Orpheum (used, 1940) “Style E”

Tag No 48-3708 Used

#1087, whose neck and bridge were built (as original equipment) by John D’Angelico,

in very good plus condition with original hard case. John D’Angelico, the Wizard of Kenmare Street, seeking an opportunity to make less expensive guitars for the wartime or postwar player, purchased bodies from outside contractors, and did the rest of the work himself. This guitar has a spruce top and presumably laminated maple sides and back. This appears to be tightly grained and also appears to be good quality. The maple back is one-piece and, like the sides, shows only an Imodium of curl. The spruce top hosts three hairline repaired top cracks plus one actual repaired crack to the right of the treble f-hole, the last of which is related to the debacle on the lower treble side, where you will observe around 12 cracks in a formerly crushed but reasonably well repaired and cleated area which old repair is probably what necessitated the overspray that the body received. Both f-holes are bound in celluloid and there is an area of discoloration around each sound port. The guitar has a John D’Angelico celluloid bound neck including a black ebony fingerboard embellished with large pearl block inlays in seven positions – from first fret to fourteenth; the headstock is inlaid with an “Orpheum” banner etched in a trapezoid with a black border, and an etched “Style E” in an inlaid pearl keystone. The guitar is acoustic only, and comes with no pickup, although there is a semi-circular cut-out on the pickguard where a floating pickup once resided. In addition it is bestowed with a gold-plated Oettinger style (but not Oettinger brand) “six-finger” adjustable tailpiece that’s missing 5 of its six individual angle-adjustment screws, and this is stamped, at its bottom “Pat. Pend.” The top binding is black-white-black, side and back binding are just black; there is a strap pin in the bass side near the neck. Its tuners are Grover large-back with stair-step gold buttons. The fingerboard width is a penurious 1 9/16th, but we still find it to be quite comfortable, and the scale length is a perfect 25”. The width of the body at its lower bout is 16 3/4”; it has 20 frets total and the string spacing at the bridge is 1 15/16th”. The two-piece adjustable bridge is a hand-made John D’Angelico construction out of what appears to be a Brazilian rosewood base and an ebony saddle. The top is bound in black-white-black, the sides and back in black.

This instrument was owned and played professionally by guitarist Frankie Little who lived in Valley Stream, NY and played nightly in the The Frankie Little Trio from the mid-‘50s to the mid-‘70s. He contracted parties for the stock exchange, weddings, the San Gennero Festival, and had a steady gig at Mama Leone’s restaurant. He also played in “The Chefs” band whose musicians all wore the chef’s outfits and moved from table to table in the restaurant (hey, that’s show biz). Mr. Little started his professional career in vaudeville, playing the Paramount Theatre in Manhattan. He played in a group called The Red Jackets and he performed on the CYO circuit in canteens during World War II. He hung around with people like Boris Karloff, Burns and Allen when they were working in vaudeville, Jackie Cooper, Betty Boop (yes, there actually was such a performer) and Bob Crosby, Bing’s brother, who also had a band. Mr. Little’s 45-RPM recordings included “Redhead” and “Monkey Doodle Polka.” In the guitar’s case is found the sheet music to “Swinging on a Star,” copyright 1944. There’s a box containing a somewhat dried out fake nose, complete with box, copyright 1961, titled “The Snoz” – “Most natural looking of all” – with the instructions: “When smoking the smoke can be blown thru nose holes to make it look real.” On a collection of index cards, in the case, are the handwritten words to songs such as “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” and “Did Your Mother Come from Ireland.” There is a box of “Blitz Cloth” – “wipes away tarnish.” In addition there is a 10-cent Collegian spiral notepad with handwritten song titles, and, lastly an unused white matchbook that reads “Nancy and John, June 12, 1971.”

Our head of repair, who can smell a D’Angelico from two-blocks away, Leroy Aiello, himself, performed a needed neck reset and fret dress and this guitar now plays like the melted spread itself. Even before it was restrung, we could tell that this was going to be one colossal-sounding chord thumper and it turns out to be quite amazing sounding. It is truly the affordable D’Angelico-made alternative.
WAS $8243. NOW ON SALE for:

Our Discount Price is $5,149.00 and Our Cash Discount Price is $4,995.00.

Sorry, this item has been sold.
You may still add it to your want list, and we will contact you if your desired instrument comes in!

Additional Photos (click for expanded view)

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