Langstyle model. Customer opted for a "Charlie Christian" pickup and L'Artista style peghead...
Nearby schools & colleges
E Main Street
N Cliff Street
N. Cliff Street
We've been making acoustic arch-top, mandolins, flattop guitars, and ukes since 1987. We also do rep
Operating as usual
This is a 1959 Melodija, made in the former Yugoslavia.
The original top, shown in the photo, was at one time brush painted white, and then stripped. The original top was veneered, and was coming apart, causing a "cave in" at the tailpiece.
I replaced the top with carved Adirondack spruce, and matched the color to the peghead, which was also stripped.
It turned into a great sounding guitar!
This 1972 Martin 0018 just came in for some touch up work...
I found this letter in my files the other day! Ray Alden was a great friend, and a gifted teacher of gifted children, who taught at Stuyvesant High School in New York City. He was a proponent of traditional American music, and recorded and documented the music and musicians of Appalachia and elsewhere.
We must have created close to 100 banjos together, and I always looked forward to his visits to my shop.
For those of you who knew Ray, you'll recognize his sense of humor from this letter!
A newly completed concert uke
Curly maple and cocobolo rosewood
This is what happens when you use a wedding photographer!
Here's Mike Coppola with his 8 string solid body, along with Janet Marlow with her 10 string solid body. This was taken at a gig they were playing...
From a Philadelphia guitar show, maybe my most eclectic table ever!
A 10 string classical, a 9 string classical, 17" arch top, mandolin, and a fretless 5 string banjo...
Tommy Emmanuel "tries out" Mike Coppola's 9 string Hydra archtop!
Photos from City of Ansonia's post
An Artisiano Special recently completed, a 15" archtop, Adironack spruce carved top, curly maple back, rims, and neck, wenge fingerboard
Here's a repair finally completed. It's an 18" Gretsch, and was sent to me with a faultered top, having been incorrectly carved. I carved a new top using Adirondack spruce. I also made a pickguard using a typical Synchromatic shape, and mounted all of the electronics on it, so that no holes were cut or drilled into the body. A honey maple finish completed the job.
A concert uke, made from the last of the figured claro walnut I had bought over 20 years ago to make Mike Coppola's "Hydra", and many more instruments over the years...
Just completed, a DeCava "Leviathan" model, old Adirondack spruce top, koa back and sides
A nice memory
Vinnie Bell with Tony Mattola
A few good memories....
Tony Mottola with Maria, the great and very funny Joe Puma...
Michael and Michaela Coppola.
It seems like only yesterday.....
Helen Luders Pass with Jeanne Pisano
Helen Luders Pass, widow of Joe Pass, gave my wife Maria this letter she had written to Ella Fitzgerald:
“A Letter to Ella”
by Ellen Lüders-Pass
23rd October, 1994
I’ve just heard you and my beloved husband Joe with the song “Speak Low, When You Speak Love” How beautiful it sounds! And it is so true, everything is too brief, ends too soon! Joe and I had seven wonderful years together. I’ll never forget them. And I’ll never forget you. I love you, Ella, and I’ve enjoyed the great moments I spent with you. Do you remember our ride in that huge limousine from New York to a concert in Hartford, I believe? You told Joe and me that you love the New York hot dogs, that there are no better ones in the whole world.
Dear Ella, when Joe and I heard in May what had happened to you, to your health, we were deeply touched and saddened. Joe wanted to get into touch with you to give you courage and to cheer you up, but the course of his disease didn’t give him time anymore to do so. I would like to tell you that Joe thought of you and prayed for you. Ella, take good care of yourself, the world of music needs you! I’m looking forward to hearing from you. God bless you! With love and admiration. Ellen”
Last week I received an email from a musician in Brisbane, Australia, who asked me for the history of a Liberty banjo he owns. I recognised it immediately as a banjo I had made for an old friend who was a Native American, and had provided me with a sketch of a thunderbird, which I carved into the resonator, and inlaid into the peghead. This was actually the first Liberty banjo, with serial number 001, made just before our standard line of instruments came out...
Here's a banjo I made for master carver Floyd Scholz. Floyd's playing the banjo on his front lawn...
Here's electric blues artist Debbie Davies with her Signature model guitar
A serious moment with actor/comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live, many movies with Adam Sandler), with a banjo I had made for him. I believe I saw him play it on the Johnny Carson show...
A bit of history...
This is a fret slotting jig once owned and used by Fred van Eps (pictured), a well known banjoist and banjo maker of the early 20th century. He was the father of the famous 7 string guitarist George van Eps. I use this tool on a regular basis...
This is a workshop we did a while back at Route 7 Music. Michael and Michaela Coppola were with me and played some beautiful things!
I made this mandolin for a friend who was born in Hong Kong, and raised in Britain, thus the dragon and the rough depiction of Big Ben. The clock hands point to his birthday. We called it the "Limehouse Blues"...
"And now for something completely different!)
Here's a new model designed for Joe Shapiro (left), owner of Banko's Music, in Ansonia, Ct
It will be available exclusively through Banko's
Tony Purrone and Tony Lombardozzi at a Classic Guitar show in Long Island. I miss those shows!
Mark Elf with his DeCava Custom Classic guitar. Here he is playing with his trio in San Diego: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pKSHPgtHkNo
This is Matt Beck with his DeCava Mammoth arch top guitar. With him is Rob Thomas of Match Box 20. Matt is Rob's music director. Matt has also worked with Bono and Edge of U2 on Broadway's Spiderman, with Sting on The Last Ship, and has toured with many artists, including Rod Stewart.
A L'Artista model 16 1/4" archtop
Here's a sample of some of the inlay work I've done. Always fun to do!
Two guitars, 30 strings! ( the same customer commissioned them)
This is the "Slugger" guitar I was commissioned to make. Hallerich and Bradsby in Louisville were kind enough to brand it for me!
Here's a photo I found of a Debbie Davies Signature model. I remember trying to get it as red as I could!
We've moved! DeCava Guitars is now in Ansonia, a few doors down from Banko's Music.
Here's the peg head inlay which I used on a 1903 Gibson F2 mandolin. It was an option offered back then. After inlaying it, my eyes looked like Ray Milland's in The Lost Weekend!
Here's a couple of photos of the new tenor guitar. I'm thinking of making one for myself!
I'm in the process of finishing up an arch top tenor guitar for a customer. Being a mandolin player, she is having some left hand issues as many mandolin players can attest to. The tenor guitar will have a much easier action with more space to maneuver, and still retain the mandolin's tuning of GDAE. I will post photos soon...
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We are located in Ansonia CT and part of the Connecticut Technical Education and Career System.