John Monteleone (American, b. 1947)
Archtop Guitar, “Teardrop” (serial number 235), 2008
Spruce, maple, ebony, mother-of-pearl; blonde finish, cutaway; W. 18 in. (45.7 cm)
Photo © Archtop History, Inc. from the book ARCHTOP GUITARS: The Journey from Cremona to New York by Rudy Pensa and Vincent Ricardel
In 1957 the musician Pete Girardi, who played in a group called The Teardrops, commissioned John D’Angelico to build a guitar that would be unique to his act. The resulting “Teardrop” has all the decorative appointments of a New Yorker model guitar plus a large protruding fin on the lower right corner. The one-of-a-kind instrument became a much sought-after collector’s piece and an icon of guitar building. The collector Scott Chinery acquired the instrument and in 1993 challenged James D’Aquisto to do his own interpretation of the famous form. D’Aquisto’s instrument has all the features of his Solo model along with the protruding fin. In 2007 Monteleone was presented with a commission to build his own interpretation of the “Teardrop.” His instrument has his signature scroll body, balancing the fin of the guitar. This exhibition is the only time that all three “Teardrops” have been together.
Woody Mann plays “Uptown” on the Teardrop archtop guitar by John Monteleone. Recorded August 12, 2010, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.