Description

Retrofret Stock # 7882. D'Angelico Excel Cutaway Model Arch Top Acoustic Guitar (1958), made in New York City, serial # 2056, natural lacquer finish, maple back, sides and neck, spruce top, ebony fingerboard, period black hard shell case. This beautiful blonde cutaway D'Angelico Excel is a wonderful example of this builder's best work, as well as a simply fantastic player's guitar. John D'Angelico built these instruments for the individual players of his time, but even so he really was building for the ages, each instrument standing as an individual creation that is not only a work of art, but can be the finest tool for musical creation one may imagine. This guitar "excels" when played both acoustically and amplified, demonstrating once again that the authentically legendary status held by this single builder is no fluke.In 1958 the Excel was one of two basic styles offered by D'Angelico, with many custom variations possible. This 17" model was not the most elaborate or expensive D'Angelico guitar -- that distinction belongs to the 18" New Yorker. Still, right up through the 1960s many players preferred the slightly smaller and easier to handle 17" Excel, and even after it was technically no longer the flagship model, the Excel still made up a large part of D'Angelico's production. He had first made cutaway instruments in 1947 following Gibson's lead, and by the time this guitar was made, the rounded treble-side cutaway had become a more-or-less standard feature. Each D'Angelico guitar was individually built to order, often reflecting the player's personal preferences, but all shared the same high standard of craftsmanship that characterizes these purely handmade instruments. This Excel is a cutaway arch-top guitar from the period that saw the final flowering of D'Angelico's talents, when he was widely considered the premier builder of carved top guitars in the world, really competing only with Gibson. By this point the original Epiphone company was gone, the Strombergs were dead, and most other builders had abandoned the carved top guitar in favor of purpose-built electrics. Even Gibson built only small numbers of their L-5C and Super 400C guitars in this period, and to many professional players a D'Angelico was superior to anything else available. At this juncture, John's clients primarily consisted of many of the best working guitarists, both well-known names in the jazz and session/broadcasting worlds as well as now-forgotten players who worked the more prosaic restaurant, wedding, and social "casual" gigs still common at the time. This guitar is noted in the D'Angelico ledgers as completed and sold on June 25, 1958, with the buyer's name noted in printed transcriptions as "Cangel," which may be an abbreviation or a misunderstood notation -- the late 1950s ledgers are written by hand in a sometimes semi-garbled script.The features of this Excel are fairly typical for the period. The back and sides are made of beautiful curly maple, with a somewhat unusual dark-spotted figure to the back and strident flame on the sides. The X-braced top is carved from fine tight-grained spruce with a slight wave to the grain pattern towards the outer edges. The top and back are enclosed in 6-ply Celluloid binding inside a double wide outer layer, with a double side line. The f-holes are triple-bound. The body dimensions are a 17 1/4" lower bout width with a depth at the rim of just over 3". The carved ebony bridge and engraved, gold-plated Art Deco tailpiece are typical D'Angelico fittings of the period. The one-piece maple neck has a 1 11/16" nut width and a 24 3/4" scale. The triple bound ebony fingerboard is ornamented with very neatly executed pearl block inlay in the typical Excel non-segmented block pattern. The neck has a fairly flat "C" profile and is very comfortable to play, with a wider profile than some. The headstock has the "D'Angelico New York" script inlay at the top, above the inlaid pearl block design engraved "Excel," and is crowned with the traditional finial at the peak. It has triple binding with a thick outer layer in the Excel pattern. Tuners are the gold-plated Grover Imperials used on all of these guitars. There are pearl pieces inlaid into the back of the headstock, which is ebony veneered. The Truss rod cover may be a replacement; it is the traditional style (mimicking the stepped silhouette of the New Yorker hotel on 42nd Street), but is a bit smaller than expected and bears the name "Slim" in incised script. This instrument has a fabulous acoustic tone but is currently optimized more for use as an electric guitar. The multi-bound celluloid pickguard is in the original style but of more recent vintage, and includes a built-in mounting for a Gibson "Johnny Smith" mini-humbucking pickup. The attachment bracket is screwed to the pickguard, not the guitar, and there is a small piece of damping material between the pickup and the top. The single volume controls is mounted a

Retrofret Vintage Guitars

Retrofret Vintage Guitars

1958
D'Angelico
Excellent
natural lacquer
Hard
$37,500
Retrofret Vintage Guitars
Sales
718 237 6092
Brooklyn New York, NY
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Retrofret has been shipping instruments throughout the USA and worldwide for nearly 20 years. We have yet to experience a single instance of damage (...I hope this doesn't jinx our perfect record). Retrofret's shipping department can send parcels via UPS, Fedex, USPS, BAX, DHL and DSV Air and Yusen Air Cargo. We ship instruments and other items on a 48 hour approval basis once we received payment in full. Shipping charges and taxes are not included in the prices listed. Mail order shipments within New York are subject to sales tax of 8.875%. Shipments out of state are not subject to NY city and state tax, although the buyer assumes all other tax requirements of their municipality. Before sending payment, please call to confirm the instrument's availability and the cost of shipment.

If you decide not to keep an instrument shipped to you, notify us by telephone, fax or email within 48 hours of receiving it. We'll take note to expect the return. Please ship it in the same carton via UPS, insured for its full value. We will refund the price of the instrument as soon as we receive it, provided it arrives in the condition in which it left the shop. The customer is responsible for all shipping charges.