In the Italian-American communities in the New York area a remarkable tradition of stringed instrument making has existed since the 19th century, with local craftsmen building traditional violins, mandolins, and guitars as well as American instruments such as banjos and archtop mandolins and guitars. Since the 1930s New York City has been a center for archtop guitar manufacturing, and the guitars of three makers-John D'Angelico (1905-1964), James D'Aquisto (1935-1995), and John Monteleone (b. 1947)-stand out for their quality of sound and design. The work of these three legendary artisans is firmly rooted in the long history of Italian, particularly Neapolitan, stringed instrument making. By examining their archtop guitars against the backdrop of the extensive collection of Italian and Italian-American stringed instruments in the Metropolitan Museum, Guitar Heroes traces the transformation of a centuries-old craft to meet the ever-changing demands of musicians and markets.