D'Angelico any good?

Discussion in 'Other Cool Guitars' started by MrWookiee, Nov 10, 2020.

  1. afire

    afire Country Gent

    John D'Angelico is pretty well known to have been handy at building great guitars. I have no idea what these are. Samick? Jay Turser by another name? Whatever that are, they're not D'Angelicos. While I'm a vintage Gretsch snob, I wouldn't say the same about Gretsch. They were always factory built guitars and FMIC has done a respectable job of recreating the classic Gretsch guitars. I think there are/were a handful of ultra-expensive handmade D'Angelico guitars being made, but those would be the only ones that actually have anything in common with John D'Angelico's guitars.
  2. PDogga

    PDogga Gretschie

    Jul 3, 2011
    I won't get into the ethics of the business name and how "authentic" they may be in comparison to the originals from the 1960's but I bought this beauty about 6 months ago. It is from the "Premier" range which sounds expensive but is their most affordable line. Made in Indonesia. I cannot tell you much I enjoy playing it. I could not find fault with it in any way except the pickups were a bit brash and hot for my liking. I invested in some Lollar Imperial Low Wind Humbuckers and it sounds as good as it looks now. No issues with the neck / frets. Good low action with minimal buzz (even though I hit the strings hard). No finish flaws, all pots and switches work like they should etc. I'm no jazz cat - I play blues & rock and this guitar is doing it for me right now. If the Excel and Deluxe lines are built even better then I would expect them to be fabulous. Just my opinion of course:-

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  3. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    Sep 1, 2020
    I think the current headstock looks like the end of a wizard’s staff where the magic shoots out. They look like really nice guitars otherwise. Never played one but I would like to just to judge first hand.
    MrWookiee likes this.
  4. Scamp

    Scamp Gretschie

    Feb 22, 2018
    Neighbor got one from MF DOD. Almost half price. Single pickup has a really great sound. Came with a nice case. Looks nice, good finish and I kinds like the headstock. Although I think one of the best looking headstock is the Ovation's.
    Henry likes this.
  5. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    It all comes down to who owns the rights to the name. I didn’t doubt for a second that these new D’Angelicos are good instruments. But with the possible exception of some of the carved top instruments, they are not really derived from anything John D’Angelico ever built.

    Should this be happening? It’s one of those questions that is hard to answer. For years I dreamed of owning, or even playing a real D’Angelico. It doesn’t seem so important anymore. I’ve played some great archtops, including Joe Pass’ D’Aquisto. I’ve played a number of Benedettos over the years, as well.

    Sadly, the day of the big carved-top archtop guitar has all but passed. It was the perfect tool for old school jazz guitar, which I love, but that music is not gaining in popularity, these days. If, by some miracle, I found an outlet for my Jazz, I’d almost certainly buy a Sadowsky, laminate instrument, which is basically a D’Aquisto Jazz Line, produced in Japan.

    So, with that in mind, I guess I’m glad to see that the proud D’Angelico headstock lives on, even if it’s not being used on guitars that are of the same design as the originals.

    That headstock was the thing. Art Deco like the Chrysler building. No, it doesn’t “fit” some of these guitars, but that is the D’Angelico signature. These were luxurious instruments, meant to announce that you had arrived, as a guitarist. It was like the fins one a ‘59 Cadillac. It wasn’t meant to be subtle; it was meant to stand out.
    petem1966, DHart and MrWookiee like this.
  6. HypotenusLuvTriangle

    HypotenusLuvTriangle Country Gent

    Oct 27, 2010
    Whittier, Ca

    Haha. Just change the color to match the body. Its not that hard.
  7. BCRatRod73

    BCRatRod73 Gretschie

    Sep 1, 2020
    A jig saw would be my only solution, but then why bother?
  8. malc

    malc Electromatic

    Jun 10, 2020
    The resurgence of the name and the manufacturing has changed (at least once). I bought a Vestax model (as they are known) It is laminated top and floating PU. The action and tuning stability is excellent. I paid circa £3000.00 in London. It plays better than some of the Gibsons that I own or have tried. I don't know about the quality of the current production but if it is as good as the one I have, I would certainly recommend them. Try before you buy (always!). It seems strange to me these days that people buy on line especially in the US when you have such wonderful music shops. The original guitars were the 'ultimate' in quality and I think are mostly in the hands of collectors.

    Attached Files:

    MrWookiee likes this.
  9. Synchro

    Synchro The artist formerly known as: Synchro Staff Member

    Jun 2, 2008
    Admin Post
    I’ve played a Korean made (post Vestax) model, and it was pretty good.

    There are some great shops in the US, but unless you are buying something very popular, chances are that you won’t be able to try it out beforehand. Even Rainbow Guitars, which is an excellent dealer, is hit or miss for Gretsch. I don’t know where I could play a D’Angelico, unless I went to New York. It would be cheaper to buy it and ship it back if it wasn’t up to snuff.
  10. DHart

    DHart Synchromatic

    Jun 26, 2019
    Synchro... try Guitar Center - Tucson store, also there are 4 Phoenix stores. That's where I found mine and I wasn't even looking for a D'Angelico.

    I think that most of us here, who have any knowledge of D'Angelico guitars, understand well that today's offerings are not the same as the hand-made originals of many decades ago.

    And those who have no knowledge of D'Angelico guitars, but see them in the marketplace today, wouldn't even be aware that way back when there were some very hand-made models made in NYC. So... to me the old vs the new is no big whup. Just different guitars, made in a completely different time and place.

    I think it's great that John D'Angelico's name lives on in guitars that, while not the same as the hand-made versions decades ago, are nonetheless excellent quality guitars which serve the guitarist quite well indeed. There are plenty of very well-respected guitarists who play today's production D'Angelico guitars and love them. Judge the guitars for what they are: modern production instruments made in S. Korea and in Indonesia. And compare them (plus and minus) to other guitars offered today from Gretsch (Japan & China), Gibson (USA), Epiphone (China and USA) and others.

    In the comparison, today's D'Angelico guitars come out quite comparably to other similarly priced instruments, and in some cases come out ahead.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2020
    petem1966, Henry and MrWookiee like this.
  11. DHart

    DHart Synchromatic

    Jun 26, 2019
    PDogga... I played one of those Premier models a while back at Guitar Center and came away quite impressed, especially at the price, which was around $800, as I recall. Great guitar for a very reasonable price.
  12. EttoreMenguzzo

    EttoreMenguzzo Electromatic

    Mar 27, 2021
    I'm owner of a D'Angelico Bedford: this one << Deluxe Bedford ® | Deluxe Series | D'Angelico Guitars
    Excellent guitar, one of the best I ever had. I spent a lot of money for Fender, Les Paul, Yamaha, Ibanez and so on. I would say this is a fair competitor.
    And eye catching live.
    Totally different from the P90 Gretsch sound.
    Henry and MrWookiee like this.
  13. speedicut

    speedicut Friend of Fred

    Jun 5, 2012
    That Bedford is a cool looking guitar!
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