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  1. #1
    Hi All!

    The Jazz Guitar Gods take all of your guitars away and will issue you 1 of 2 guitars.

    The two in question are both in great condition and worth the exact same amount of money Today, tomorrow is to be determined and hopefully weighed into your opinion (you get to sell in 15++ years time should you choose to) - you play acoustically 50% of the time and with a floating pickup the other 50% of the time.

    You do not get to play either first, only know the facts.

    Option 1:
    56' D'Angelico New Yorker Cutaway Sunburst
    9.5/10 condition

    Option 2:
    1984 D'Aquisto New Yorker Natural
    10/10 condition

    So..

    - As far as for strict solo jazz guitar purposes with a floating pickup, assuming they both play great, tonally, which would you take and why?

    - Which do you think would carry more tonal weight for single note lines?


    And finally...

    - Which do you choose overall and why?
    ---------------------------------------------
    My uncle and I have been debating going in together for one of these two.. we have notions them based on our ideas of both builders, their lineages, and their guitars as well as hands on experiences with both builders and would love to hear what you all have to say. I'm opting not to say anything particular about our opinions regarding either instrument so soon as to lessen the odds of bias.

    Thank you kindly and looking forward to reading your thoughts!

    Best,
    Reed
    Last edited by ReedAmbedastam; 04-08-2020 at 04:44 PM.

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  3. #2

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    dangelico, full out embellishments (inlays in board and headstock, multiple bindings, stairstep guard etc), more classic big band sound, very good balance but still made to be played as an acoustic with lots of midrange projection (esp when it is a parrallel braced example), I dont think the value would be the same


    Daquisto, mid 1980s is very modern look, probably zero inlays, wood guard and simple binding etc. More modern neck shape with wider nut , and probably more modern sound too (i.e. less projection more warmth, certainly x braced), value considerably (5-10k) higher than the dangelico


    I already have the Dangelico and not a (1980s) daquisto so Id take that. I sure hope gods dont take guitars away and they have more urgent matters to attend to

  4. #3

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    As much as I like all the gingerbread on the D'Angelicos, I prefer the modern look of a D'Aquisto.

  5. #4

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    Well I have a D'angelico but really I would take another one. For the same reason is that it has the perfect amount of gingerbread and details, I like fingerboard inlays and binding, plus a 56 D'a in good shape is great since during that period binding gas more prevalent.

  6. #5

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    The D'Aquisto will be worth x10 as much as the D'Angelico when it goes on the market. Both will be fine instruments, from the musical perspective they're a horse apiece. Sorry to sound mercenary. I'd be equally delighted with either guitar from the player's perspective, might lean slightly towards the D'Angelico in terms of sound, but from the financial perspective in 15 years you could put down a lot of the down payment on a house selling the D'Aquisto. Also, the D'Aquisto is likely to be more structurally sound (e.g., binding rot, cracks, finish wear, etc.), being 28 years newer.

    So I'd take the D'Aquisto from the hard-headed perspective, even though emotionally I think I'd prefer the D'Angelico.

  7. #6

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    It all depends on which guitar you like. Different cosmetics and different sound.

    Value wise if the D'Angelico has a cutaway, they are not far apart. If no cutaway, the D'Aquisto is probable worth double.

    Either guitar is rare and should remain collectable for the duration of time anyone reading this post today has left on the planet. But I would not buy either guitar as an investment, I would buy them as a piece of fine art that one can enjoy both looking at, and also enjoy as a musical instrument.

  8. #7

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    Put your money on the S&P 500 Index fund today and buy a nice Bill Comins archtop guitar. Your investment will actually grow. And you will sound no worse on a Bill Comins archtop.

    I am an atheist and don't believe in Jazz Guitar Gods. They can't take them away from me/ 'Cos they don't exist.

    Anybody who tells you to buy a D'Angelico or D'Aquisto is trying to sell you one.

    My atheist-there-are-no-jazz-guitar-gods contrarian humble and useless opinion. Don't mind me; I get this way around the full moon and new moon.

    But I would buy a nice 1923 to 1929 Lloyd Loar Gibson L5.

