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  • Lee Flier
    started a topic Ampeg Dan Armstrong ADA6 See-Through Guitar

    Ampeg Dan Armstrong ADA6 See-Through Guitar

    Greetings fellow Harmony Central guitar geeks! Many of you already know me in my role as moderator of the Backstage with the Band forum, member of Atlanta based rock'n'roll band What The...?, and writer of "The Rock Files" in EQ magazine. I'm now offering up my first Pro Review here at HC, and it's a dandy - the reissue of the plexiglass-bodied Dan Armstrong ADA6.

    http://www.ampeg.com/products/daplexi/adag/index.html

    Plexiglass? Any self respecting guitarist might well ask. If you're familiar with my writing or music, you know I'm all about the classic vintage designs and don't suffer gimmicks gladly. For me to be reviewing a space-age looking see-through guitar might seem like a hopeless mismatch, and if you're a lover of fine vintage or vintage-style instruments, you might think this guitar is little more than a novelty, yourself. But think again! This guitar has an unusual design in every respect, even by today's standards, but a mere gimmick it ain't.

    The original Dan Armstrongs had a short production period - 1969 through 1971. Then as now, many guitarists seemed to balk at such a non-traditional guitar and pickup design. Only about 1700 guitars and basses were made in the initial run, but they certainly made their mark - Keith Richards used them on arguably the Stones' most acclamed tour ever (1969), and it can be heard through the monstrous Ampeg V4 head/SVT cabinet all over the fabled Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out live album, as well as the Gimme Shelter DVD. It was likely to have been used on Sticky Fingers as well.

    So as a young guitarist/certified Keith freak in the late 70's, my interest in these guitars was certainly piqued. I did have the opportunity back in the day to play original Dan Armstrongs on several occasions, as I had a friend and fellow guitarist who owned one. At the time I remember being extremely struck by its nasty, biting tone - solo notes seemed to be fairly spat out in a rage of trebly distortion, and chords were punchy and solid.

    There was also the time I found this guitar so inspiring that when playing it at a gig, I was too lost in the music to be paying much attention to mechanics, and I sliced my right hand open on the strings and splattered blood all over the guitar body. With the lights shining through the plexiglass, those blood stains looked C-O-O-L. Like some kind of punk rock lava lamp. Even better considering it was a borrowed guitar, the blood wiped right off the plastic.

    Over the years, this guitar has continued to enjoy a cult following among people who've played them. Like Ampeg guitar amps, they never seem to have caught on as huge collectors items, but are well loved and considered very underrated by those who use them, such as the Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl and the Psychedelic Furs' Richard Fortus. So needless to say, when Ampeg announced they were reissuing the Dan Armstrong, I was psyched! But how true would it be to the original? Were any concessions to modern players and technologies made in this reissue, and if so were they for better or worse? And was the original even in fact as cool as I remembered it?

    Stay tuned and we'll cover all the bases - basic information, commentary from the manufacturers and designers, gig reports, sound clips, and comparisons to the original DA. Please feel free to chime in if you have any questions - that's what the interactive Pro Review is all about!

  • Mr Followill
    replied
    I saw a metallica video where Kirk Hammet had a plexi-glass guitar. It was filled with with blue glitter gel however!


    That guitar is pretty pointless. He only uses it for like one song...Am I Evil...n thats it!

    Leave a comment:


  • neoflox
    replied
    Hm, thanks for clearing it up. I guess the Tune-o-Matic bridge is just way better for adjusting to different tunings/gauges etc.

    It is so bitter but I have to sell mine. Not by free will of course

    Leave a comment:


  • J.D. Salinger
    replied
    No, unfortunately, I no longer have the Rosewood / Brass saddle one but from what I remember they seem to sound the same.

    Might be heavier? I've also read somewhere that Dan originally didn't want to use a Tune-O-Matic because it would take away from the ADA6's "distinct sound" but people whop use them tend to gripe the most 'bout the bridge and suggest replacing it ala Scott Hill of Fu Manchu.

