This is as rare a find as it gets, an original tailpiece from a guitar made by the legendary Jimmy D’Aquisto, considered by many to be the absolute best carved-top guitar maker of all time. It is of his earliest type, gold-plated, solid brass with machined crossbar, D’Aquisto prominently engraved across the top and the signature D’aquisto triangle engraved on the hinge area. Jimmy, who was a very close personal friend, had these made by the same person who had made the tailpieces for John D’Angelico, Jimmy’s mentor. At one point sometime in the 1970s Jimmy referred me to the shop of that man, who was located on an upper floor of a building on Duane Street here in Manhattan, in a neighborhood which was not then, but has since come to be called Tribeca. That shop made custom small metal parts of all sorts, and I clearly remember talking with the owner about metal-working techniques and his relationship with Jimmy and John. The principal business of his place at the time was hand-making intricate custom metal clock faces; they made specialty metal parts for anyone who wanted. The tailpieces were all hand-made, as can be evidenced from the peened-over rivets and machining marks visible on the underside of the cross bar, where they would not show when installed on the guitar.
In 2013, the Metropolitain Museum of Art here in New York had a special, large exhibit on the work of the three world-famous Italian-American carved-top guitar makers: John D’Angelico, Jimmy D’aquisto, and John Montelone. I loaned the Museum, for that exhibit, my collection of John D’Angelico’s peghead and pickguard patterns and templates, drawings, mother-of-pearl inlay, peghead veneers, and prototype D’Angelico tailpieces that had come to me in later years from John D’Angelico’s shop, as well as the only known example of a D’Angelico violin, made in 1927. This D’Aquisto tailpiece was loaned to them at that time as well. $1500