  9. #8

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    Difficult choice! I think the newer one might be more practical for gigs, but I’ve always wanted a go on an old one. Just a go, though.

  10. #9

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    An ignorant tweet from the tundra. Somebody please explain why a D'Aquisto is so much more valuable? To me, it looks like less of everything, compared to a heyday D'Angelico. Also knowing that Jimmy more than flirted with Hagstrom, with a rather mediocre guitar as the result, detracts from his stature in my eyes. Is it that he made even fewer premiums guitars than John D'A? And didn't he admit that none was flawless? Just asking, no finger in this exclusive pie.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gitterbug
    An ignorant tweet from the tundra. Somebody please explain why a D'Aquisto is so much more valuable? To me, it looks like less of everything, compared to a heyday D'Angelico. Also knowing that Jimmy more than flirted with Hagstrom, with a rather mediocre guitar as the result, detracts from his stature in my eyes. Is it that he made even fewer premiums guitars than John D'A? And didn't he admit that none was flawless? Just asking, no finger in this exclusive pie.

  12. #11
    Thanks for all of your replies!!

    Just for clarification, we wouldnt be going in on this as an investment.. there are far better investments outside of the guitar world - just trying to weigh that side in as well for what it may be worth.

    For those debating about price, just please run within the hypetheticals.. but if you must know, the D'Aquisto is a touch more pricy right now (but less than 15% more).

    I also just made an update to the original post and added:

    "As far as for strict solo jazz guitar purposes with a floating pickup, assuming they both play great, tonally, which would you take and why?"

    and

    "Which do you think would carry more tonal weight for single note lines?"
    Last edited by ReedAmbedastam; 04-08-2020 at 04:41 PM.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReedAmbedastam
    Thanks for all of your replies!!

    Just for clarification, we wouldnt be going in on this as an investment.. there are far better investments outside of the guitar world - just trying to weigh that side in as well for what it may be worth.

    For those debating about price, just please run within the hypetheticals.. but if you must know, the D'A is a touch more pricy right now (but less than 15% more).

    I also just made an update to the original post and added:

    "As far as for strict solo jazz guitar purposes with a floating pickup, assuming they both play great, tonally, which would you take and why?"

    and

    "Which do you think would carry more tonal weight for single note lines?"
    I own three vintage D'Angelicos and all three are excellent for solo jazz guitar, both chord melody and single note lines. And that applies both acoustically and amplified with floating D'Armond pickups (also genuine vintage examples).

    That said, I have yet to play a genuine D'Aquisto.

  14. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    I own three vintage D'Angelicos and all three are excellent for solo jazz guitar, both chord melody and single note lines. And that applies both acoustically and amplified with floating D'Armond pickups (also genuine vintage examples).
    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger

    That said, I have yet to play a genuine D'Aquisto.


    Wow.. that is beautiful!!

    I guess i've just wanted to make sure a D'Angelico isn't so often associated with "Chunking away" rhythm playing and little ad-libs here and there but rather truly does excel as a lead instrument in its own rite as well. I would like to use either the Angelico or Aquisto amplified in a post bop combo as well - hoping it would excel there too (no pun intended).
    Last edited by ReedAmbedastam; 04-08-2020 at 11:47 PM.

  15. #14

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    chances are that jimmy D had a hand in building that 56 d'angelico anyway...as did diserio...

    the d'aquisto for the win

    cheers

  16. #15

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    You ever see an old guy driving a Corvette?

    That's because when he was young, and craved a Corvette, he couldn't afford one. "Corvette" became imprinted on his mind as a symbol of success or satisfaction or something.

    When I was a young guy, that was a D'Angelico New Yorker.

    If I had one, the itch would be scratched and I wouldn't crave a D'Aquisto. Not the other way around.

    All that said, sitting around the house in these viral times, I'm playing a Yamaha Pacifica 012 most of the time. My Comins is in the case, now that there are no gigs.

  17. #16

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    I'm going to throw a huge monkey wrench into the equation. I wouldn't pick either one.

