John Monteleone

John Monteleone was born in Manhattan in 1947 to a family of craftsmen that traces their roots to Palermo. His grandfather, a pastry chef, established the Monteleone bakery downtown and the family later established a branch in Brooklyn. Monteleone’s father was a skilled sculptor who moved the family to Long Island and started a business as an industrial pattern maker, doing work for the aviation industry. Monteleone learned woodworking from his father as well as the ability to understand a variety of materials and read design drawings. He was also a musician, playing both the piano and guitar. A self-taught luthier who learned by examining high-quality instruments, Monteleone began experimenting with building and repairing stringed instruments at a young age. He first gained notoriety for the innovative design of his mandolins, which were admired and used by the best players in a variety of genres. Since the acoustic-guitar market has rebounded from its lull in the 1970s and 1980s, Monteleone has become increasingly respected as a guitar maker and has introduced a number of innovations, both acoustic and aesthetic. His work continues to evolve, expanding the boundaries of instrument making.

Featured Instruments

Related Interviews

Mark Knopfler discusses John Monteleone (Transcript)

John Monteleone talks about learning how to build guitars (Transcript)

Related Performances

Barry Mitterhoff plays “Soldier’s Joy” on a Baby Grand model mandolin by John Monteleone. Recorded August 12, 2010, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Woody Mann plays “Mr. Guitar” on the Deco Vox archtop guitar by John Monteleone. Recorded August 12, 2010, at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.