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Gearhead: Behind the Rebirth of D’Angelico Guitars

Back in axtion

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D'Angelico NYL-2 Guitar
D'Angelico's Steve Pisani (l.) and Brenden Cohen

When Steve Pisani, president of sales for the D’Angelico guitar company, wants to make a point about the desirability of his brand, he tells a story about Les Paul. “Back in the day,” says Pisani, “Les Paul tried Bucky Pizzarelli’s D’Angelico. He took it to play and a year later he still had it. One day Les was doing a concert and Bucky saw a picture of Les using his D’Angelico. He called him up and said, ‘Les, listen, I want my guitar back.’ Les says, ‘I’ll give you two [Gibson] Les Pauls for it!’ Bucky told him to go jump in a lake.”

Today, if Paul were still around, he wouldn’t have to borrow a D’Angelico. In 2013, after a dormancy of a half-century, the brand began building and distributing guitars again, under the tutelage of Pisani, CEO Brenden Cohen and their partner John Ferolito Jr., who runs D’Angelico’s parent company, the New York-based GTR Store. Today, the company’s newly produced, much-sought-after archtop hollowbody, solidbody and semi-hollowbody models are available via hundreds of American dealerships-both brick-and-mortar and online-as well as in 20 foreign countries. Mandolins and acoustics are scheduled to follow.

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