    I would pick specifically a D'Angelico New Yorker from 1937 to about 1945 specifically made to be as acoustically responsive as could possibly be made. Why? Not only am I interested in the good old American Songbook from then but in the history of the New York City musical scene and the history of the big band era from WWII. The D'Angelico guitars back then had a certain sound that couldn't be beat since the acoustic music was more popular than the electric sound of the 50s. Qs q bunch of you already know, I've got a 39 Excel that even with the flatwounds sounds great and has that particular tone D'Angelico was famous for. It's taken me a good while to learn how to draw that sound out of the guitar. The recordings I've heard from the 50s especially the cutaways are mostly electric and the tones can be adjusted all over the place. John D'Angelico's favorite style of music was chord melody and maybe the sound of the rhythm guitar. There, you have to work those guitars to really get the best out of them and when you get it right, you know it. Therefore I gotta go and screw this whole topic up with my craziness. I think I've been in the house too long.

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    chances are that jimmy D had a hand in building that 56 d'angelico anyway...as did diserio...

    the d'aquisto for the win

    cheers
    Lol! Very right you are! It is most likely that he did do much of the work for this guitar.. what percent of it exactly, I don't think we can know. But the D'Angelico new yorker is still not to sound very much like the D'Aquisto considering the evolution of Jimmy's builds over the next few decades.

    Why the D'Aquisto for the win. Im more interested in the Why.. especially from a tonal standpoint. Thanks for your responses!

  19. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by hot ford coupe
    I'm going to throw a huge monkey wrench into the equation. I wouldn't pick either one.

    I would pick specifically a D'Angelico New Yorker from 1937 to about 1945 specifically made to be as acoustically responsive as could possibly be made. Why? Not only am I interested in the good old American Songbook from then but in the history of the New York City musical scene and the history of the big band era from WWII. The D'Angelico guitars back then had a certain sound that couldn't be beat since the acoustic music was more popular than the electric sound of the 50s. Qs q bunch of you already know, I've got a 39 Excel that even with the flatwounds sounds great and has that particular tone D'Angelico was famous for. It's taken me a good while to learn how to draw that sound out of the guitar. The recordings I've heard from the 50s especially the cutaways are mostly electric and the tones can be adjusted all over the place. John D'Angelico's favorite style of music was chord melody and maybe the sound of the rhythm guitar. There, you have to work those guitars to really get the best out of them and when you get it right, you know it. Therefore I gotta go and screw this whole topic up with my craziness. I think I've been in the house too long.
    Hey Hotty lol Thanks for your reply! Great to hear from a real D'Angelico owner.. Frankly, Im not As big on the chumpy big band sound and the earlier american songbook as I am the music that came about later in the 50's and bloomed in the mid 60's, so I dont have the same affinity for earlier D'Angelicos (and or Strombergs for that matter) as others may. I bet your guitar is sweet and I enjoyed reading your thoughts though!

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReedAmbedastam
    Lol! Very right you are! It is most likely that he did do much of the work for this guitar.. what percent of it exactly, I don't think we can know. But the D'Angelico new yorker is still not to sound very much like the D'Aquisto considering the evolution of Jimmy's builds over the next few decades.

    Why the D'Aquisto for the win. Im more interested in the Why.. especially from a tonal standpoint. Thanks for your responses!
    Remember around 1956 Jimmy was relatively new to John's shop. DiSerio was doing most of the additional work. So Jimmy probably wasn't that intimately involved in the 1956 D'A in question. If it was a 1960-1964 D'A that would be a different story.

  21. #20

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    fws6 pretty much sums my experiences, also agree w/D'Aquisto fan, Jimmy likely wasn't carving tops and backs in '56 I think he started sweeping floors just 3 yrs earlier, but maybe doing some of the cosmetic work.
    I've owned a number of D'Angelicos and find that most lean on that mid range sound, great for rhythm playing and chord melody. Never owned a D'Aquisto but the ones I've played had a more harp like piano sound, great for chord melody and single line playing. But both builders went through evolution in sound--later DA's, especially the very late 50s and early 60s models weren't quite as 'big' sounding to me but maybe more refined, possibly because Jimmy was doing more of the carving then and this continued into his own guitars in the 60s, and they got even more refined as the yrs went by.

    Of course there's going to be exceptions to the rule and likely many exceptions through the careers of both builders.
    As to the OP, you'd really need to get them in front of you to decide what works best for you personally between those two particular examples.

