John D’Angelico (American, 1905–1964)
Archtop Guitar, Mel Bay New Yorker model (serial number 2038), 1957
Spruce, maple, ebony, brass, celluloid, mother-of-pearl; blonde finish, cutaway; 18 x 44 1/2 in. (45.7 x 113 cm)
Rudy Pensa, New York
Photo © Archtop History, Inc. from the book ARCHTOP GUITARS: The Journey from Cremona to New York by Rudy Pensa and Vincent Ricardel
The guitarist Mel Bay played D’Angelico guitars beginning in the 1930s. He asked D’Angelico to build him a New Yorker–sized cutaway guitar but with an Excel-sized neck, because he had small hands. Other guitarists requested this same combination, and D’Angelico introduced the Mel Bay New Yorker model. Mel Bay is today best known for his guitar-method books, millions of which have been sold, still featuring Mel Bay’s D’Angelico guitar on the cover.