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1935 D'Angelico Style 'A'
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Serial number: #1148
Body size at lower bout: 16 7/8" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut width: 1 23/32" Body Depth: 3"
Finish: Nitrocellulose lacquer type
Materials: Solid handcarved tiger flame maple back and sides; solid bookmatched handcarved Adirondack spruce top; solid 5-piece flame maple neck; mother of pearl block fingerboard inlays; engraved pearl peghead inlay; bound body, fingerboard and headstock.
Hardware: Original nickel hardware includes wraparound trapeze tailpiece, Grover Sta-Tite open-back tuners. Vintage triple bound tortoise pickguard and older Gibson compensated Brazilian rosewood bridge. Kent Armstrong floating humbucking pickup with thumbwheel volume and tone controls, No-Drill endpin jack and cable.
Notes: The instruments of master builder John D'Angelico are widely regarded as representing the pinnacle of the modern luthier's craft. His Style 'A' model is identical in dimensions, bracing and materials to the Excel, differing only in cosmetic details and appointments. Although the maker's ledgers from this early era are incomplete, it would appear this guitar was built sometime in 1935, and would have been one of the very earliest examples of the model. Indeed, as no other Style A guitars are recorded prior to this serial number, it's at least possible that this may be the first of its type.
It's also notable that this guitar would have been one of the very first D'Angelicos to offer the upsized 17" body, which Gibson had debuted on the L-5 only months earlier. No slavish imitator however, D'Angelico retained the powerful parallel bracing of the soundboard, which Gibson had abandoned at the time on its top-grade archtops. And finally, this early model has an exceptionally ornate headstock, with a modified Chippendale profile, and an engraved banner inlay pattern far more intricate than that seen on later versions.
With dramatic curly maple in the body and neck, and bookmatched Adirondack spruce for the soundboard, the guitar is constructed of top-grade tonewood throughout, with the formal dark Cremona sunburst finish tightly shot in a 20's style 'teacup' pattern. The nickel Grover Sta-Tite tuners and wraparound style tailpiece are original, with a triple bound tortoise pickguard of considerable vintage, which may be original, and an older Gibson compensated Brazilian rosewood bridge.
Lovingly maintained, the instrument is remarkably free of pick, thumb, buckle or fingerboard wear, with no apparent cracks on body or neck, and the original nickel hardware remains in excellent condition. The binding appears original and tight to the body, with an unusually delicate heelcap, and the back centerseam is solidly joined, though visible in places. The neck has a fine solid "C" profile, full but not clubby, with fresh pro fretwork on the solid ebony fingerboard, and smooth, low action over a fresh high-precision setup. The voice is warm and throaty, with the tap tuned soundboard resonating deeply with eight decades of age. A special bonus is the Kent Armstrong floating humbucking pickup, amplifying the acoustic voice faithfully, with thumbwheel volume and tone controls and a No-Drill endpin jack and cable. (Original endpin included in case.)
A pioneering example in the evolution of D'Angelico's work, this historic guitar is a true master quality instrument, from the very dawn of the modern archtop guitar. One only, call now.
Setup: Bridge height adjusted; bridge compensation set; string slots at nut and bridge inspected; bridge foot contour inspected; bridge radius inspected; bridgewheels and tuners lubricated; fingerboard and bridge oiled; body and neck cleaned and hand polished.
This instrument is strung with medium gauge bronze strings (.013-.057). The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 4/64" to 5/64" at the 12th fret, with moderate relief for acoustic playing with medium strings. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.
Case: Deluxe black arched lid plush lined hardshell case.