Gudelsky / Custom 16 3/4" Thin Body Arch Top / 1991 / Honey Amber'burst / Guitar For Sale
About Paul Gudelsky (August 3, 1963-May 1996)
“The more I exist on this earth, the more I get the impression that many things happen for a reason . . . since Jim D’Aquisto’s death, I’ve begun to see that he was right about destiny finding its way.”
In the winter of 1964, John D’Angelico was found dead of heart failure by his apprentice, James D’Aquisto. D’Angelico was only 59. D’Aquisto was 29 years old at the time, and he inherited “the bench.” Paul Gudelsky was not yet a year old. Some 30 years later, however, Paul found himself writing a eulogy for his friend and mentor, James D’Aquisto, who, like D’Angelico, also died at the age of 59. Thus, at 32, Gudelsky inherited “the bench.”
According to destiny’s designs, the story should continue on; but, killed just shy of the age of 33, Gudelsky had “the bench” for less than a year. Instead, it has reached its final destination, here at the National Music Museum, preserving the story of the two great guitar makers of the 20th century, while honoring the foresight of Gudelsky, who believed in making guitars that would be played in the present, but have historical significance, as well. It is also a tribute to his widow, Louise A. Palazola, whose persistence made this memorial exhibit possible.
Paul was the third child born to Harriet Silverman and Erwin M. Gudelsky in Silver Spring, Maryland. A music lover, his mother was determined that her children would grow up with music “. . . with music, one can be alone and yet never be lonely,” as she puts it. Paul played piano and guitar and made a short film about a young man who, in artistic fury and frustration, smashes his guitar on the railroad tracks. He studied sculpture, moved on to the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, and then settled in the hills northeast of Vista, California. In 1990, he apprenticed with James D’Aquisto.
After the apprenticeship, Paul decided to focus almost exclusively on building arch-tops. What he admired most was D’Aquisto’s ability to understand the entire instrument at once—”a whole concept to be realized without rules, without constraints.” He defined the terms of his life as a luthier: to learn as much as possible from the “masters,” to work from the same bench, and then to surpass them in order to help the instrument grow.
Through all of this he was accompanied by Louise, an accomplished photographer. They shared a vibrant, artistic life of creativity and travel. They were married in May 1987, and their son, Mason, was born in November 1991.