Musical Masterworks:John Monteleone’s Guitars and Other Instruments Opens May 23, 2024.

The Long Island Museum is proud to announce the opening of its latest exhibition, Musical Masterworks: John Monteleone’s Guitars and Other Instruments on May 23, 2024. This major retrospective and groundbreaking exhibition celebrates the life and work of one of America’s most talented and renowned makers of archtop guitars, John Monteleone.


From his 2,400-square-foot workshop in Islip, New York, John Monteleone has crafted one-of-a-kind masterpieces of functional art, coveted by leading rock, jazz, and folk guitarists of the late-20th and early-21st centuries: Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Ben Harper, Julian Lage, and Anthony Wilson, to name just a few. Monteleone also has lifelong connections to Long Island, growing up in Islip and maintaining his workshops here, initially in Bay Shore, in 1976, before opening his current shop in Islip, in 1990.


Renowned for his perfectionism and his intense concern for materials, and for facilitating versatile performance, Monteleone has made an extraordinary lifetime journey as a craftsman of his signature guitars, mandolins, and other instruments. The master luthier has garnered international acclaim for his exquisite craftsmanship and innovative designs. Musical Masterworks Is the largest-ever exhibition of John Monteleone’s musical art assembled and offers visitors a rare opportunity to explore the extraordinary journey of John Monteleone, beginning in the early 1970s as a repairer and maker of mandolins, to producing some of the most sought-after guitars in the world. Featuring nearly 50 guitars, mandolins, and other instruments crafted by Monteleone between 1971 and 2023, the exhibition showcases the stunning beauty and unparalleled craftsmanship of his creations. 


“It is always my great honor and pleasure to create the resonating sonic beauty of these instruments and to hear them finally sing and speak to me,” says John Monteleone. “From the trees in the forest to pulsating maple and spruces on my workbench, it is my way of giving process to unleashing the songs within the wood.”


Highlights include the famed Four Seasons guitar quartet (2002-2006), on loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Monteleone’s groundbreaking Rocket Convertible guitar (1997); his beautifully ornamented Radio Wave (2004); and many examples of special model guitars and mandolins: EclipseRadio CityGrand Artist, the Train series, and more. Featuring guitars from private collections in Texas, Florida, Ohio, and Vermont, the exhibition will also be displaying iconic and historic guitars from Gibson, John D’Angelico, James D’Aquisto, and Selmer-Maccaferri.


“This exhibition showcases the artistry of an American original, a luthier with deep Long Island roots,” says Joshua Ruff, Co-Executive Director and curator of this exhibition. “John is an innovator, an artist craftsman with the needs of the guitarist and music listeners truly at heart, and our visitors are in for a treat to see all these beautiful instruments up close and all together for the first time ever.”


Musical Masterworks: John Monteleone’s Guitars and Other Instruments be on view in the History Museum at the Long Island Museum from May 23 through October 13, 2024. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to immerse yourself in the world of musical craftsmanship.


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About the Long Island Museum:

Located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook, the Long Island Museum is a Smithsonian Affiliate dedicated to enhancing the lives of adults and children with an understanding of Long Island’s rich history and diverse cultures. Regular museum hours are Thursday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m to 5 p.m. Tickets are available at the History Museum entrance; pre-registration is not required. For more information visit


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