  22. #21

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    Wow. This is a good one.
    In my lifetime I’ve seen the D’Aquisto you speak of. In Lark Street. It was spectacular.
    But to me, nothing makes me weak in the knees like a D’Angelico New Yorker. The design of that guitar is the pinnacle for me. If I held one in my hands and I could afford it, shows over.
    I owned probably the single greatest replica of the D’Angelico you referenced. The only reason I don’t say, “I’m sad I sold it” is because it lives with one of my best friends on the forum now, and he does it more justice than I could.
    D’Angelico for me.
    Joe D

  23. #22

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    D'Aquisto for me. As in the famed standard "all the way." There's just something about the finishes of D'Aquisto's that moved me. Very modern looking, and yet with memories of 'art deco' in his designs. But oh those bursts were to die for. Who cares what the guitar sounds like. Just look at that thing!


  24. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by ReedAmbedastam
    Hey Hotty lol Thanks for your reply! Great to hear from a real D'Angelico owner.. Frankly, Im not As big on the chumpy big band sound and the earlier american songbook as I am the music that came about later in the 50's and bloomed in the mid 60's, so I dont have the same affinity for earlier D'Angelicos (and or Strombergs for that matter) as others may. I bet your guitar is sweet and I enjoyed reading your thoughts though!
    The very reason that you picked the D'Aquisto is exactly why D'Angelico made the later guitars as he did. Some of them had thicker tops and other parts to help eliminate feedback which would happen with the type of guitar I would choose. Every guitar that John or Jimmy made was built with what the player had in mind and what kind of music he or she would play. The great Chuck Wayne had green pool felt glued to the entire top. I can imagine what that sounded like acoustically. That's why a chord melody player might think his new acquisition is a piece of junk because it wasn't built for the kind of music he played. I had that problem when I tried out a Heritage made D'Angelico II that was in a store for a long time. Acoustically, the thing was dead as a doornail. The sound was pinched and the volume was poor. Although it was very easy to play and it played in tune, it was not worth the money to me. However, I'm sure that the thing would sing like a bird with a pickup and not feed back in the slightest.

    The bottom line is everyone comes to the table with a different sound and requirement. Unfortunately, There is no one guitar that is perfect for every player there is. That's why they're made like they are. I got lucky in that my D'A was made for the older style and that's what I play. I hope at some time you can get your dream guitar. They come along when you least expect it.

  25. #24

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    I have had no personal experience with either of these instruments. In that regard, I haz a sad.

    That said, I regard the D'Angelico New York to be the pinnacle and capstone of Deco design and the D'Aquisto New Yorker to be the seminal instrument in a more modernist direction.

    If, by some miracle, I wound up with either of them, I would probably die of happiness.

  26. #25
    Hi All,

    This should come as no surprise to those of you who had seen my latest post.

    Regardless, simply because I've yet to see such a thread and am interested...

    Of the D'Angelico new yorkers from 1955 onwards (usually cutaways from then on, sometimes/often used with a floating pickup) and D'Aquisto New Yorkers of the 80's (almost always cutaways usually with a floating pickup), which recordings have these guitars actually been played on?

    I thought it would be both fun and exciting if those who feel their information is correct could contribute!

    Two Questions:

    Please post a link or Artist, Album/Song and mention D'Angelico NY Or D'Aquisto NY and which era... if you know
    ?


    For the Few of us with experience with late 50's (and later) D'Angelico New Yorkers and 80's D'Aquisto New Yorkers, would you prefer a De Armond pickup (and which) or a Johnny Smith pickup for the electrified tone
    ?

    Of course the real joke will be how few of us will be able to tell just from the sound.. especially in a band setting with the myriad variables (manner of recording, players hands, tweaked controls when applicable, etc..) and much of the magic being the relationship of the player and the guitar but fun nevertheless!!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by ReedAmbedastam; 04-09-2020 at 04:40 AM.

