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  1. #1

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    Thought you guys would enjoy these old pics of Jimmy and me when he was making my New Yorker.
    Attached Images Attached Images Me and Jimmy D'Aquisto-2015_042020130005-jpg Me and Jimmy D'Aquisto-2015_042020130007-jpg Me and Jimmy D'Aquisto-2015_042020130008-jpg Me and Jimmy D'Aquisto-2015_042020130011-jpg 

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Very nice

    do you still have the guitar ?

    two DAq electric solidbodies in his rack too
    "Oh, those jazz guys are just making that stuff up!" - Homer

  4. #3
    Yes. Mine is the violin burst in the middle and the back shot before the finish went on. Can't see the great flame. Pics are really old like me.

  5. #4

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    That is so cool, what a keepsake.

  6. #5

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    That is ultra cool.
    I'd love to see a current picture of the New Yorker.
    Jimmy looks like Juan Epstein from Welcome Back Kotter in that picture. Jimmy left us too soon, just like his mentor.

    Its great to have a picture of yourself with one of the builders that rests in the pantheon of the greats.

    Thanks for sharing. That's a real historical piece right there.

    Joe D

  7. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco View Post
    I'd love to see a current picture of the New Yorker.
    plus one
    "Oh, those jazz guys are just making that stuff up!" - Homer

  8. #7

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    Thank you. Not only a beautiful guitar, but a beautiful memory.

  9. #8
    He was such a kind and great man. He had epilepsy really bad. He had seizures all the time and they would sometimes lay him out for weeks. He was always behind on his orders because of it and that always had him stressed out. His builds were always based on a handshake and a scribble in his notepad. His epilepsy caused him much financial woes because he couldn't work. He finally struck up that good partnership with Fender and started making some decent scratch. He died in a hotel room from a massive seizure in Corona, Ca. doing a promo for his Fender D'Aquisto line. I'm a firm believer in God and heaven and am sure he will have a awesome archtop waiting for me when I get to the other side. Jimmy told me a lot of great stories about John D. From what I gathered a gruff old guy with a heart of gold too. They both passed at the same age of 59.

  10. #9

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    Thanks for great pics and very interesting infos. anway I used Fender D'Aquisto about 16 years.Great instrument. All The Best Kris

  11. #10

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    Damn you look like a young John Martyn!

    Anyway I'm super jealous of your experience.

    Thanks for sharing that real piece of Archtop history.
    Last edited by ArchtopHeaven; 04-23-2015 at 04:42 PM.

  12. #11

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    Great story. Great pictures with Jimmy D'Aquisto. He looked like such an ordinary bloke too (and I do that mean that in the nicest most respectful way) who just went about doing his own thing before the collectors tried to make a mint out of his name. All artists suffer a fate like that (except for that odious Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel and Terry Richardson); they never made any good scratch out of their own name; the collectors did.

  13. #12

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    Just curious, do you remember where the shop was at that time? And if you're ok sharing, do you remember roughly how much the guitar cost at that time?
    Last edited by Woody Sound; 04-22-2015 at 12:34 PM.

  14. #13
    Long Island, New York. Ordered it in 1980 and got it in 1983. Paid $5K for it. It was good it took 3 years to make as it took me that long to pay for it. The price was set with a handshake in 1980. A lot of money back then. Had a really sweet girlfriend back then that helped me pay for it. She was this gorgeous Italian girl and her father was big in the Mafia. I got tied up in this scam with them. They both went to jail for 7 years and I got sued by the IRS for tax fraud. I had to flee back to my family in Calif. broke as a church mouse but had my New Yorker.

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Long Island, New York. Ordered it in 1980 and got it in 1983. Paid $5K for it. It was good it took 3 years to make as it took me that long to pay for it. The price was set with a handshake in 1980. A lot of money back then. Had a really sweet girlfriend back then that helped me pay for it. She was this gorgeous Italian girl and her father was big in the Mafia. I got tied up in this scam with them. They both went to jail for 7 years and I got sued by the IRS for tax fraud. I had to flee back to my family in Calif. broke as a church mouse but had my New Yorker.

