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Lee Flier

Ampeg Dan Armstrong ADA6 See-Through Guitar

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WOW!

This was my DREAM guitar! The very first one that I paid for with my own hard earned cash!... $400.00 brand spankin' new in its own form-fitted, retangular hardshell case. I'd never seen anything like it before in my life and it was SOO COOL! I sure wish I still had it now....... if only I'd known that I'd miss it so much.

 

Unfortunately, I traded it for a "64 Strat (not a bad deal by itself) and it ended up in the hands of a pawnshop dealer/slash guitar collector/player wannabe a year later who wouldn't sell it back to me after getting it from the kid I traded with for the Strat.

 

It must have been a low serial number (below 2,000) because as you can see from the images below, I called or wrote to Ampeg within the first year and got an update manual in March of '71 that shows how to rewire the guitar for increased performance. I think I gave the original receipt and/or registration card (if there was one) to the kid when we traded, so I don't have that anymore.... too bad! I did very little to this guitar outside of the update mod and shimming the neck, which was bolted on with large bolts with smoothly rounded, low profile heads... there's a name for these, but I can't think of it.

 

I also owned a bass (serial number also in the 1,000s) at one point a few years later, which made me regret having traded the guitar even back then. The bass went through some mods too... some for the sake of the update, but I also changed the tuners to Shallers because the original ones were so tiny... and I put in an adjustable Precission-type adjustable bridge because the original wood one just didn't cut it. I still have the wood bridge from the bass, which was stolen along with the Strat.... wouldn't 'cha know.

 

The bridge of the guitar and bass were simple wood with a little brass peg in the bottom to keep them from shifting side-to-side... there was no bridge saddle... grooves just happened from the strings resting on the wood.

 

I never could afford to get anymore pickups, but the two that came with the guitar were pretty sweet. One was referred to as a Country pickup (or something of that nature) with a single metal bar across the top of the heavy clay molding, the other had a double bar and was kind of a hot rod pickup. I always thought the slot and pin hookup was really slick, but I was always wanting for a way to forget about the thumbscrew and just slide the pickup in or out fir changing. Didn't have velcro then or I probably would have tried it.

 

That guitar had the most incredible sustain!! and the 24 fret neck was clear all the way to the edge of the body! The first of its kind, I'm pretty certain. The pickguard and headstock veneer were made of formica, I think... wore just like it... the pickguard got slick and glossy from my pinky rubbing on it all the time.

 

I never ever had trouble with this guitar. Played it in all kinds of weather conditions, inside and outside. Sweated all over it in the summer and all I had to do was wipe it down with a guitar rag and some Martin or Gibson polish. The truss rod adjustment was as smooth as can be and used a hex wrench similar to Gibson.

 

The frets wore pits a little faster than some guitars IIRC.... but I had this slick fret refinisher kit I bought through an add in Guitar Player or something.... I still use it today sometimes.

 

Somewhere around here I still have a Guitar Player ad with Keith playing one of these babies... and I used to have a pic or two of Joe Walsh with one too from when he was with the James Gang.

 

I always figured the reissue must be pretty sad compared to the real thing..... maybe that was an earlier reissue someone else has already mentioned here. I never bothered with them. This new one looks pretty sweet... and that CASE! Mine never looked so good!

 

It's late and I think I'm rambling, so I'll go to bed. I've posted a couple pics of the two versions of the user manual I received with the guitar and got later with the update. The little pics can be clicked on to view a much better image of the different pickup wiring schematics from the back cover. The handwriting is that of the tech that sent me the info... with a note I highlighted that reads, "(SER # A 2000 D & up)".

 

I've got a few more images I can post if anybody's interested. I'll come by now and then to check out what's going on here.

THIS IS VERY COOL!

 

DanT

 

ManualCover01S.jpgth_PUwiring01.jpg ManualCover02aS.jpgth_PUwiring02.jpg

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After reading up a little, I decided to revise my comments about the original guitar I owned.

 

I guess you would call the wood bridge piece the "saddle", although in my mind it WAS the bridge. The metal bridge plate below it was what held it and the strings in place.... I'd forgotten that metal plate! A lot of negative comments about its design, but although I think the new design with compensation built in is a good idea, I never had any issues with intonation as long as I changed strings regularly. It's funny too, that being the fanatic I am about string adjustment today, I never saw a real need for height adjustment at the bridge, assuming that this design helped create the great sustain this guitar had. Instead, I simply shimmed the neck ever so slightly to bring the strings just a bit closer to the neck.

 

The large bolts holding the neck on (as I remembered them) were actually the nut end... the bolt being imbedded in the neck design. Negative comments about this design are curious to me as well. I never had issues with this design. I really liked the thinness of the neck/body joint and made great use of the "flimsy" feel as a kind of poor-man's whammy. In fact, I have always used this ever since to give a little character to my chords.

 

I'd completely forgotten the double strap pegs on the base of the body. I really appreciated that feature and made good use of it. I'm glad they've kept it in the new guitar.

 

It's sad to read that the original pickups have had problems over the years because of the material they used to encase the hardware. I really liked them... they were heavy and felt really substantial. What I described as clay was not, but felt like it to me. The name of the two pickups that came stock with the guitar were the Country Treble and the Rock Treble. I liked them both although I think I favored the double rail.

 

Anyway, just thought I'd correct a few of my earlier comments based on fuzzy memory. Hope somebody gets something useful from this.

DanT

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Hi peeps; newbie here. Thought I'd start positng with a piccie or two.

Hope these upload.

 

WOW! The black fur!! I'd forgotten about the black lining of the case. I almost thought I was looking at my own guitar for a sec. And the bridge..... it DOES have a saddle.... Hmmm. I recognize it, but can't remember what it was made of. I searched around, but couldn't find my old bass bridge. It must be made the same way.

 

I really miss that guitar.

 

DanT

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They made Bases too. My bass player back in high school had one in the 70s. It played and sounded like a dream.

I recently bought a Flying V plexiglass body guitar by Grand off the internet. After changing pickups and tuners and proper setup it plays great.

As far as sound goes it has a different tone than wood does, Its kind of a generic tone. Plastic?. Other than the neck, it doesnt respond to resonation from the amp speakers as easily either. It takes alot more volume to get that kind of feedback going.

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I first saw Greg Ginn of Black Flag using these. I figured it was a gimmick or a cheap guitar,but quickly learned that the Dan Armstrong was his number one. I later got to play a used one at a GC that was showing cracks in the plexiglass around the neck bolts. The salesperson said that cracking like that was common and wouldn't effect the guitar at all. Being unsure of this, I left it in the store. Interesting guitar. It was the Dan Amrstrongs that led me to buy one of the BC Rich plexiglass Mockingbirds when they first came out, in my search for a similar tone for less scratch. I'd like to hear how the new ones sound with the higher output 'rock humbuckers' in place.

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(snip)I later got to play a used one at a GC that was showing cracks in the plexiglass around the neck bolts. The salesperson said that cracking like that was common and wouldn't effect the guitar at all.(snip)

 

It's info like this that keeps me from pulling the trigger on a Dan Armstrong.

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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.

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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:

 

HPIM0306.jpg

 

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.

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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:


HPIM0306.jpg

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.

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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.

 

:facepalm:

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And another bump from another ADA6 user :wave:

 

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!

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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?

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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

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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.

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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 :facepalm:

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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!

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