Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by Frisco Kid, Nov 30, 2019.
yay, definitely wants a b6.
The lead guitarist in my originals band plays a D'Angelico and loves it. It's a beautiful guitar and sounds great. I'm rhythm on the Gretsch. He's lead on the D'Angelico.
It’s a mixed feeling thing for me. If I had all the money in the world, I would actually prefer D’Aquisto guitars to vintage D’Angelico, but both were excellent. D’Aquisto modernized the archtop with minimalistic designs. I first saw this on Jim Hall’s guitar from the “Live!” album and fell in love. I actually contemplated buying an original D’Aquisto, oddly enough, when I was living in Brooklyn Park. Wish I had.
All that having been said, I played a fairly new D’Angelico a few years back and it was one of the best sounding acoustic archtops (with a floating pickup) that I’ve ever played. The two best I ever played were a Gibson Le Grande and a Guild Artist Award, which bettered Benedettos and other high end axes I’ve played. Strangely, the next two, in ranking, were that D’Angelico (which was selling for $900) and a Guild Savoy 150, which was quite reasonably priced.
But none of this has much of anything to do with John D’Angelico, working in a small shop on Kenmare St. in Manhattan, making a very fancy competitor to the L-5. I don’t recall ever playing an original, although I’ve known two people that had them. But John D’Angelico was a rarity in his time and the sort of artisan that is all but obsolete in our time. My impression is that he never made a lot of money and lived humbly. He had an old-school, old-world approach to his craft and was somewhat driven to make wonderful instruments. I am certain that modern methods can produce a nearly perfect guitar, but nothing can replace the artisan’s touch.
The first Asian D’Angelico electro acoustics were hopelessly generic looking fair except for the headstock. I saw them introduced at around $1200, and dumped for $600 within months. I looked...
These new models obviously pay homage to the D’Angelico heritage at least and look way better.
I'm old enough to notice how much things have changed over the years
.....when I was a kid anything "made in Japan" was considered junk and laughable....now we look at Japanese manufactured items as very high quality.
Hardware companies have been bought and sold many times over by large corporations and are essentially just a name recognized by the public and have no real connection to the quality standards of years ago.
I don't know maybe I'm just old and don't appreciate the improvements in modern manufacturing but I'm kind of old school when it comes to hardware and mechanical things.....I like stuff made out of metal not plastic...things that stand the test of time...maybe it's just too expensive to manufacture things the old way or maybe the new way is really better...?
I realized that D'Angelico and even Gretsch are not the same companies that they were years ago but this is what most of us can afford in todays world...,.unless of course you can afford the vintage originals and even those are going to need maintenance and work....
There are a lot of aspects to this. The world is not a static place and things change constantly. John D’Angelico would be 114 years old, were he alive today, and even if he were so long lived, chances are he would have quit building guitars long ago even if he had not died so young. Even D’Aquisto would be 84 years old at this point.
To me, the question becomes; “should guitars be made under these names?” My answer is ambiguous. I’m glad that I can buy a replica of an Excel or New Yorker but when I see flattops, 12 strings, and Rockabilly guitars with a D’Angelico headstock, that seems to miss the point. I guess they have to do that to stay alive, but such guitars have little in common with D’Angelico’s instruments, beyond the headstock.
My specific gripe is that the company is claiming that they are a direct continuation of the original, that they have some special connection to John D’Angelico beyond the name, a few models and design features.
Here’s the official company history:
It’s great they brought the old designs back and are building good guitars at a good price. Isn’t that enough? Why claim more than that?
..they may come shipped with either rosewood or ebony....I see specs for both.
Here is what I found from their website...the place I ordered from seems to list the fretboard as ebony...we'll see
I see what you mean, this statement, particularly, galls me: “Over the course of more than 80 years, we’ve moved from a tiny shop in Little Italy to a sprawling showroom in midtown Manhattan.” Give me a break!
To imply continuity between John D’Angelico and what is happening with today’s D’Angelico guitars strikes me as disingenuous, at best. There were many years when there were no D’Angelico guitars being made, by anybody.
I’m with you 100%, Doc.
I agree -- the implications in those statements border on offensive.
You’re right, odd they would put ebony on some but not all colors? I’m fine with either but given a choice I’d prefer ebony.
In regards to the other posts, I didn’t mean to offend anyone...I thought it was a decent deal on a well appointed, well made Korean import whatever it’s branded as.
Kinda wish they had taken a cool name like Duesenberg, oh wait....it’s just marketing, I guess it doesn’t bother me as much as it does others. I knew exactly what it was when I made a purchase decision.
I’m a life time motorcycle guy and it reminds of Indian and Norton motorcycles , each reincarnated a couple times. The big difference, I don’t remember that they ever claimed to be a direct link to the past other than buying the marquee rights.
Very few Lefties available in the D'Angelico guitars current range, and I don't find them as attractive as Gretsch...
And yes, they have barely to do with their predecessor models, unlike Gretsch...
But it's me, OK ?
They’re just guitars, I love my Caddy green Penguin and nothing sounds like a Gretsch so we can all agree on that...cheers to all!
I wonder who they bought the rights to the name from? John D had no family. Jimmy D'Aquisto finished the guitars and owned the name before, according to Wikipedia, losing the rights due to a "poor business decision." Whoever owned them subsequently obviously didn't do anything with the brand for many years, until bought by the current owners.
I wonder how many other brand names are still out there floating around, ready to be grabbed by willing investor(s)?
According to Wikipedia, they bought the trademark from John Ferolito Sr., whoever the heck that is. I know that D’Merle owned the rights to be called successor to D’Anglico, but they were strictly a string company. Obtaining rights is a business unto itself. A friend once owned significant rights to professional soccer concessions in North America. He was, at the time, a fairly average guy, but somehow obtained merchandising rights to a soccer league. I don’t know that he ever did anything with it, but I know that he was always wheeling and dealing about something or another.
The Gretsch name was unused for some time when Fred III bought it. I have no idea how much money changed hands, but a name is only worth as much as you make it worth with your products.
After reading the current D’Angelico’s statement, tying their company to John D’Angelico’s shop, I feel a definite loss of respect. What they are doing makes as little sense as if I started a store in Colorado Springs called Johnny Smith Music and waxed on about the heritage of Johnny’s original store as if mine were somehow related. I’d have a lot more respect for the new D’Angelico if they’d explain that some of their guitars are based upon John D’Angelico’s designs but not imply continuity with John D’Angelico’s company.
I'll take this one, the original 1957 "Teardrop" New Yorker:
Modern D'Angelico sells replicas of these for $699.
But this custom one by Victor Baker would be a dream guitar of mine:
Here's the story:
Got this Excel pictured with my Streamliner
That is damn sexy! Congrats!!