top, buckle wear on the back. Neck has natural play wear.
Hardware/electronics Gold Grover Imperial tuners, gold plated D’Angelico harp tailpiece, Later neck-mounted Kent Armstrong pickup with volume and tone controls plus output jack on the pickguard. Gold pickguard brackets; strap pin mounted on the heel. Earlier in its life, it’s had another pickup installed, possibly with a ‘Johhny Smith’ type neck mount.
Playability/Action Plays very well; these instruments don’t have adjustable truss rods but are very stable.
Case original Lifton brown case.

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