D'Angelico Mandolin (1942)

D’ANGELICO BUILT HIS FIRST mandolin, a bowl-back instrument, in 1929. Throughout his care perhaps as many as 300 mandolins, although they are quite rare today. We can only assume that he switched to making carved-top instruments in the early thirties, as none are logged in his record books until 1940. D’Angelico mandolins were of basically two types: a simple A-style ("plain") and a fancier two-point model ("scroll"), patterned after the Lyon & Healy style A with violin scroll headstock. Both models had rather short necks which joined the body at the 11th fret, and were available with either an oval sound hole or “f"-holes. By the time this example was made in 1942, D’Angelico had redesigned the headstock to a shape quite similar to that used on his guitars, complete with the ornamental, cupola or button screwed into the top. According to D’Angelico’s ledgers, he built his last mandolin in 1954, ten years before his untimely death.

Track Track 15: Unforgettable
(from Tone Poems II CD booklet, used by permission)

Photography by D. Brent Hauseman