John Monteleone was born in Manhattan, New York City, USA in 1947 and was raised on Long Island. His family traces their roots to Palermo, Italy. John’s father was skilled artists and sculptor. John also learned woodworking from his father as well as the ability to understand a variety of materials and designs.
He had taught himself at an early age to build guitars and began professionally restoring and building stringed musical instruments in 1973 after graduating Tarkio College with a degree to teach music. Recognized as being one of the finest living archtop guitar and mandolin makers in the world today, John Monteleone has been at the forefront of innovative cutting-edge archtop instrument making for many years.
His uniquely designed instruments are the essence of artistic expression, reflected of form and function. John, more than forty years he refreshing his passion for new and elegant designs. His mission in life is to produced instruments of great tonal expression.
A dedication to the refined harmonic balances of tone and playability is always the central nucleus of structural foundation around which he often introduces the more interesting design accents and playful nature of his original and beautiful works.
Although Monteleone offers a line of standard high-end instruments he is also well known for his one-of-a kind extravagantly individualized and prized custom works of playable musical art.
Today his work is recognized like one of the best art works in the music world of guitars. He probably is marked like the best maker of guitars in the whole world. Many collaborations and performances with artists such as: Mark Knopfler, Paul Glasse, Martin Taylor, Joe Lostritto, Woody Mann, Don Stiernberg, Chico Pinheiro, Anthony Wilson and many more artists and musicians are part of his biography.
Mark Knopfler even has a music song about Monteleone. On his 2009 album “Get Lucky”, Mark made song “Monteleone” and is for John and his amazing work.
Back in 2002, Monteleone undertook his most ambitious project to create a set of guitars that would function as individual instruments as well as a quartet. He decided upon the theme of the four seasons and decorated each guitar in a way that represented the subject while giving each instrument a different voice. Each instrument has side sound holes, inside, visible to only the player, are drawings on the rib that relate to the season represented by the guitar.
After completing the instruments in 2006, Monteleone commissioned a work to be composed for the ensemble by the composer and guitarist Anthony Wilson. Interesting fact is that Mark Knopfler has his own collection of Monteleone guitars. Below we will present you the guitars that Mark have it.
Monteleone Isabella 2008
This custom guitar was made for Mark Knopfler in 2008 by John Monteleone. The guitar was used on the song “Monteleone” Knopfler’s 2009 album “Get Lucky”. Mark personally selected the quilted Oregon big-leaf maple, the Adirondack red spruce and Macassar ebony from an assortment of woods while visiting Monteleone in Long Island. Interesting is that this guitar is named after Mark’s eldest daughter.
Monteleone Autumn 2005
This guitar is a part of John’s most ambitious project for creating guitars for four seasons. Mark had a chance to play on that guitar and to make some pictures.
Monteleone Spring 2005
Another guitar from that project, but we do not know if Mark has this one in his collection. Anyway this guitar is amazing and has own sound of playing and Mark know how to make that very good. There are three more guitars form Monteleone connected with Mark, but we do not have more information about it. Anyway we know that Mark Knopfler and John Monteleone has good collaboration and they both create magic for the music and for people enjoyment.