D'Angelico New Yorker Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1946)

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Item # 11555
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D'Angelico New Yorker Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1946), made in New York City, serial # 1715, natural lacquer finish, maple back and sides, spruce top; maple neck with ebony fingerboard, original brown hard shell case.

This stunning blonde 1946 D'Angelico New Yorker is a wonderful example of this most esteemed builder's finest work, even flashier than most with an unusual extra helping of pearl on the fingerboard. Beyond its visual glory this is simply fantastic guitar to play and hear, as are practically all of the master's instruments.

John D'Angelico built his instruments one at a time for the players of his era, but was truly building for the ages. Each one stands as a unique creation; not only a work of art, but an exceptional tool for musical creation even if the original context is gone. This guitar has a sublime sound, demonstrating that the authentically legendary status held by this builder is no fluke.

In 1946 the 18"+ wide New Yorker was one of two upper grade styles offered by D'Angelico, along with the 17" Excel. This natural finish New Yorker in a was the absolute top of the line, the most elaborate and expensive D'Angelico guitar made with numerous custom variations possible. In 1946 he had not yet started building cutaway instruments; that began in 1947 following Gibson's lead.

John's clients were mostly working guitarists, from well-known names in the jazz and recording/broadcasting worlds to now-forgotten players working the more prosaic restaurant and social "casual" gigs. He also built guitars to order for selected dealers. This New Yorker is noted in the D'Angelico ledgers as shipped to Gravois Music in St Louis on 06-18-46. This shop was John's primary dealer outside the New York area having numerous D'Angelico guitars built for them over the years; they received four New Yorkers in 1946 alone, of which this was the first.

Most features of this New Yorker are typical for the period with the exception of the triple-bound ebony fingerboard. This is ornamented with pearl inlay in the standard segmented block pattern, but with extra blocks of solid pearl filling every other space on the board! This makes for a unique look, almost reminiscent of the 1910s Wasburns with solid pearl fingerboards. Somebody in St. Louis wanted a VERY flashy guitar! The one-piece neck has a medium "C" profile, 1 5/8" nut width and a 25 1/4" scale.

The back, sides and neck are made of spectacularly figured maple with a dramatic flame pattern. The X-braced top is carved from fine tight-grained spruce. The top and back have 9-ply Celluloid binding inside a double wide outer layer, with a side line. The f-holes are triple-bound. The body has a 18 7/16" lower bout, slightly wider than many New Yorkers. The carved ebony bridge with pearl insets in the base and engraved, gold-plated Art Deco stairstep tailpiece are typical D'Angelico fittings. The multi-bound celluloid pickguard is an exact repro.

The headstock has the "D'Angelico New York" script inlay above the inlaid pearl block design engraved "New Yorker". It has very prominent 8-ply binding with a thick outer layer. The tuners are the larger postwar gold-plated Kluson Sealfast machines just then coming into use.

This instrument has a sound all its own; big but sweet with a singing well-rounded treble over a firm but tight bass. It is X-braced which tends to give a somewhat rounder sound. Despite its size this is a very easy guitar to handle, with a superbly fast and "modern" neck feel. There are few guitars in the world with this much history and sheer class built in; this one has some extra "bling" thrown in for good measure!
Overall length is 43 1/2 in. (110.5 cm.), 18 7/16 in. (46.8 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 1/4 in. (641 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).

This spectacular top-of-the line D'Angelico shows some typical repair work but remains an exceptionally fine-playing and sounding guitar. As is typical it has been completely rebound, as the original Celluloid often disintegrated decades ago. All work is absolutely correct to the original spec with vintage style Celluloid, done by Christian Mirabella on Long Island, the premier contemporary restorer of D'Angelico and D'Aquisto instruments. The pickguard is also an exact correct reproduction by Mirabella.

The entire guitar has a thin lacquer overspray, with some careful feathering at the edges done at the time of the rebind. The instrument shows some general play wear both before and after this work was done. There are dings, dents and small scrapes to the finish (some under and some through the overspray) but no heavy play wear. The most notable is to the center of the back of the neck, which has the finish worn through and a pattern of shallow but feelable dings from the 3rd to 9th fret area. There are small patched strap button holes on the side and face of the heel, and small filled bites from an old DeArmond mounting on the side of the fingerboard extension.

This guitar has been expertly refretted (again by Mirabella) with appropriate wire and plays magnificently. This unique extra flashy "St. Louis" New Yorker is a true pleasure to play, hear or even simply behold, truly one for the ages. It lives in a correct period but not exactly fitted case, showing a lot of wear but still doing the job. Overall Excellent Condition.