Archtop Guitars, The Four Seasons

John Monteleone (American, b. 1947)
Archtop Guitars, Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer, from The Four Seasons (serial numbers 200–203), 2002–2006
Autumn: Alpine spruce, Oregon big-leaf maple, ebony, koa, Honduras mahogany, African paduak, spiney oyster reconstituted stone, mother-of-pearl; sunburst finish (yellow to orange), cutaway; Winter: Alpine spruce, curly red maple, macassar ebony, Honduras mahogany, African paduak, sterling silver, mother-of-pearl, diamonds; natural finish; Spring: Italian spruce, tiger maple, ebony, curly sugar maple, Honduras mahogany, African paduak, mother-of-pearl abalone, paua shell, turquoise, diamonds; sunburst finish (white to blue), cutaway; Summer: German alpine spruce, Oregon big leaf maple, macassar ebony, Honduras mahogany, African paduak, red coral reconstituted stone, mother-of-pearl, diamonds, rubies; scroll body, sunburst finish (yellow to red), scroll body with cutaway; Each: W. 18 in. (45.7 cm)
Private Collection
Photo © Archtop History, Inc. from the book ARCHTOP GUITARS: The Journey from Cremona to New York by Rudy Pensa and Vincent Ricardel

In 2002 Monteleone undertook his most ambitious project, to create a set of guitars that would function as individual instruments as well as a quartet. He decided upon the theme of the four seasons and decorated each guitar in a way that represented the subject while giving each instrument a different voice. Each instrument has side sound holes; inside, visible to only the player, are drawings on the rib that relate to the season represented by the guitar. After completing the instruments in 2006, Monteleone commissioned a work to be composed for the ensemble by the composer and guitarist Anthony Wilson.

Alternate Views

Related Audio

“Circle Interludes,” by Anthony Wilson

Performed by Anthony Wilson via multi-track recording, 2010.

Related Interview

John Monteleone discusses the Four Seasons guitars