D’Angelico New Yorker

The D’Angelico New Yorker guitar is made in Tokyo by a small group of master luthiers with 30 years of experience. These cats love the classic D’Angelico design, but they have made some modifications that they feel improve playability including changing the shape of the neck and using different electronics. There are many models to choose from that range from plywood to hand-carved spruce tops. The line tops out at around $12,000.

The version of the New Yorker I played, the NYL-2 ($4,200 list), has a 17-inch body with a German spruce top. It’s a pressed top with H-style bracing. The sides and back are flamed maple and the neck is selected maple. The scale is 25 1/2-inch with 22 frets. The tone and volume are also on the pick guard. The guitar has all the classic D’Angelico trademarks with the same head stock and tail piece we fondly remember.

The guitar is a beautiful blonde, single cutaway, with one floating vintage humbucker pickup mounted on the pick guard. It is strung with flat-wound 12s. The top is a little on the thick side but the guitar still projected fairly well without amplification. It played very well acoustically, and I suspect with a heavier string it would sound even better. The tone is nice, not too bassy on the low end and not too bright on top. I did, however have to raise the bridge to stop a slight buzz on the first and second strings. This guitar definitely sounds like a spruce-top jazz box.

The slightly thicker top really cut down on feedback; I was able to crank this bad boy! The tone is big, fat and warm. I dig the neck, too; I was able to play up and down and all around with no difficulty. My only problems were getting used to the controls on the pick guard-at first I kept hitting them, but after a while I adjusted-and when I played up high on the neck the pick guard stuck out a little too much for me. A little file and sandpaper would solve that for me in a minute.