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Dan Armstrong ADAG-1 Lucite Guitar (Japan) Guitars

1998 Ampeg Dan Armstrong ADAG-1 Lucite Guitar (Japan)

Color: Clear Plexiglass, Rating: 9.50, Sold (ID# 02080)
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The 1998 Japanese reissue - compared to the 1968 original, as being identical

 

1998 Ampeg Dan Armstrong ADAG-1 Lucite Guitar (Japan)


 

This Dan Armstrong Lucite Guitar weighs 9.00 lbs. and features a clear Plexiglass body with beveled edges. Three-piece, four-bolt maple neck with a nut width of just under 1 11/16 inches, a scale length of 25 inches and a wonderful thick profile. 'Slab' rosewood fretboard with 24 original medium frets and inlaid silver dot position markers. Headstock with wood veneer face and specific shaped wood veneer truss-rod cover secured by three screws. Individual Grover Roto-Matic tuners with half-moon metal buttons. The sides of the neck are stamped with the serial number "DA 08020065" and "Made in Japan". The two interchangeable 'Kent Armstrong' pickups have outputs of 8.88k (Humbucker) and 3.97k (Single-Coil). Wood laminate over aluminum pickguard with eight screws, lettered in white "Dan Armstrong Ampeg". Two controls (one volume, one tone) and a three way tone selector switch. Specific aluminum control knobs with ribbed sides. Height adjustable rosewood base with six individually adjustable brass saddles on a specific chrome-plated base secured by four screws. Complete with the two interchangeable pickups (Humbucker and Single-Coil)  and the truss-rod adjustment tool. This highly unusual and great playing and sounding guitar is in mint (9.50) condition. Housed in the original Ampeg four-latch, shaped black pattern hardshell case with padded maroon plush lining (9.50).

Dan Armstrong (October 7, 1934 – June 8, 2004) was an American guitarist, luthier, and session musician. In 1965 he opened his own guitar repair shop, 'Dan Armstrong's Guitar Service', on West 48th Street. In 1968 the Ampeg Company of Linden, New Jersey hired Armstrong as a consultant to improve their Grammer line of guitars. He designed a new line of guitars and basses that were constructed of clear Plexiglas. These guitars had interchangeable pickups designed by Bill Lawrence who shared the Greenwich Village shop with Armstrong, and eventually took it over when Armstrong moved to London. The guitars had long sustain caused by the solid Plexiglas body, though that material made for a heavy guitar—around 10 lbs. There was a reissue, made in Japan, in 1998, where the reissue was compared to the 1968 original, as being identical.

"1998 began a new chapter for the Dan Armstrong acrylic guitars and basses as on August 26, 1998 Ampeg announced that it is reissuing the Dan Armstrong Ampeg line of instruments made famous in the late 1960's and early 1970's… It all began at a NAMM show back in 1997 when Kent Armstrong, while at his own products booth was visited by representatives of St. Louis Music - then the owner of the Ampeg franchise which was going to be celebrating their 50th Anniversary the next year. As part of this celebration Ampeg was once again producing their old product lines. Along with an entire line of amplifiers made to look and sound like the amps of yesteryear, Ampeg also wanted to include the Dan Armstrong Ampeg clear guitars & basses in this 'updated reissue' project.
Although St. Louis Music had worked with Dan throughout the 1980's selling guitars and pickups that Dan made for them it was always under the SLM name & not the Ampeg name - at least not directly. This project was going to be different however, for although Ampeg had changed ownership many times over the years, and none of the present management even involved, they nevertheless knew that they were standing on thin ice with Dan given the history of how he parted company with Ampeg back in 1971. The situation was explosive, and demanded a delicate pair of diplomatic gloves, for while Ampeg owned the rights to the acrylic guitars & basses, they did not own the rights to the Dan Armstrong name - which they desperately wanted to use. "It just wouldn't be a Dan Armstrong clear guitar without Dan's name on it." said a former Ampeg employee who finished by adding "but it was such a hot potato that none of us really wanted to approach him about it." Enter Kent Armstrong, who was not only Dan's son but also a well known and highly regarded pickup designer who was approached by representatives of Ampeg and who asked if he would check with his father as to whether or not Dan would be interested in reissuing these instruments. At the same time, they asked Kent if he would consider making the pickups for the instruments as nobody else in the business even wanted to try it. Kent had their contact information so he told them he would check with Dan, then check his own molding system to see if he could mass produce the pickups for these instruments. Shortly after the NAMM show he contacted Dan about the project. Not surprisingly, Dan wasn't interested. According to Kent, Dan replied "I don't do retro......" Kent went on to add "but then changed his mind shortly thereafter." Why the change of heart, we will never know. Perhaps it was simply a matter of finances, for Dan eventually settled on a flat rate from Ampeg vs. a percentage of every sale. Dan had recently finished up his affairs with Cerwin-Vega as the Hot Cabs project had come to an end, so maybe he decided that it was the logical move to make at this point in his life.
After looking over his lab processes Kent figured that he would be able to mass produce the pickups for these instruments. Although the pickups were not going to be cheap, they were not out of reach, and so after contacting Ampeg with news of a 'green light' - the project was quickly underway. Unlike the original Dan Armstrong · Ampeg instruments which were made in Linden, NJ these instruments were made in Japan by FujiGen-Gakki, which is a musical instrument manufacturer based in Matsumoto which is a city located in Nagano Prefecture of Japan. These instruments were made to Ampeg's exact specifications, though there were changes that were designed in as improvements over the original design. Many things remained the same however, for example, the clear instrument has a washer placed around the output jack on the scratchplate. Musicians were still stepping on their guitar cords and cracking the scratchplate in and around the input jack. One of the biggest changes to the instrument was the bridge. The bridges on the original instruments were simply a piece of rosewood, while later models had a fret across the bridge to enhance the treble. The reissue instruments also feature a rosewood bridge. However, the bridge has been redesigned to alleviate an age old problem - intonation. The rosewood bridge now features brass insert type saddle pieces to perfect intonation. These brass inserts are preset for the bass instrument, but are adjustable for the guitar model." (Dan Armstrong. The Man and his Guitars).
 

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