    Guess I got lucky here.

    Leave a comment:


  • neoflox
    replied
    Hi J.D.
    I bought mine last november and it when I looked for it back then some dealers still had the Rosewood equiped ones, I found one dealer that had the Roller bridge and snapped it right away. No dealer was fully sure what Ampeg / the distributor planned about that, they could not choose to order either one, got some of random batches it seems.

    If you have both versions, can't you tell the difference first hand? I'd be very curious for this answer aswell.

    Cheers

    Leave a comment:


  • J.D. Salinger
    replied
    Sorry for the bump but I wonder if anyone could answer a question for me.

    The one I ordered last May came with a busted toggle switch and I had to send it back.

    Fast forward to now, and I was able to get another ADA6 at a price I couldn't pass up.

    Here's the question.

    The first ADA6 came with the standard Rosewood / Brass Saddle bridge and the one I just got has the Chrome Tune-O-Matic bridge. And it still has the Rosewood pickguard.

    When did Ampeg make the switch and are there tonal differences between the two?

    Leave a comment:


  • J.D. Salinger
    replied
    I just ordered one and can't wait to get it!

    Leave a comment:


  • neoflox
    replied
    And another bump from another ADA6 user

    I've seen those pickup wiring schematics up here and wondered if any one has an experience with modding the bandpass effect for a less subtle sound?

    cheers!

    Leave a comment:


  • BERT1FLORES
    replied
    WTF ever happened to Miss Lee and the conclusion to this review.

    Leave a comment:


  • theweight
    replied
    great review so far!!!

    go on and please post some pictures of it!

    hw des it compare tonewise to the original



    Seriously? The original post is 2 years old.

    Leave a comment:


  • D Carroll
    replied
    That is a beautiful guitar. Great review as well.

    Leave a comment:


  • Cliff Fiscal
    replied
    I'm hoping Lee let's me play her dan, and her vintage lp.

    Hopfully I learn something too.......atlanta '08

    Leave a comment:


  • theweight
    replied
    I have a 2006 RI, which I bought after playing one at NAMM here in July 2006 and a 1970 original. Here's my '06:



    Ampeg nailed the original and actually improved upon it with the RI. I got my original from Gruhn Guitars in April 1991 after lusting after one since first seeing Keith wield his in "Gimme Shelter" as a kid in the '70s. My '70 is an amazing guitar, but the new one is slightly better. This is how all re-issue guitars should be made! And yes, the case for the RI is awesome. The Ampeg Dan Armstrong remains my fave electric guitar of all time.



    If you're gonna bump an old thread this exactly the way to do it. Excellent distraction for a Saturday night. Bravo.

    Leave a comment:


  • HeatherAnnePeel
    replied
    I have a 2006 RI, which I bought after playing one at NAMM here in July 2006 and a 1970 original. Here's my '06:



    Ampeg nailed the original and actually improved upon it with the RI. I got my original from Gruhn Guitars in April 1991 after lusting after one since first seeing Keith wield his in "Gimme Shelter" as a kid in the '70s. My '70 is an amazing guitar, but the new one is slightly better. This is how all re-issue guitars should be made! And yes, the case for the RI is awesome. The Ampeg Dan Armstrong remains my fave electric guitar of all time.

    Leave a comment:


  • Zon5string
    replied
    I have a bass (1970) which I bought in 1980. My older brother had gone to college with a guy who had one along with a V4B. Told me that if I ever saw one...buy it immediately! That day came, and I did. No regrets whatsoever. It's a little beat up...someone played it left handed for a while (there are fingernail polish position dots painted on the "underside" edge of the neck), and the pickguard broke where the jack is (probably the most common thing to find broken on DAs), but my local repair guy made a rosewood shim and made it look nice.

    It's certainly not my main bass, but I do use it. Intonation is not perfect, but close enough. That thin, fast neck is almost too easy to play.

    Leave a comment:













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