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1945 D'Angelico Excel
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Serial number: #1699, recorded in builder's ledger
Body size at lower bout: 17" Scale length: 24 3/4" Nut width: 1 21/32" Neck depth: .94/1.02, 1st/10th frets
Materials: Solid handcarved tiger flame maple back and sides; solid bookmatched handcarved Adirondack spruce top; solid two-piece flame maple neck; engraved mother of pearl block fingerboard inlays; engraved pearl peghead inlay; multi-bound body, fingerboard and headstock.
Hardware: All-original gold hardware includes engraved stairstep trapeze tailpiece, Grover Sta-Tite open-back tuners, bound tortoise stairstep pickguard, compensated adjustable ebony bridge.
Notes: The instruments of master builder John D'Angelico are widely regarded as representing the pinnacle of the archtop luthier's craft. His Excel model was his flagship 17" guitar, and most popular model over the course of his career. Stamped with serial number 1699, this guitar is listed in D'Angelico's ledger as shipped to Gravois Music of St. Louis, one of his biggest dealers, and whose badge remains on the original hardshell case.
This handsome instrument has been kept in outstanding condition, with all original hardware, including the rare original bound tortoise pickguard. Body and neck are crafted of extravagantly flamed curly maple, with no apparent cracks, and the original sunburst finish is remarkably free of pick, buckle, or thumb wear.
The solid C profile neck is straight, with smooth low action over fine recent fretwork, and a fresh high precision setup over the solid ebony fingerboard with hand-scribed block inlays. All binding is original and tight to the body, and the guitar shows no signs of repair: not even a pickup has been installed on this remarkably maintained instrument.
The voice is clear and rich, with an appealing woodiness, and excellent power and projection from the X-braced soundboard. Of particular note are the oversize scalloped keys on the original Grover Sta-Tite tuners, a very rare variant we're seeing here for the first time. The finest example of this model we have seen to date, this stunning instrument is supplied with a copy of its original ledger entry, in D'Angelico's own hand.
No issues, no stories, no problems. If you're looking for a cleaner one, you're hunting for a unicorn. From the Stradivarius of the 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-.056). 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: Original deluxe brown arched Lifton hardshell case.
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