    Damn I was alive :-(

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jabberwocky View Post
    Great story. Great pictures with Jimmy D'Aquisto. He looked like such an ordinary bloke too (and I do that mean that in the nicest most respectful way) who just went about doing his own thing before the collectors tried to make a mint out of his name. All artists suffer a fate like that (except for that odious Damien Hirst, Julian Schnabel and Terry Richardson); they never made any good scratch out of their own name; the collectors did.
    Right on. Your post got me thinking of the contrast with other prominent luthiers, and the one that came to mind was John Monteleone. While Mr. Monteleone looks like a college professor, Mr. D'Aquisto looks like he stepped out of West Side Story.

    What an honor it would be to own an instrument crafted by either gentleman.





  17. #16

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    Great photos and info I didn't know about J DAq. Sounds like you've had an interesting life, Vinnyv1K!
    Thankyou.

  18. #17

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    can you present the sounds of your guitars...? possible? Jazzingly Kris
    Last edited by kris; 04-23-2015 at 07:21 AM.

  19. #18

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    Could you possibly share some of the stories he told you about John? Congrats on the guitar.

  20. #19
    One thing people probably don't know is that Jimmy was a darn good bass player. One quick story about John D. He loved to fish. If he wasn't building guitars he was fishing. John D. never married. When John finished a guitar and the customer came to pick it up he would pull out a bottle of whiskey from his desk and 2 shot glasses and have a toast over the guitar with the customer.

  21. #20
    Jimmy told me that John D. was very tempermental. Upon meeting you he either really liked or disliked you and their was no changing that 1st impression. If he really disliked you he would refuse to build you a guitar for any price. If he really,really, liked you often times he gave you your D'Angelico for free or if you were a starving musician you got your axe for free too. Jimmy said he was kind of a grumpy guy but would give you the shirt off his back. John D's favorite guitarist was Johnny Smith. They were also great fishing buddies. Another side note, fishing was way more important to Johnny Smith than playing guitar ever was. Playing guitar was a side hobby to him.

  22. #21

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    somewhere out there is a home movie of John and Jimmy on a fishing boat.
    can't remember where I saw it but ....

  23. #22
    Jimmy loved John like a father and vise versa. Great pic wintermoon ! Thanks for sharing. Joe D. will love that picture. He is a huge JS fan.

  24. #23

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    I love the red Checkerboard table cloth. Reminds me of Grimaldi's. I could hear Johnny saying, "so where are you gentlemen taking me for eyetalian food this evening?" Great picture. They should have carried that table out of the restaurant and never let anyone sit at it ever again.
    I was at a famous restaurant in Atlantic City called Portabello's once and the waiter came over and said, "do you know who sat in your chair last night? Carlos Santana.." I almost died. Then I looked 2 tables over from where we sitting and saw Ann Marie from the Dick Van Dyke show. Cool.

    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Jimmy loved John like a father and vise versa. Great pic wintermoon ! Thanks for sharing. Joe D. will love that picture. He is a huge JS fan.

  25. #24

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    To All, I was very good friends with Jimmy and he built me an Excel in 1991. It was sad watching him suffer with the epileptic seizures but after 18 months I got it. I video taped the entire build - it was a great experience that I will never forget . Here is a pic with Jimmy hold my excel -

  26. #25
    Thanks for sharing Steve.

  27. #26

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    I went out to Greenport to pick up two guitars from Jimmy. A Blonde 18" New Yorker and a 17" SB Excel. This was on the mid 1980's. The NY was $5500 and the Excel $4500. A ton of money at the time, and even now.
    I spent a lot of time with Jimmy. Painfully shy and reserved. One thing I remember him saying is his favorite tune was Poor Butterfly as played by Jim Hall. A coule of unusual things: Jimmy used Lemon Pledge to polish up his guitars and said that was OK to do! To adjust the height of the bridge for action, he would tale a screwdriver and sort of wedge it between the top and bottom pieces, sort of pry it up, and the adjust the height wheels. He would also take a wire cutter and snip full tensioned strings to remove them. Yikes! I too have a few photos I'll share in a bit.

    Jonathan

  28. #27

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    Wow! What great stories.
    I love this place!
    Great topic as well..
    JD

  29. #28

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    Great stories guys... Keep em coming

    We re still waiting for Vinny's NY picture as it is today.....
    "Oh, those jazz guys are just making that stuff up!" - Homer

  30. #29

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Levin View Post
    I went out to Greenport to pick up two guitars from Jimmy. A Blonde 18" New Yorker and a 17" SB Excel. This was on the mid 1980's. The NY was $5500 and the Excel $4500. A ton of money at the time, and even now.
    I spent a lot of time with Jimmy. Painfully shy and reserved. One thing I remember him saying is his favorite tune was Poor Butterfly as played by Jim Hall. A coule of unusual things: Jimmy used Lemon Pledge to polish up his guitars and said that was OK to do! To adjust the height of the bridge for action, he would tale a screwdriver and sort of wedge it between the top and bottom pieces, sort of pry it up, and the adjust the height wheels. He would also take a wire cutter and snip full tensioned strings to remove them. Yikes! I too have a few photos I'll share in a bit.