  27. #26

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    I'm assuming you mean 18" cutaways, I can only think of Kenny Burrell recordings off hand as far as prominent New Yorker players and there a couple videos of early Benson playing one in France iirc,and Grant Green playing his D'Aquisto, these are almost all electric recordings
    there are several prominent guys that used 17" cutaways, be they Excels, New Yorker Specials etc [all the same guitars except for appointments/trim]
    For those guitars listen to some old Johnny Smith, Chuck Wayne, Mundell Lowe, Billy Bauer, John Collins etc on youtube if you don't own the records.
    but those are mostly electric/floating pu recordings, very little in the way of acoustic cutaway D'Angelico or D'Aquisto recordings, Jim Hall did a couple tunes on his 17" D'Aquisto
    there's a video of a guy playing an Excel acoustically @ retrofret in NY.


  28. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    I'm assuming you mean 18" cutaways, I can only think of Kenny Burrell recordings off hand as far as prominent New Yorker players and there a couple videos of early Benson playing one in France iirc,...etc
    Thanks! Just wondering which exact recordings? I had heard from various sources that those players did play D'Angelicos but im just unsure which exact records. No need to take much of your time and research for me but if you know any particular records that a D'A New Yorker with a floater (for instance) was played on, think you could drop the Artist and Album name? thank you kindly!
    Really appreciate your help!

    I think i've just about watched each and every video on a vintage cutaway D'Angelico and D'Aquisto currently on youtube but the one you posted is certainly a great one!

  29. #28

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    Forget about bullshit videos.
    Forget about offishul recordings - plenty of classic and great-sounding ones by our guitar heroes from, but too many other variables.
    It's about what the guitars sound like and feel like when one plays them oneself.
    That's where the rubber hits the road.
    IMO, YMMV and so forth,

  30. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Hammertone
    Forget about bullshit videos.
    Forget about offishul recordings - plenty of classic and great-sounding ones by our guitar heroes from, but too many other variables.
    It's about what the guitars sound like and feel like when one plays them oneself.
    That's where the rubber hits the road.
    IMO, YMMV and so forth,
    Please do us all a favor and perhaps read a given post before commenting on it.. I already acknowledged all of these points. You neither contributed a recording nor made a useful comment. Please by all means comment an Artist, Album or Artist and Song and if it was a D'Aquisto or Angelico New Yorker. Thank you!

  31. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by hot ford coupe
    The very reason that you picked the D'Aquisto is exactly why D'Angelico made the later guitars as he did. Some of them had thicker tops and other parts to help eliminate feedback which would happen with the type of guitar I would choose. Every guitar that John or Jimmy made was built with what the player had in mind etc..
    Really enjoyed your comments and would love to send you a DM regarding your knowledge/insights! I do agree with many things you mentioned - I just didnt know to what extent D'Angelico New Yorkers varied based on the player. Were most of them in the Later Half of the 50's X braced or Parallel braced? The consensus seems to be that parallel projects outwardly more and X bracing is more delicate and has more sustain + complex overtones (supposedly.. of course there are many many other factors) but what factors on the general NY design would they change for the players apart from Neck thickness and potentially bracing? Top thickness? Not sure. Thanks! Excuse the ignorance.. I frankly havent studied any bit of lutherie nor have I read much about the manner in which these two fine builders would modify their general flagship design.

  32. #31

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    I did read your posts. I don't have to post what you want me to post. My comment was self-evidently not useful. And I'm not wearing any pants.

  33. #32
    As you wish. ill just Ignore the comments I find irrelevant and or redundant next time. Thanks.

  34. #33

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    Have you checked out the various clips that Norm Harris has on youtube : fleet-fingered virtuosos on high-$$ archtops, filmed with cheap lenses and still cheaper microphones. I doubt that ANY such clip is an earnest representation of the true tonal qualities of ANY such guitar. I've played one of Mr. Burrell's D'Angelico's when he had it for sale at Mandolin Bros many years ago and
    IIRC it was a late 50's New Yorker in sunburst (US $ 45.000). Unplugged it did not really blow me away with it's flatwound strings and low action but through an amp the combo guitar/DeArmond 1100 pickup was IT as far as copping that classic Bop/Cool/50's / 60's jazz guitar tone. Same can be said about my '63 Super-400C with the same pickup : meh unplugged, a bomb plugged in. Unfortunately it was unusable on stage at any normal playing volume so it had to go....

