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2000 Monteleone Grand Artist
 
Peghead Nation Weekly Mandolin Workout instructor Ethan Setiawan demonstrates his main instrument.
June 19, 2024
 

Based on Long Island, New York, luthier John Monteleone is best known as one of the world’s premier builders of archtop guitars. He had been revered by many top players for years but exhibits of his instruments at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and a feature length documentary (The Chisels are Calling) sealed his place in the upper echelon of stringed instrument makers. The acclaim for Monteleone’s guitars has perhaps overshadowed the renown in the mandolin world that defined his early career, which included building Mike Marshall’s mandocello as well as instruments played by Don Stiernberg, David Grisman, and others. 

Peghead Nation’s newest instructor, Ethan Setiawan (whose Weekly Mandolin Workout course debuted this month), came across his Monteleone Grand Artist mandolin while demoing instruments at the Music Emporium in Lexington, Massachusetts (check out that demo here!) in 2021. “I demoed it in February, and it made an impression on me. It was still there in September, so I went back and bought it,” Ethan recalls. Built in 2000, the mandolin (serial number 172) had a couple of previous owners before it wound up at the Music Emporium. It is constructed with premium grade flamed maple back and sides and a gorgeous spruce top, and it features a “violin red” finish and Monteleone’s signature modern aesthetic. 

Since acquiring the mandolin, Ethan had it refretted with larger fretwire, which he says makes the instrument easier to play and easier to set up. He also had a new set of Waverly tuners installed, and uses a Dan Voight armrest and a Tone-Guard, which is installed on the back of the instrument. He finds that a D’Addario Custom Medium set of strings offers the perfect balance between the mandolin’s bass and treble. “The thing that struck me when I first played it was the responsiveness,” Ethan says. “It gives a lot back. It lets you know what’s happening.” Ethan also says that the instrument’s tone has matured in the time he has owned it. “When I first got it, it had this great high end, which it still has, but the low end really started to come in, maybe a year after I started playing it. It has really evolved into a nicely balanced instrument.” To study with Ethan, enroll in his Weekly Mandolin Workout course!

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The flatpicking virtuoso performs the Bill Monroe classic on a Collings D2 A Hill Country.
 
 
 
 
 
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    ● Courses
    ● Live Workshops
    ● Instructors
    ● Sample Lessons
    ● Notation Guide
    ● For Beginners
 
 
    ● Vintage Vault
    ● New Gear
    ● Fine Lutherie
 
 
    ● Workshops
    ● Advice
    ● Repertoire
 
 
    ● Recordings
    ● Events
    ● Breaking News
 
 
    ● In The Studio
    ● Live Onstage
    ● Backroom
 
 
    ● New Products
    ● Inside Look
    ● Performances
    ● Partner Pages
 
 
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