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1991 D'Angelico Excel, First USA Reissue
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Serial #: 12007
Body size at lower bout: 17" Scale length: 25" Body depth: 3 1/8" Nut Width: 1 3/4" Neck depth: .88/.100, 1st/10th fret
Materials: Solid hand carved parallel braced spruce top; solid tiger flame maple neck, back and sides; solid ebony fingerboard with pearl block inlays; 5 ply body binding; three ply binding; bound headstock, fingerboard and f-holes; solid bone nut.
Hardware: Art Deco hardware includes gold Grover Imperial tuners; brass stairstep tailpiece; bound tortoise pickguard; adjustable compensated rosewood bridge; pearl truss rod cover. Vintage DeArmond 1000 Rhythm Chief floating pickup with thumbwheel volume control and endpin jack.
Notes: From his tiny storefront workshop on Kenmare Street in New York City, John D'Angelico became the most famous archtop guitar builder in the history of the instrument. His peerless craftsmanship and striking art deco designs set a standard for the hand built instrument that has lasted to this day. For decades, however, few players could dream of owning one of these legendary guitars, as collector demand pushed prices into orbit.
Early in the 90's, permission was finally granted to build the first authorized US reissues of these iconic instruments, and renowned Los Angeles luthier Arturo Valdez was chosen to continue this illustrious tradition. Just 17 guitars were hand crafted by him during the initial flight, and this spectacular example is the seventh of that original series. Built for Swiss guitarist Dino Olar, this historic guitar is prominently featured in Frank Green's volume on D'Angelico guitars, whose discussion of the instrument is detailed here and here.
Built with plans blueprinted from 1939 D'Angelico #1431, this presentation grade 17" guitar was hand carved and tap tuned with painstaking attention to detail. Tonewoods include the extravagantly flamed maple body and neck, fine grained parallel braced Sitka spruce soundboard, and solid ebony fingerboard with mother of pearl inlay. Art Deco styling is complete with the stairstep tailpiece and pickguard, and solid pearl truss rod cover.
At just 5lb 13oz, the guitar is exceptionally light in weight, and deftly balanced on the lap. The traditional full C profile neck has smooth low action over a fresh high precision setup, with playability enhanced with the generous 1 3/4" nut. The soundboard and braces are hand graduated and tap-tuned, in contrast to the pressed and laminate tops of later import versions, and the voice is accordingly clear and vibrant, with warm, woody resonance, and excellent projection and cutting power: a true player of the classic era.
She's been maintained in showroom condition, and shows no playwear or checking. The natural blonde finish is beautifully ambered, with a light overspray of true vintage nitro lacquer. A special plus, the instrument has been fitted with a vintage DeArmond 1000 Rhythm Chief pickup, with thumbwheel volume control and endpin jack.
An exceptional rarity, and an extraordinary performer, this meticulously crafted instrument recaptures the flair and elegance of the streamline era. One only, call now.
Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge phosphor bronze strings (.013). 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. The action may be lowered or raised to your requirements with the adjustable bridge.
Case: Original deluxe arched black plush lined hardshell case.