    Anyone who can differentiate
    BY EAR ALONE between a decent Gibson (or any other in that category) archtop/DeArmond combo and either a D'Angelico or early D'Aquisto/DeArmond with a comparable setup has my utmost respect ....

    Re your search for D'A recodings I'd also look into Hank Garland, Chet Atkins, Mark Elf, Gene Bertoncini, John Pisano, ...
    Trouble is : they used ELECTRIFIED versions - I've never heard any of them playing their archtops un-amplified. I also don't blame them since to my ears nothing beats the pure acoustic tone of a good nylonstring guitar. An electrified archtop comes in a close second
    Of course, when you plan on laying down 4 to the bar in a swing band then you need the big box guitars with heavy strings, high action and thick picks (and an iron fist left hand). It's not a particularly "beautiful" sound but a D'Angelico New Yorker would be really good at it ....
    Good luck in hunting your holy grail guitar !

  35. #34

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    My brother recorded a cd a few years ago, playing two guitars - a D’Angelico and a D’Aquisto. The D’Angelico is a mid-1950’s 17” cutaway Excel with a De-Armond Rhythm Chief. It was used on all of the electric guitar tracks. The D’Aquisto is a 17” fully acoustic cutaway Excel from around 1990 (originally commissioned by by fellow forum member QAMan). It was used on the acoustic tracks. I’m not promoting his recording, but it does include samples of what you are asking about. You can listen to it here:
    Please Play Again by Glenn Murch on Spotify
    Keith

  36. #35

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    From what I've learned, read, heard and experienced over the past 40 years (being interested in/playing archtop guitars),
    in particular re these two builders, I would say that they treated each guitar as a singular "event", striving for what they thought of the best tone and response, choosing the wood and the relative proportions/measurements thereof accordingly.
    When George Benson had Jimmy D'A make him a guitar he in all likelihood did not ask him to make it the loudest possible
    guitar but one that played the easiest, with a perfectly balanced sound and a noble and elegant look.....

    From Irving Sloane's book (found that in '76 ...) :

  37. #36

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    Oh my God what treasure that album is.
    The amplified D’Angelico nails the sound I lust for. QA’s Guitar deserved to be immortalized in a great record like this, because it wasn’t just a master building a guitar for a customer. He was building it for a friend.
    Keith, please tell your brother he has a fan in me on the forum. Outstanding stuff.
    To the OP, these are some great threads. I wish I was in your shoes. Best of luck to you. You really can’t miss the Mark with either guitar.
    Joe D

  38. #37

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    Most, if not all, of the Johnny Smith recordings on Roost Records recorded on one of two or three D'Angelicos. After 1960 there was the Gibson Johnny Smith, based in large part on his 1955 D'Angelico (in my opinion the single finest jazz guitar ever made). He still used it on occasion later in his career:



    and the concert from which that came:



    I don't know any specific D'Aquisto carved top recordings, but Keith's brother's recording- holy smokes. There are recordings by Jim Hall, Joe Pass and Gene Bertoncini on D'Aquisto "electric" archtops with laminate bodies.

  39. #38

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    I have an elementary question. Are vintage D'Aquisto and D'Angelico guitars basically "boutique" versions of vintage (more acoustic) Gibson archtops?

  40. #39

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cunamara
    Most, if not all, of the Johnny Smith recordings on Roost Records recorded on one of two or three D'Angelicos. After 1960 there was the Gibson Johnny Smith, based in large part on his 1955 D'Angelico (in my opinion the single finest jazz guitar ever made). He still used it on occasion later in his career:



    and the concert from which that came:



    I don't know any specific D'Aquisto carved top recordings, but Keith's brother's recording- holy smokes. There are recordings by Jim Hall, Joe Pass and Gene Bertoncini on D'Aquisto "electric" archtops with laminate bodies.
    I have played JOhnny's D'angelico at his shop in 1979. It was amazing not a huge loud guitar but balanced voice with even sound up and down. Oh to have had that day videoed.

  41. #40

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    If you've checked out most of the videos on YouTube you've gotten the majority of the available recordings.
    But so very hard to know from recordings, really you need to play one in person and decide, good luck.

