D'Aquisto (used, 1974) New Yorker Special

Tag No 76-8952 Used

#1082, cutaway, in vintage sunburst finish, with original black tolex covered plush lined hard shell case.

James D’Aquisto, born November 9, 1935 was trained by, and is the successor to, John D’Angelico. Both men are considered to be the finest independent builders of archtop guitars in the history of the instrument. James apprenticed to John, starting in the 1950s, possibly as early as 1954. Jimmy said “I was making $35 a week. I was like the runner: I’d go to the stores, pick up the tuners, go get the tailpieces from downtown, take the necks to the engraver, all that. I cleaned the windows, swept the floors, everything – we all did that. On Friday we put away the tools and cleaned the shop so when Monday came the place would be spotless.” Later, James learned the “rough work” of the D’Angelico building style. By around 1960, John’s health was failing and Jimmy was asked to do more and more of the finishing work, and, finally, the hand-crafting of components. John passed away on Tuesday, September 1, 1964 at age 59. Jimmy continued the business of building guitars, under his own name. In 1966 he moved to Huntington, Long Island and in 1973 moved to Farmingdale. In 1977 he made his final move to Greenport, Long Island. His guitars are considered without peer. Jimmy D’Aquisto was always afraid that he might die at the same age as his mentor, at age 59. In fact, he died Tuesday, April 18, 1995 at the age of 59.

This amazing guitar is a nominally 17” wide New Yorker, which Jimmy called New Yorker Special (because standard New Yorkers were a huge 18” wide). The exact width is more like 16 15/16th”. It was entered into Jimmy’s log book on 9/27/74 as having been made for Matty Grecco, which we know was the guitar’s only owner. It has a scale length of 25.4” and a nut width of 1 23/32nds (just under 1 ¾”). This is a fancy, traditional instrument having the pineapple and pediment motif at the top of the headstock – similar to the design of a grandfather’s clock. The headstock hosts six original Grover Imperial tuners, having large striped sealed backs and stair step style buttons. The headstock is inlaid with the large DAquisto (no apostrophe) underlined logo, and below that a scroll that reads “New Yorker” sideways so that the audience can read it; below that is a stylized ebony truss rod cover held in place by two screws above the nut that is inlaid with mother of pearl; on the back of the headstock are double diamonds – one facing up, one facing down. The three-ply bordered ebony fretboard is inlaid with split blocks at 7 positions, starting with the first fret, and then a solid rectangle of pearl at the 17th fret. The four-ply black-white bordered ebony stylized pickguard is fitted to a black floating pickup with exposed magnets that hangs under the base of the fingerboard but does not penetrate the top, and there are two rotary knobs on the pickguard for volume and tone. The twin “s” shaped soundholes are bordered in black-white, and the top and back in 6-ply, the sides in four-ply. The ebony two-piece bridge was hand carved by D’Aquisto and so was the carved ebony and black chrome metal, proprietary tailpiece. The carved back and, as well, the sides are flamed (tiger stripe) maple and the top is carved of most likely European spruce. The body width at the lower bout is 16 7/8”, the scale length is 25 ¼”, the width at the upper bout is 12 1/8”, the nut width is 1 ¾”; the body depth at the lower bout is 3 1/16th”, at the upper bout it is 3 1/16th”; the body length is 20 5/8”. The neck is medium flame. The condition of this example is excellent plus, showing a few dings, extremely light belt buckle marks on the back, and sinkage of the finish into the back seam and headstock seams. The frets need cleaning and the guitar needs a set-up. On this guitar the builder’s signature and serial number are hand signed on the underside of the top. The pickup is of unknown brand; possibly Kent Armstrong.


This guitar is extremely clean – some would call it excellent plus-. There are some finish checks here and there, including (but not limited to) on headstock and back of headstock, on the back at both waists; there are some normal signs that it has been held and even played. There might be a dozen or so small dings, the some of the crazing lines may have the appearance of an incipient hairline but right now they’re crazing lines, the finish is being “sucked” down into the finish due to dryness and there are some areas where bindings are not exactly level with the adjacent wood. All of this is normal on an older guitar. The condition is overall quite remarkably clean.WAS $56,705 NOW ON SALE FOR:

Our Discount Price is $48,973.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $47,500.00.

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