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Legendary Guitar Brand Tunes Into its Lower East Side Past

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A legendary name in guitars is back after nearly half a century of silence, and some New Yorkers are behind the rebirth. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.

The GTR showroom on West 28th Street in Chelsea is the epicenter of the re-launch of a renowned guitar brand.

"Think the word Stradivarius. Handmade. Attention to detail. The man was a genius," said D'Angelico Guitars and GTR Store President Steve Pisani.

The man Pisani was referring to was John D'Angelico who could once be found at the Lower East Side workshop where he handcrafted 1,164 sought-after guitars between 1932 and his death in 1964.

Afterwards, the D'Angelico brand was pretty much silent until Steve Pisani, Brendan Cohen and their partner John Ferolito Jr. purchased it a few years ago and then started producing a new generation of guitars.

"It's crazy. We are in over 20 countries and it's only been a year. It's really incredible how much people really love the D'Angelico brand," said D'Angelico Guitars and GTR Store CEO Brendan Cohen.

And to make sure the new guitars were worthy of the name, the guys had MRI's and x-rays taken of some of John D'Angelico's originals as part of the design phase.

"They look inside, they look at every inch of this guitar," Pisani said.

Prices for the resulting instruments range from $1,200 for the Standard Series made in South Korea to $12,000 for ones handmade in California. But the owners take pride that the home office remains close to where John D'Angelico created his masterpieces.

"To be able to have our headquarters here in Manhattan, and launch the brand from this area just adds another layer of excitement to what we're doing," Pisani said.

A replica of a 1942 D'Angelico model called the XL already has a pretty big fan - Eric Clapton - who has signed it.

There are plenty of other guitars including vintage and unique models. Visitors to the showroom can try one out in a space that the owners say slightly resembles the living room of Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards.

''Not only can they try the guitars on stools or sitting on the couch, but play up on stage," Pisani said.

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