  42. #41

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    You really must play a D'angelico for yourself in the appropriate setting to really get the picture. However no matter what is said it is very hard to get past any personal bias.. When you pick a D'a and play it for awhile and determine it is a nice guitar then all the bells ring and the head gets too much confusion. After this experience you may very well pick up an ordinary GIbson L7 acoustic and sit with it awhile. It may very well sound as good possible better or in some fashion on par with the D'a in terms of sound and playability. But then your head and eyes get in the way and you don't see the Art Deco, the history, the players, and the mystic of a real D'angelico. It then becomes a very good Gibson L7 that is a great guitar but not a D'angelico.

    This my friends becomes the problem or should I say the whole issue of one guitar verses another. Magic happens and we just don't understand it completely or fail to see it. The reality is the what inspires a player and causes them to pick up a guitar to make sound. Just a point in fact. I bought a 2005 Super 400CES, the first CES I have ever owned 6 months ago because I wanted one and it was perfect. It was not my usual acoustic archtop with a floater so I play it plugged in the amp. The neck is great the workmanship is as good as I have seen in a factory guitar or handmade. This guitar inspired me to play more and spend time especially the first 3 months, I went at the guitar daily for good spell. Well it is not a Dangelico but equally it inspired me to play like my D'a......................Plugged in this guitar just smokes!

    Find the guitar that does this for you and buy it............they can't bottle it in pills and it has zero to do with investing as guitars are terrible investments.

  43. #42

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    Joe and Keith,
    Nice to hear some recordings of my 91 D’Aquisto - it’s a fine guitar and Jim D’Aquisto was a close friend. Thank goodness my supportive wife took the time to video several of my visits during the build.

    It was only a matter of time before I acquired another D’Aquisto - and I’m thoroughly enjoying my current 77’ New Yorker Special- which is in original near mint condition. This was my step Dads guitar - and my Mom captured video of this build as well - with Jimmy himself playing the guitar. It was sold to Gary Larsen, then a collector in Austin where I flew down to get it back.

    To the Op- I have some acoustic iPhone recordings of my 77’ if your interested. You cannot go wrong with either guitar , but please be aware that D’Aquistos from the 80’s were known to develop deteriorating binding , so look carefully for this condition.
    As the binding gases out it stains the guitar - and a total rebind is 4-6k.

    Good luck on your decision

  44. #43

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    One final thought from me, I'm guessing you don't have a lot of examples to play in person so when the smoke clears I'd suggest a trip to Rudy's in NY.
    Will probably answer some of your questions.

  45. #44

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman
    ...., but please be aware that D’Aquistos from the 80’s were known to develop deteriorating binding , so look carefully for this condition.
    As the binding gases out it stains the guitar - and a total rebind is 4-6k.
    I witnessed a total overhaul on one D'Quisto that my luthier performed in his small shop. Took forever, and the customer was constantly riding him to make quick work of it. He obviously couldn't, and bore the consequences heroically. He did a fantastic job. I felt like I was in a sacred chapel when I visited him and he was officiating some rite.

    Can't imagine having your personal experience with the master Steve!

  46. #45

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    Quote Originally Posted by skykomishone
    I witnessed a total overhaul on one D'Quisto that my luthier performed in his small shop. Took forever, and the customer was constantly riding him to make quick work of it. He obviously couldn't, and bore the consequences heroically. He did a fantastic job. I felt like I was in a sacred chapel when I visited him and he was officiating some rite.

    Can't imagine having your personal experience with the master Steve!
    Steve,
    It was a very special time of my life. Im re -living it with Bryant Trenier - who has developed the skill and ear to reproduce the D'Aquisto sound. In fact, when my wife heard the non cut Excel available at Bryants shop yesterday she said " buy it". She is my guiding light with these guitars....and has the best sense of sound. She knows exactly what guitar im playing from several rooms away.

