“He was torn between that world, and what he thought was right,” according to friend John Monteleone, a master luthier from Long Island with a formidable reputation among players and collectors.“It must have consumed him, because he was a passionate, imaginative fellow, who really had the creative juices flowing.Some things may not turn out to be all that good; it’s just as valuable to learn what is wrong as what is right.” “Every time I had to cut away a piece of wood to put in a fucking piece of pearl, I pissed in my pants,” D’Aquisto would gripe in his distinctive Brooklyn cadence.“It’s pointless, but people got attached to that look and that sound and I was kept from advancing all my ideas for close to 15 years because no one wanted me to change. Well do it on Joe’s guitar, don’t do it on mine.’ Finally I got tired of building a goddamn D’Angelico. ’ ‘Hey, I’m not experimenting on you, I’ve been doing this for years-of course I know.’ And they wouldn’t give me a chance. And if they do something wrong, and it turns out good, they scratch their heads and wonder, ‘Gee, what the hell happened?You see, when you begin to wrestle with these materials, you get used to dealing with it according to your experience.So people like Jimmy and I used to think about things a lot from a player’s point of view, and that gives you ideas, and when you have ideas, you tend to want to try them out.
But while the music’s changed, we’re still employing technologies of the ’30s.” A huge, cutting rhythm sound was the practical necessity for big band guitarists, whereas in D’Aquisto’s time and today a good solo sound is more in vogue-though for some players and luthiers, that old time religion is plenty good enough.
Since I had a trade-in we talked values and quickly arrived at a hand-shake deal.
Two days later we drove home in our "new" (to us) Volvo.
That ’30s feel is really my niche.” And for veteran luthier Robert Benedetto, whose custom archtops are employed by virtuosos like Jimmy Bruno and Jack Wilkins, the tried and true remains relevant.
“The so-called ’30s technology really hasn’t changed,” he asserts.