About
A Legend is Born
1905

A Legend is Born

John D’Angelico was born in Little Italy, on Manhattan's Lower East Side. At only 9 years old, he became an apprentice to his grand uncle Signor Ciani, an expert violin and mandolin maker. This apprenticeship would become the basis for construction principles he later incorporated into his world-renowned archtop guitars.

1905

A Legend is Born

John D’Angelico was born in Little Italy, on Manhattan's Lower East Side. At only 9 years old, he became an apprentice to his grand uncle Signor Ciani, an expert violin and mandolin maker. This apprenticeship would become the basis for construction principles he later incorporated into his world-renowned archtop guitars.

The Shop
1932

The Shop

D'Angelico's first shop was located at 40 Kenmare Street in New York City’s Little Italy. The shop was small, but perfect for a humble operation: D'Angelico instruments were strictly hand-made, and in very limited quantities. During the late 1930s, when production was at its peak, D'Angelico made approximately 35 instruments per year with the help of only two workers. The novelty of a D’Angelico became part of its mystique, but it was simply how the master-luthier preferred to work.

1932

The Shop

D'Angelico's first shop was located at 40 Kenmare Street in New York City’s Little Italy. The shop was small, but perfect for a humble operation: D'Angelico instruments were strictly hand-made, and in very limited quantities. During the late 1930s, when production was at its peak, D'Angelico made approximately 35 instruments per year with the help of only two workers. The novelty of a D’Angelico became part of its mystique, but it was simply how the master-luthier preferred to work.

A Symbol of New York
1944

A Symbol of New York

1940s New York was defined by the wake of World War II. Music once again filled the role of a desperately needed emotional outlet, and guitar players in the service and at home depended on D'Angelico for their instruments. His recognition as the “finest builder of archtop guitars” later brought offers from larger companies, but John already knew his answer: "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!" As always, D’Angelico knew his loyalty lay with the instrument and the artist.

1944

A Symbol of New York

1940s New York was defined by the wake of World War II. Music once again filled the role of a desperately needed emotional outlet, and guitar players in the service and at home depended on D'Angelico for their instruments. His recognition as the “finest builder of archtop guitars” later brought offers from larger companies, but John already knew his answer: "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!" As always, D’Angelico knew his loyalty lay with the instrument and the artist.

The Apprentice
1952

The Apprentice

James D'Aquisto was a New York-based jazz guitarist and bassist. As a teenager, he was taken to visit D'Angelico's workshop and was immediately entranced by the idea of instrument building. He was offered a job as an apprentice in 1952, at the age of 17. D’Aquisto made $35 a week cleaning the windows, running small errands and sweeping the floors. Unbeknownst to both him and John, D’Aquisto would go on to preserve the D’Angelico legend for generations to come.

1952

The Apprentice

James D'Aquisto was a New York-based jazz guitarist and bassist. As a teenager, he was taken to visit D'Angelico's workshop and was immediately entranced by the idea of instrument building. He was offered a job as an apprentice in 1952, at the age of 17. D’Aquisto made $35 a week cleaning the windows, running small errands and sweeping the floors. Unbeknownst to both him and John, D’Aquisto would go on to preserve the D’Angelico legend for generations to come.

A Cold Winter
1964

A Cold Winter

Throughout the early 1960s, John D’Angelico’s health began to fail. As the only other worker in the shop, D’Aquisto gradually took over more of the instrument production. Then, in the bitter cold winter of 1964, D'Angelico passed away from heart failure. He was only 59 years old. After inheriting “the bench,” D’Aquisto eventually purchased the shop from the D'Angelico family, but later went on to build guitars under his own name. Today, D'Angelico and D'Aquisto are widely regarded as the two greatest archtop guitar makers of the 20th century.

1964

A Cold Winter

Throughout the early 1960s, John D’Angelico’s health began to fail. As the only other worker in the shop, D’Aquisto gradually took over more of the instrument production. Then, in the bitter cold winter of 1964, D'Angelico passed away from heart failure. He was only 59 years old. After inheriting “the bench,” D’Aquisto eventually purchased the shop from the D'Angelico family, but later went on to build guitars under his own name. Today, D'Angelico and D'Aquisto are widely regarded as the two greatest archtop guitar makers of the 20th century.

The Return
2011

The Return

Renewed 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 D'Angelico guitars. The timing was perfect: The D'Angelico brand had recently been purchased and a support system of new management, state of the art manufacturing, warehousing and distribution infrastructure was built. In the initial months of operation, the D'Angelico team worked under the radar, creating and perfecting a line of authentic reissues that delivered D'Angelico quality for an affordable price. The new models were enthusiastically embraced by a revitalized audience. D'Angelico soon found itself among the most successful "new" brands in the industry.

2011

The Return

Renewed 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 D'Angelico guitars. The timing was perfect: The D'Angelico brand had recently been purchased and a support system of new management, state of the art manufacturing, warehousing and distribution infrastructure was built. In the initial months of operation, the D'Angelico team worked under the radar, creating and perfecting a line of authentic reissues that delivered D'Angelico quality for an affordable price. The new models were enthusiastically embraced by a revitalized audience. D'Angelico soon found itself among the most successful "new" brands in the industry.

The Legacy Grows
Today

The Legacy Grows

Over the course of more than 80 years, we’ve moved from a tiny shop in Little Italy to a sprawling showroom in midtown Manhattan, but our promise remains the same: to produce exceptional guitars that uphold the legacy of John D’Angelico. With guitars in the hands of hugely influential artists and available at dealers around the world, D’Angelico guitars are back for good. Our lines, featuring both reissues and new semi-hollow designs of all sizes, are defined by their remarkable quality and tone. Bob Weir, Susan Tedeschi, Brad Whitford and an army of others endorsing our instruments speaks for itself. At D’Angelico, we maintain our legend by guaranteeing the utmost quality instruments made with the utmost passion.

Today

The Legacy Grows

Over the course of more than 80 years, we’ve moved from a tiny shop in Little Italy to a sprawling showroom in midtown Manhattan, but our promise remains the same: to produce exceptional guitars that uphold the legacy of John D’Angelico. With guitars in the hands of hugely influential artists and available at dealers around the world, D’Angelico guitars are back for good. Our lines, featuring both reissues and new semi-hollow designs of all sizes, are defined by their remarkable quality and tone. Bob Weir, Susan Tedeschi, Brad Whitford and an army of others endorsing our instruments speaks for itself. At D’Angelico, we maintain our legend by guaranteeing the utmost quality instruments made with the utmost passion.

Susan Tedeschi

Susan Tedeschi

Bob Weir

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Brad Whitford

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Joshua Barrett

Joff Oddie

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Will Lee

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Shakey Graves

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Billy Preston

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Ryan Stasik

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Richie Furay

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Nai Palm

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Michael Franti

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Chuck Gibson

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Mike "McDuck" Olson

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Jorgen Carlsson

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Jonathan Butler

1942 Excel