    I apologize to the Op for getting away from purely recording posts- but discussing the history is contagious.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using Tapatalk

  47. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by wintermoon
    One final thought from me, I'm guessing you don't have a lot of examples to play in person so when the smoke clears I'd suggest a trip to Rudy's in NY.
    Will probably answer some of your questions.
    >> Lawrence Wexer in NYC

  48. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    I have an elementary question. Are vintage D'Aquisto and D'Angelico guitars basically "boutique" versions of vintage (more acoustic) Gibson archtops?
    Possibly and it really was the personal experience the player could have with getting a guitar. The early D'angelicos were also made for stores and much like production of a small guitar manufacturing operation. Later as knowledge and crafts go John went to probably all individual orders after WWII. The thing is that in both John and Jimmy's case the prices they charged were competitive with Gibson. Later as Jimmy got much more praise and exposure his prices did go up considerably. But in the late 60s and much of the 70's Jimmy was making guitars for well known studio guitarist. They had the money and work, plus they could get exactly what they wanted and no one else was making those guitars at least to the extent like today.

    From 1962-1980 these are the archtop makers that were building guitars at least to some level not just one off. I am sure i am might be leaving off a couple but certainly no other makers were build archtops exclusive in numbers. Benedetto started in 1968 and Barker started in 1962 or close. Bill Barker corresponded with John D'angelico mostly about getting suppliers and where to get wood. He learned the trade from Carl Albanus who allowed him to sort of apprentice as such. Bill Barker was by trade a cabinet maker and taught industrial technology as a public school teacher. He already had most of the woodworking skills needed he just learn how to apply them to making archtop guitar. Carl made his guitars in Chicago. Barker made his in Toledo Ohio and mostly around Peoria Illinois area.

    John Dangelico
    Jimmy D'aquisto
    Bill Barker, built about 110-120
    Carl Albanus Johnson ( used middle name for guitars) guessing at around 60-70 guitars
    Carl Barney
    Bob Benedetto


    So to answer the question are they boutique guitars. Not by the exact definition or thought process we use today but similar. I added these makers to the thread because it points out that at one time archtops were really only made by a handful of individuals that you could almost count on one hand.

    Feel free to add any names I might have missed and I am leaving Europe out of the picture.

  49. #48

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    Possibly and it really was the personal experience the player could have with getting a guitar. The early D'angelicos were also made for stores and much like production of a small guitar manufacturing operation. Later as knowledge and crafts go John went to probably all individual orders after WWII. The thing is that in both John and Jimmy's case the prices they charged were competitive with Gibson. Later as Jimmy got much more praise and exposure his prices did go up considerably. But in the late 60s and much of the 70's Jimmy was making guitars for well known studio guitarist. They had the money and work, plus they could get exactly what they wanted and no one else was making those guitars at least to the extent like today.

    From 1962-1980 these are the archtop makers that were building guitars at least to some level not just one off. I am sure i am might be leaving off a couple but certainly no other makers were build archtops exclusive in numbers. Benedetto started in 1968 and Barker started in 1962 or close. Bill Barker corresponded with John D'angelico mostly about getting suppliers and where to get wood. He learned the trade from Carl Albanus who allowed him to sort of apprentice as such. Bill Barker was by trade a cabinet maker and taught industrial technology as a public school teacher. He already had most of the woodworking skills needed he just learn how to apply them to making archtop guitar. Carl made his guitars in Chicago. Barker made his in Toledo Ohio and mostly around Peoria Illinois area.

    John Dangelico
    Jimmy D'aquisto
    Bill Barker, built about 110-120
    Carl Albanus Johnson ( used middle name for guitars) guessing at around 60-70 guitars
    Carl Barney
    Bob Benedetto


    So to answer the question are they boutique guitars. Not by the exact definition or thought process we use today but similar. I added these makers to the thread because it points out that at one time archtops were really only made by a handful of individuals that you could almost count on one hand.

    Feel free to add any names I might have missed and I am leaving Europe out of the picture.
    Elmer Stromberg

  50. #49

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    But are they generally Gibson clones with custom "improvements"? Like boutique 20 watt handwired Princeton's with effects loops and mid controls. Or are they alternative designs to vintage Gibsons?

  51. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tal_175
    But are they generally Gibson clones with custom "improvements"? Like boutique 20 watt Princeton's with effects loops and mid controls. Or are they alternative designs to vintage Gibsons?
    I think of all three of my vintage D'Angelicos as superb examples of a non-cut acoustic L-5.