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1997 Monteleone Electric Flyer

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Serial #: 174 Body signed by the maker, 1-31-97

Finish: Amber blonde, nitrocellulose type

Body size at lower bout: 16" Scale length: 25 1/2" Nut width: 1 13/16" Body depth: 2 7/16"

Materials: Original D'Aquisto stock tiger flame laminated maple; one-piece solid maple neck with adjustable truss rod; ebony fingerboard; tiger maple bound body.

Hardware: Solid Macassar ebony pickguard, compensated bridge and tailpiece; gold Schaller tuners with ebony buttons; gold Seymour Duncan Antiquity humbucking pickup, hand signed.

Notes: We've often observed that an unusual number of our favorite archtop builders got their start by carving mandolins. It can't be coincidence that the extraordinary skill set required to graduate and tap tune a mandolin soundbord should translate handily towards the building of an archtop guitar. Legendary luthier John Monteleone began his career restoring instruments for Mandolin Brothers in the early 70's, where he had the invaluable opportunity to study the craftsmanship of many of the greatest vintage guitars and mandolins, literally from the inside out. For the last three decades, Monteleone's brilliant updating of the F-style mandolin has remained the single most sought after version of the instrument since the Lloyd Loar original. And since the mid-'90s John has devoted his focus chiefly to the guitar, producing some of the most spectacular and highly prized archtops built today.

The first of just three examples ever built, the Electric Flyer follows the tradition of the pioneering electric guitars built by Jimmy D'Aquisto for such luminaries as Jim Hall, Joe Pass and other celebrated players of the 60's and 70's. With a slimmer depth body of extravagantly figured custom maple laminate, the Flyer offers the discriminating player a design that is comfortable to hold, has excellent sustain, and resists feedback at a variety of volume levels. At just 6lb. 2oz., the instrument is significantly lighter than a typical ES-175, and the open headstock reduces neck mass for better balance in the lap and on the shoulder. The generous 1 13/16" nut width is ideal for both finger and pick style play, and the neck profile is a sublime gentle D.

The tone is smooth, sweet and warm as can be, with excellent balance and clarity, and the Seymour Duncan Antiquity pickup is one of the last signed by both Duncan and Seth Lover themselves. This spectacular instrument is crafted of extravagantly figured flame maple obtained from the D'Aquisto estate, and accented with dramatic tiger maple binding. The guitar has been maintained in superb condition, without cracks, pick, buckle, thumb or fingerboard wear, and all-original blonde finish and ebony hardware. Apart from a bit of checking in two small areas on the back, the instrument shows few signs of age altogether. The original owner requested that the strap button be moved from the side to the heel area, which the builder performed in his usual immaculate style.

In the words of the builder himself: " I fondly recall making this guitar. The top and back laminates came from the estate materials that I had purchased from the D'Aquisto family, after Jimmy's passing. They were raw and not yet cut for the guitar body and sound holes. I made three more after that before I realized that I could be putting the same time and effort into making a carved acoustic archtop and only because the guitar was solid and not laminated the market value was twice the amount. It was a shame because these guitars really are the best all around working man's jazz guitar. If I could afford to make more of these Electric Flyers I would, but the price for them would be like that of the acoustic models. So what you have there is a rare bird..."

Monteleone guitars are notoriously difficult to obtain, with a lengthy wait list, and prices ranging from almost $40K to over $100K. John's guitars are rarely parted with by their owners, and this is a rare opportunity to acquire an instrument of musical as well as historical significance. Call now.

Setup: This instrument is strung with medium gauge flatwound nickel strings. The guitar will accommodate lighter or heavier gauge strings, according to preference. String action is set at 5/64" to 6/64" 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 faux-snakeskin arched plush lined hardshell case.


































































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