    Jonathan
    how much is Blonde 18" New Yorker today?

  31. #30

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    Let's just say that when I sold my Excel due to buying a house, I got $15000.00. I heard that someone at Mandolin Bros. paid $90000.00. Holy crap!!!!

    Anyway a few photos for you:
    Me and Jimmy D'Aquisto-daquisto1986-02-jpgMe and Jimmy D'Aquisto-daquisto1986-03-jpgMe and Jimmy D'Aquisto-daquisto1986-04-jpgMe and Jimmy D'Aquisto-daquisto1986-05-jpgMe and Jimmy D'Aquisto-daquisto1986-09-jpg

  32. #31
    WOW !!! my kids will be rich when I pack it in. Jimmy was funny he had no problem putting pickups on his laminates or solid bodies but I had to beg him for weeks to put a JS pickup on my NY. He would keep telling me you will have to get someone else to do that if that's what you really want to do. He was a fanatic about heavy gauge strings on his guitars. No lighter than 13-56. He'd always say don't put any hairs on my guitar. He was a true master at his craft. I got to see Grant Green's NY after Jimmy repaired a broken headstock on it. You could not see the repair at all. That was the way I got him to put a pickup on mine. I told him, Hey you put one on Grant Green's guitar. He then finally caved in. BTW George Benson owned Grant's NY for many years. I heard he recently sold it. You can see George playing it on Youtube with Lee Ritenour doing a Wes tribute.

  33. #32

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    Vinny, this is one of the best topics ever. Legendary stories man.
    the best. Don't talk about kicking the bucket. You ain't going no where.
    Joe D

  34. #33

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    Yeh this is real Guitar history right here

  35. #34

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    Man! What a wonderful thread. To quote Bob Hope "Thanks for the memories". We are lucky to have folks like you guys to share your stories. I will stay with this thread as far the road goes.

  36. #35
    Gentlemen you do real realize for safety reasons I will not post pictures on the world wide Internet of my NY. I will say it is not at my house and keeped at a close friends dwelling in the city and you would need to be Spider-Man to get to it. My friend is a wonderful piano player that has a beautiful Baldwin Grand. Perfect match for the D. We play together twice a month. If you are ever in my neck of the woods you can play it for as long as you like in San Fran. More Jimmy stories when I have time......V

  37. #36

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    Is it in typical Vinnymint condition?

  38. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Jimmy told me that John D. was very tempermental. Upon meeting you he either really liked or disliked you and their was no changing that 1st impression. If he really disliked you he would refuse to build you a guitar for any price. If he really,really, liked you often times he gave you your D'Angelico for free or if you were a starving musician you got your axe for free too. Jimmy said he was kind of a grumpy guy but would give you the shirt off his back. John D's favorite guitarist was Johnny Smith. They were also great fishing buddies. Another side note, fishing was way more important to Johnny Smith than playing guitar ever was. Playing guitar was a side hobby to him.
    My father grew up in Little Italy on Elizabeth St., and used to hang out at D'Angelico's shop all the time.
    There was some little guy sweeping up the shop who they called "the kid".
    Years later, my father stopped at D'Aquisto's shop in LI, and he found out that D'Aquisto was "the kid"!

    Johnny Smith was no angel when it came to D'Angelicos. He borrowed John Collins' D'Angelico, and refused to give it back to him, because he liked it so much. Then he sent a D'Angelico NY and the plans to Gibson for his "Johnny Smith" Model guitar.
    When Jimmy found out about it, he told John D., who was in the hospital. Jimmy wanted John D. to sue JS, but John said to him, "Forget him, he's just a whore."

    Joe Pass pulled the same crap with Jimmy D., when he sent his D'Aquisto with the plans to Ibanez, for his Joe Pass Model guitar.
    Jimmy sued Ibanez, and they were forced to take the JP model off the market.
    Jimmy was furious at Pass for pulling that crap with him, and didn't speak to Joe for many years.
    Even when Joe had a gig in NYC, and had to call Jimmy because he needed a bass player, Jimmy did the gig, and unplugged his bass without saying a word to Joe for the entire gig.
    Years later, Jimmy forgave JP, and they became friends again.

