Rare Jimmy D’Aquisto Handmade Hagstrom Prototype


This instrument was handmade by Jimmy D’Aquisto at the Bjärton factory in Bjärnum, Sweden in the late 1960’s while instructing the the Hagström employees on how to make the archtop guitar they wanted to add to their lineup.  Jimmy was an apprentice to the great New York luthier John D’Angelico.  When D’Angelico died suddenly in late 1964 Jimmy completed his production commitments and took over the business.  Jimmy wanted to expand his business and accepted the offer from Hagström to both design an acoustic archtop for their company and come to Sweden to instruct them in its construction.  He worked with Hagstrom off and on from 1967-1969.

According to Karl Erik Hagström Sr. this instrument was built in Sweden by Jimmy D’Aquisto to instruct Hagström workers in the process.  It was taken to New York as part of Hagström’s NAMM show promotion but stolen after the show.  It turned up in a Toronto pawn shop 30 years later and was purchased by a Canadian guitarist.  John Haskin purchased the guitar from that owner in the spring of 2004.  It was in bad shape: most notably the nitrocellulose binding and pick guard were chemically breaking down causing staining of the wood and oxidation of the metal parts to the extent that the tailpiece was no longer complete.

John brought the guitar to the Hagström show in Östersund, Sweden in October of 2004 where it was displayed alongside another D’Aquisto prototype owned by Ulf Zandhers (see photos).  It was during that visit that Karl Erik Sr. identified the guitar as “… the one he (Jimmy) built here to show our workers how to do it.”

To complete the restoration John sought out repair facilities to fix the instrument. New York City is still home to many D’Angelico & D’Aquisto instruments and The Mandolin Brothers on Staten Island (a borough of NYC) had extensive experience buying, selling, setting up, and repairing these valuable instruments.  Sadly, they closed their doors before John could get the Jimmy to them, however the head of their repair shop, LeRoy Aiello, continues to work on guitars through his own facility.  Aiello is considered one of the leading experts on these instruments.  He rebound the guitar, replaced the heal cap, and touched up the finish where necessary.  LeRoy also fashioned a new pick guard that matched the original, out of the nitrocellulose material Jimmy left in Sweden. Seeing that the original pickguard was gone Karl Erik Sr. gave John some of that material from the 1967-69 D’Aquisto construction collaboration so the guitar could be correctly restored.  In addition, John had the metal parts repaired and replated at Advanced Plating Inc. in Nashville, Tennessee.

In his November 21, 2016 appraisal of the instrument, LeRoy Aiello states that “all of the work on this instrument was absolutely performed by James D’Aquisto himself.”  He stated: “Given the province (sic) and rarity of this instrument, I value this guitar at $37,000.”

All reasonable offers will be considered.