Del Pilar Classical Guitar (1954)

Del Pilar  Classical Guitar  (1954)
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Item # 8462
Prices subject to change without notice.
Del Pilar Classical Guitar (1954), made in Brooklyn, NY, French polish finish, Brazilian rosewood back and sides, spruce top; mahogany neck with ebony fingerboard, period hard shell case.

The "Artist of Atlantic Avenue" Guillermo Del Pilar, hand crafted very high-grade Spanish-style instruments in the heart of downtown Brooklyn from the 1950s through the 1980s. This is a splendid example of his earlier 1950s work, hand signed by him and dated "ano 1954". This is quite a fancy guitar, in a subtle way. The back and sides are made of truly spectacular straight-grain Brazilian rosewood...this would be style 45 quality in Martin terms! The top has an elaborate wood marquetry rosette and 7-ply wood binding with multiple colored contrasting wood side lines. The bridge is Brazilian rosewood with bone inserts, and both the front and rear of the headstock are faced with Brazilian over a light natural wood underlay.

As with many New York immigrant community instrument builders (like Del Pilar's contemporary John D'Angelico), the maker's emphasis was on sound quality more than the sort of obsessive detailed neatness that is considered desirable on modern guitars. That said, this is a beautifully made instrument and more exactingly crafted than many from this period we have seen. Still, it looks and feels handmade in the best possible way.

The neck has a slim profile back to front and is quite comfortable to play. In general this is a great-playing guitar; extremely responsive, even, warm, and round-sounding, with good volume and surprising projection for the depth of its tone. This would be an excellent instrument for Bossa Nova stylings as well as the straight classical repertoire. These proudly Brooklyn-made guitars have become more highly prized in the last few decades and Del Pilar's reputation as one of the finer, if relatively unsung, luthiers in postwar America is still growing.
Overall length is 39 in. (99.1 cm.), 14 in. (35.6 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 3/8 in. (1 cm.) in depth at side, taken at the end block. Scale length is 25 5/8 in. (651 mm.). Width of nut is 2 in. (51 mm.).

This guitar survives in lovely original condition with only some small maintenance repairs and no alterations. The top finish has darkened to a lovely amber color and overall the guitar shows signs of play but no excessive wear. The top has some typical dings, scrapes, and nail marks, the back and sides have scuffs, dings, and some slightly clouded areas to the finish -- not unusual with varnish over rosewood.

There is a repaired spruce grain crack just north of the center seam running to the back edge from the bridge, and extending forward nearly to the rosette. The rosewood back and sides are more intact then many from this era, with just one very small repaired split on the apex of the lower treble bout rim by the back. One of the bone tuner buttons is a bit wobbly, but the tuner itself works fine. There is a tiny teardrop of gold paint on the top; we left it in place as it seems like part of the guitar's story. This is a lovely example of a superb if little known part of Brooklyn's musical past, and a beautiful-sounding guitar as well. Very Good + Condition.