  39. #38

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    I didn't just read any of that.

  40. #39

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    Very entertaining thread.

    There's some info and pics of the Grant Green D'Aquisto here,

    Grant Green''s D''Aquisto New Yorker

    Funny thing about Johnny Smith. From listening to his music, and reading about his stint in the army, and being a pilot, I developed a preconception of some ultra-disciplined, studious, aloof character.

    I was surprised when I read in an interview with him in Just Jazz Guitar magazine about him "doing the rounds" in the NY clubs, and then being asked to play something (was it at a Hank Garland gig ?) somewhat the worse for wear, and saying he completely screwed up the piece. There's a similar story about the night before a recording session of Schoenberg's music.

    I have to say though, he seems like the sort of guy that would be fun to have hung out with.

  41. #40
    Just 2 little checks on the back of the headstock between the E & B tuners Joe and a couple little lacquer rough spots on the body binding.
    Last edited by vinnyv1k; 08-17-2018 at 07:06 PM.

  42. #41
    Heard that about JP but not JS.

  43. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Heard that about JP but not JS.
    JS always said that John D. just gave him the plans and permission to copy the D'Angelico he sent them, without asking for a cent, because John D. said he could only build so many guitars on his own...

    If you believe that, I've got a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you...
    JS claimed that he designed the JS Model guitar. I'm sure he gave them suggestions, but designing the guitar?

    I read an interview in JJG where Collins tells the story about JS borrowing his guitar, because JS' guitar was destroyed in a fire. Then he refused to give Collins' guitar back to him.
    JS told him to go to D'Angelico and get another guitar made for him, but he didn't say that JS paid for it.

  44. #43
    Neither John or Jimmy every made any serious money. At the time of John's death he was living in a small dumpy apartment. Jimmy adored Grant Green. He told me Grant would shoot anything he could get into his arm though. Grant died at 43. Anytime I would ask Jimmy things about Grant after he died he would start crying so I stopped. The story Jimmy told me about the day Grant picked up his NY was he pulled up in his big green Caddy wearing a green suit with his woman. He told his woman to get in the back seat the guitar rides up front with me. Jimmy laughed his ass off telling the story. Grant pulling away with his pimp hat on guitar at his side and one very pissed off girlfriend in the back seat. Thing with Jimmy, if you bought a guitar from him you were not a customer you became his friend. I am sure that Joe Pass deeply hurt him. Jimmy wore his emotions on his sleeve. He never said one thing about Joe Pass to me. Now I know why.

  45. #44
    John's health really started to fail in 1960. Every D'Angelico built from 1960-64 was almost entirely built by Jimmy.

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k View Post
    Neither John or Jimmy every made any serious money. At the time of John's death he was living in a small dumpy apartment. Jimmy adored Grant Green. He told me Grant would shoot anything he could get into his arm though. Grant died at 43. Anytime I would ask Jimmy things about Grant after he died he would start crying so I stopped. The story Jimmy told me about the day Grant picked up his NY was he pulled up in his big green Caddy wearing a green suit with his woman. He told his woman to get in the back seat the guitar rides up front with me. Jimmy laughed his ass off telling the story. Grant pulling away with his pimp hat on guitar at his side and one very pissed off girlfriend in the back seat. Thing with Jimmy, if you bought a guitar from him you were not a customer you became his friend. I am sure that Joe Pass deeply hurt him. Jimmy wore his emotions on his sleeve. He never said one thing about Joe Pass to me. Now I know why.
    Did you ever notice that Jimmy had nothing to do with Johnny Smith?
    I'm sure there was a good reason for that...
    John used to charge very little for his guitars. My father bought his 1935 "Snakehead" Model D'Angelico (modeled after the old L-5s) for only $400-$500 from his best friend, Duke (real name, Hugo Cimelli), who was also a close friend of John's, and a jewelry designer, in addition to being a pro guitarist under the name Duke Martin.
    Duke was the guy that was responsible for the step design for the NY headpiece that was taken from the Empire State Building, and also made the templates John used for the split block fingerboard inlays.

    A friend of mine bought one of the last guitars John made for under $1,000.

