It’s amazing what a badass looking and sounding guitar can bring to the stage. The D’Angelico Guitar brand has been finding a place with many of Country’s six string heroes and clearly fits this bill.
John D’Angelico and D’Angelico Guitars of New York, the finest builder of archtop guitars and an iconic brand in the music space. Since its resurrection in 2011, D’Angelico has attracted a wide following of devoted musicians including Chet Atkins, John Mayer, Nile Rogers, Pete Townshend, Susan Tedeschi and guitar legend and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Eric Clapton to name a few. Most recently, Howard Stern applauded the brand on his Sirius/XM radio show as he strummed along to “Hurt” by Johnny Cash on a brand-new EXL -1 Vintage Sunburst from D’Angelico’s premiere guitar line.
To understand why this name is so iconic, we must take a quick look through the history:
1932- John D’Angelico’s small shop opens in New York City. D’Angelico instruments were strictly handmade in limited quantities. During the late 1930s, when production was at its peak, D’Angelico was able to make approximately 35 instruments per year with the aid of two or three workers
1944- The 1940s were scarred by the earth shaking reverberations of World War II. Music was a fundamental source of emotional stability and guitar players depended on D’Angelico for their instruments. His recognition as the “finest builder of archtop guitars” brought offers from the larger companies But John had his patent reply, “Big money? Big title? For what? I want to build guitars under my own name, for my own customers, the way I do it! For me that’s a good life!”
1952- James D’Aquisto, a skilled musician who studied jazz guitar and played the bass, was offered a job as an apprentice in 1952 at age seventeen. D’Angelico never could have foreseen that D’Aquisto would one day save his business, go on to secure the future of archtop guitars and the D’Angelico legend for generations to come.
1964- In the winter of 1964, John D’Angelico passed away at the age of 59. For the last five years of D’Angelico’s life, D’Aquisto was the only other worker in the shop, and he gradually took over more responsibilities, eventually purchasing the shop from the D’Angelico family.
2011-Renewed artist desire for archtop tone and a major 2011 exhibition featuring John D’Angelico at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (Guitar Heroes: Legendary Craftsmen from Italy to New York) fueled tremendous new interest in the D’Angelico brand. The D’Angelico brand was revitalized to its former glory, and the desire to continue the legacy of making premium guitars provided the backbone for the successful relaunch of the brand.
Today, D’Angelico’s new models are embraced by an increasing number of professional guitarists and serious enthusiasts. “Our team at D’Angelico promises to build instruments that respect and honor John D’Angelico’s legacy of excellence and carry on the tradition of one of the world’s finest guitar brands,” said CEO Brenden Cohen. “The new 2014 models are replicas of John D’Angelico’s legendary aesthetic, attention to detail and the level of excellence established long ago by this master luthier.”
Now that you know the story, here’s some photos of the D’Angelico brand in action with some names you might recognize:
Thomas Rhett with his white D’Angelico EX-DC
Leah Turner‘s guitarist, Ben Jordan playing his D’Angelico EX-SD
Charlie Worsham with his D’Angelico EX-SD playing with Brad Paisley
Chase rice and his new D’Angelico EX-SD
To learn more about D’Angelico and its rich history, please visit www.dangelicoguitars.com