Rafaele Tieri was one of a few truly fine Italian and Italian-American stringed instrument makers working in New York City in the 1930s. During the period prior to WWII, his workshop was located in the neighbourhood known as ‘Little Italy’, within a few blocks of that of John D’Angelico. Indeed, it’s possible that the two men knew each other.

1930s Tieri Archtop

Matt Umanov recalls seeing a variety of instruments by Tieri over the years including mandolins, harp-guitars, flattops and of course 16-inch Gibson L-5 style archtops like the guitar pictured here. “I’ve know of a couple of other Tieri guitars but none as fine as this one,” Matt recalls. “It has huge tone and volume and is right there in the same realm as an early Gibson L-5.” The interior label shows Tieri’s picture and address, for which the building still exists.

Images above courtesy of Matt Umanov

Raffaele Tieri labels from (left) flattop guitar and (right) Tenor guitar

Images courtesy of Players Vintage Instruments