John D’Angelico, considered the finest independent guitar builder of the 20th Century, or at least for the first two-thirds of that century, made a keystone model that he called “New Yorker.” This was an elaborately decorated instrument, made of the most select woods and built on a large platform (possibly because John was vertically challenged) measuring approximately 18” in body width. We believe that it is safe to say that nearly every professional jazz guitarist alive in the first two-thirds of the 20th century, whether they played a Gibson or an Epiphone, desired in their hearts to someday own a John D’Angelico guitar, and the best of those was the “New Yorker.” The New Yorker had multi-ply headstock border (this one has 8-plies of black and crème, and so does the top, and so does the back), with ivoroid binding outermost. It had three-ply bordered f-holes, white-black purfling under the fingerboard and also bordering on the front of the ebony ‘board. it had the split-block fingerboard inlay and the hardware was gold-plated.
It had the so-called Chrysler Building art deco headstock decoration above the nut (this is a pre-truss rod model D’Angelico so this decoration is inlaid). It has the “D’Angelico, New York” script logo and banner above the 4th and 3rd tuners, in ivoroid, and below that, in mother of pearl, the long art-deco construction of 7 rectangular towers, then three blocks that are etched and blackened “New Yorker Special” and then four more decal blocks at the bottom. This guitar was made with a “center dip” at the middle of the top of the headstock. John used the famous pineapple and pediment design on some of his New Yorkers but not all. Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars says that the center dip peghead shape continued to be used on some models at late as 1958.
When John D’Angelico got a request for his top-of-the-line model in a somewhat smaller package, he built it in a 17” body width and called it a “New Yorker Special.” This guitar, however, is something of an anomaly. This guitar says “New Yorker Special” on its headstock but in fact it is possible that he meant it to mean a slightly less fancy version of his famous “New Yorker” model. First of all, instead of being 17” wide it is 18 3/8” wide like the full-fledged New Yorker. This guitar was apparently ordered for Mr. Bach as a full size, but with a hair more modest variation. It has the split block fingerboard inlays which is correct for a New Yorker. Since the original pickguard sauntered down the road towards oxidation, Leroy Aiello has made a "world's best replica" D'Angelico pickguard for it. Did we mention that this guitar has been corrected, corrected, regulated, revised to original specs and set up by our most experienced and qualified D'Angelico expert, Leroy Aiello.
This guitar apparently once had a pickup (no longer there) and so there are 2 small holes in the bass side of the board. It has its original Grover tuners with a “target” on the back, and keystone shaped celluloid buttons; it retains its original ebony bridge with a pearl block on each side of the base, and its gold-plated “D’Angelico, New York” tailpiece. The back and sides are made from birds-eye maple, and not from the tiger-stripe flamed maple that this builder would have used on a full-figured (no pun intended) “New Yorker” model. There is finish checking – especially on back of headstock and neck, but elsewhere as well, and some of the finish is chipping around the crazing lines. The tailpiece is the original on this New Yorker (note that it has the lower part of the diamond that comes to a "arrow point," which was the earlier style of New Yorker tailpieces through the 40s);' it was masterfully restored by Cris Mirabella. This guitar was thusly worked on by two legendary D'Angelico restorers, LeRoy Aiello, of course, and Cris Mirabella.