Monteleone 1992 Mandola Round Sound Hole, made for Elizabeth Taylor #159
John Monteleone is widely considered to be one of the world's preeminent builders of archtop guitars. Having started his career as a repairman for the famous (and now defunct) Mandolin Brothers on Staten Island, Monteleone quickly garnered a reputation for quality and design. Some of his work was featured in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on loan from Rudy Pensa himself.
This mandola is a very special piece: it was commissioned personally by the late actress Elizabeth Taylor as a gift for her son. This mandola features John's incredible craftsmanship, with its orange stained spruce top being incredibly resonant, along with the highly flamed back, sides, and neck, balancing out the tone for a warm, present, poppy sound that would sit well in any mix but still allow the player to be heard in any situation. This mandola can do anything from Bill Monroe to Bach.
Serial #159. Comes with deluxe hardshell case.
Check out the fascinating 2021 documentary on the luthier called "John Monteleone: The Chisels Are Calling," available from various sources online. Rudy appears in the film, too, along with a star-studded list of guitarists including Mark Knopfler, Ben Harper, David Grisman, Mike Marshall, Julian Lage, Anthony Wilson, Woody Mann, and others.