  47. #46

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    Hmmm... the stories as I have heard them (some in interviews with some of the protagonists, some 2nd/3rd/4th hand):

    According to interviews with Johnny Smith, his first D'Angelico was lost when his rented house on Long Island burned down with the guitar in it. He ordered another from DAngelico and borrowed John Collins's to use on gigs in the meantime. He liked John's so well that he told Collins he wanted to keep it and paid for D'Angelico to make a new guitar for Collins. Did Johnny Smith lie about that? I don't know.

    Why wouldn't someone like Johnny Smith be able to design a guitar, at least in terms of the specific features he wanted (scale length, body width and depth, the way the neck joins to body to increase sustain, etc.)? Did Johnny Smith lie? I don't know. I've seen nothing about JS ever getting guitar plans from D'Angelico to be able to send them to Guild or Gibson; whether he sent his D'Angelico to be examined is something I've don't think I've ever heard one way or the other until this thread.

    Johnny Smith said in at least one interview that he talked about the Guild (later Gibson) endorsement with D'Angelico in advance and got approval to go ahead and do it. Did Johnny Smith lie about that, too? I don't know.

    sgcim, lying is what you are accusing Johnny Smith of doing. You may be right or not, I don't know, but it is a rather serious allegation and casts a shadow on one of the more admired jazz guitarists of the 20th century.

    Maurice Summerfield is reported to have laid out the design for the Ibanez JP20. Either Summerfield, Pass or Ibanez erred in adding 2 extra frets which pushed the pickup back towards the bridge and resulted in the much criticized tone problems of that guitar. Pass was publicly somewhat surprised when he noticed his guitar went up to D on the high E string on an instructional video. If Pass had actually provided a blueprint of his guitar to Ibanez, you'd think they'd have gotten that right; if D'Aquisto had provided a blueprint of the guitar to Pass I'd be astonished. Ibanez did copy the aesthetics of the D'Aquisto to a great degree, that's obvious at a glance, but it's not actually clear that they copied the design. One suspects it would have sounded better if they had.

    BTW, Jim Hall's, Joe Pass's and Gene Bertoncini's D'Aquistos are reportedly laminate guitars for which D'Aquisto used pre-made bodies and put his necks, etc., on them according to the available information. Both D'Angelico and D'Aquisto did this for guitars with a pickup cut into the top (according to "Acquired of the Angels").

    In "Acquired of the Angels" D'Aquisto is quoted as saying that D'Angelico felt he had to charge the same as Gibson for guitars or risk losing business and that an argument over this resulted in his main worker, DeSerio, quitting. This also led to D'Aquisto becoming the primary apprentice and developing into pioneering the luthier he became. I think D'Aquisto's last archtops were the epitome of the archtop form of the instrument- even above D'Angelico's work- and have not yet been surpassed even by Benedetto, Monteleone, etc. The closest things to a genuinely new development in archtop guitars is the Ribbecke Halfling and Ken Parker's recent archtops.

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara View Post
    Maurice Summerfield is reported to have laid out the design for the Ibanez JP20. Either Summerfield, Pass or Ibanez erred in adding 2 extra frets which pushed the pickup back towards the bridge and resulted in the much criticized tone problems of that guitar. Pass was publicly somewhat surprised when he noticed his guitar went up to D on the high E string on an instructional video. If Pass had actually provided a blueprint of his guitar to Ibanez, you'd think they'd have gotten that right; if D'Aquisto had provided a blueprint of the guitar to Pass I'd be astonished. Ibanez did copy the aesthetics of the D'Aquisto to a great degree, that's obvious at a glance, but it's not actually clear that they copied the design. One suspects it would have sounded better if they had.
    they could have put the pickup right up by the fretboard and still have it in the usual spot.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by sgcim View Post
    ...Hugo Cimelli...made the templates John used for the split block fingerboard inlays.
    A friend of mine bought one of the last guitars John made for under $1,000.
    A friend of mine bought the templates John used for the split block fingerboard inlays for under $1,000.
    "Somebody get me out of this chair." - BOB WILLS
    Hammertone is a registered Hofnerologist.

  50. #49

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    What incredible stories!

    Thanks so much for sharing them.

  51. #50
    JS is a hero of mine. I never heard anything bad about him. In my heart I will always believe he was a stand up guy and didn't ruin his friendship with John D. I asked Jimmy once who his favorite guitarist was. He just smiled and said anyone that plays a D'Angelico or a D'Aquisto :-)