Monteleone makes PRS PS look like bargains

Prina

Avoiding imperial entanglements
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Jan 5, 2023
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One thing Mark Knopfler and I have in common is we both don't feel "worthy" about at least one guitar. The difference is that feeling applies to almost all of mine, including all my PRSi. I hadn't heard of John Monteleone before and nobody's mentioned him here for years. The Financial Times did a story yesterday starting with:

“I always knew I wanted to remain a single-man workshop,” says guitar-maker John Monteleone. “There was nothing more boring to me than having to make the same instrument over and over again.”
That conviction has stood him in good stead; today Monteleone, 75, is lauded around the world for his acoustic guitars and mandolins. Handmade at his workshop in Islip, New York, his guitars are considered works of art in themselves – examples sit in The Met Museum’s permanent collection – while Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler loved his guitar, “Isabella”, so much that he wrote a song about Monteleone. In a recent documentary, Knopfler admitted that he felt he “wasn’t worthy” of the instrument. Each piece commands upwards of $85,000, and the waiting list is around three years.
https://www.ft.com/content/b6b89961-5d19-490e-b0b1-8153d882934c?shareType=nongift

Get one used for $79k: https://rudysmusic.com/collections/monteleone
 
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I really wanted an Olson acoustic after hearing Phil Keaggy playing one, but quickly found out that wasn’t going to happen. Obviously, like Private Stocks, I’m not saying the instrument isn’t worth the price as much better guitarists than I’ll ever be play them. Just not in my reach.
 
One thing Mark Knopfler and I have in common is we both don't feel "worthy" about at least one guitar. The difference is that feeling applies to almost all of mine, including all my PRSi. I hadn't heard of John Monteleone before and nobody's mentioned him here for years. The Financial Times did a story yesterday starting with:

“I always knew I wanted to remain a single-man workshop,” says guitar-maker John Monteleone. “There was nothing more boring to me than having to make the same instrument over and over again.”
That conviction has stood him in good stead; today Monteleone, 75, is lauded around the world for his acoustic guitars and mandolins. Handmade at his workshop in Islip, New York, his guitars are considered works of art in themselves – examples sit in The Met Museum’s permanent collection – while Dire Straits frontman Mark Knopfler loved his guitar, “Isabella”, so much that he wrote a song about Monteleone. In a recent documentary, Knopfler admitted that he felt he “wasn’t worthy” of the instrument. Each piece commands upwards of $85,000, and the waiting list is around three years.
https://www.ft.com/content/b6b89961-5d19-490e-b0b1-8153d882934c?shareType=nongift

Get one used for $79k: https://rudysmusic.com/collections/monteleone
Great, there goes my Ferrari fund!
 
I highly recommend the video on John "the chisels are calling".
Gotta check that out when Apple TV comes up on our rotation of streaming services.

Also, the Met website for the Four Seasons guitars is an awesome example of how to photograph guitars
 
I've met John a few times at Artisan Guitar shows , he had the cover girl guitar ... a $75,000 acoustic archtop . He said 2 guys owned it and traded every 6 months. Wonderful and informative Luthier.
What an interesting idea. I fly for a company that does fractional jet ownership, but never thought about applying the concept to expensive guitars!
 
If I had a couple million in the bank, I might buy one.

I’m looking forward to seeing the documentary.
 
Mighty fine. It makes my 41 year old Santa Cruz Dread Cutaway stay in the case.
His artistry is just as compelling I bet. I've never been able to hear his guitars being played, but I did speak to him on the phone while living in SF in the early 2000s. It lead to meeting his student, Michiro Matsuda, whose guitars are beyond description. Those sound incredible, I'm sure they're not too far off.

Some difficult construction for only those who dare:
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Another wizard of construction is the Beyond the Trees guy from northern California--Fred Carlson--the inventor of the harp sympitar. Harp guitars with sympathetic strings running inside a channel within the carbon fiber neck to a sitar-style nut, sympathetic strings on the body of the instrument, and regular guitar and harp strings to boot. All made from reclaimed woods. Just unbelievable sh!t. Check this out:

I played this one at a luthiers' convention in Healdsburg. I did not do it justice:
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