In this week's Arts File, Kerry Nolan speaks with master guitar-maker John Monteleone. He's been producing hand-crafted archtop guitars and mandolins on Long Island for 40 years. Nineteen of his instruments appear in an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art called “Guitar Heroes,” which traces the history of lutherie--or stringed instrument making--from Italy in the eighteenth century to New York in the twentieth century.
Archtop guitars have tops and backs that are arched in the middle, giving the instruments a somewhat rounded look. Acoustic archtops have f-holes like a violin or round or oval sound holes like a classical guitar. Monteleone has made more the 160 archtop guitars and more than 200 mandolins during his career, and often spends months if not years on a single project. Jayson Kerr Dobney, associate curator of the Met’s Department of Musical Instruments, calls Monteleone "a very intelligent, thoughtful builder-craftsman."