Home > Design, Music, People, Things I Like... > Ampeg Dan Armstrong Acrylic guitar…

Ampeg Dan Armstrong Acrylic guitar…

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

We ended up at home in time to watch a Later with Jools Holland “best of” show on Friday night, and the sight and sound of Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters playing that most excellent of guitars, the Ampeg Dan Armstrong Plexiglass has been in my head ever since…

My guitar buying days were back in the early 1990’s when, after lots of magazine buying, reading and talking to friends, I opted for a rather fine Japanese Silver Series Squire Telecaster, stylish and affordable. What I really wanted though (but couldn’t afford) was either a Gibson Semi-Acoustic (as wielded by Steve Howe and Geordie) or this truly innovative transparent wonder…

Dan Armstrong was a well respected American guitar maker and session musician when he was hired by the Ampeg Company in 1968 to improve their line of guitars. The idea to use solid acrylic (or Lucite in the US) was an unusual one, as timber was generally thought to give greater depth and sustain.

Armstrong’s contention however was that the electrics within the guitar, along with any outboard effects would be able to create a much better and faithful sound if the vibration of the instrument was limited only to the strings, with the body being as inert as possible. Acrylic fitted the bill perfectly, not only for stability but also for its striking looks (enhanced by a very fetching formica scratch plate no less) and the guitar was an immediate success…

As a piece of design it seems to perfectly catch the spirit of the early 1970’s, with its sensuous curves, and its combination of the modern and the kitsch (both in technological and material terms). It certainly doesn’t look like it was conceived over 40 years ago.

The guitar and a virtually identical bass version, were made for only a very short period of time (1969 to 1971) as Ampeg and Armstrong fell out over money, and this has resulted in a relative scarcity of original versions. It is because of this (and their sound of course) that they can command a large price tag, which these days can be anything from about £2500 upwards (although the bass’s are a bit cheaper…)

Along with Dave Grohl, famous players have included Ronnie Wood, Geezer Butler on bass from Sabbath, Greg Ginn from Black Flag and John Frusciante from the Chili Peppers…

One more thing of possible interest to people like me, is that Dave Grohl’s guitar appears to have the four Black Flag stripes on the body (much like Greg Ginn’s above).. What I don’t know is if this is a homage thing on Dave’s part, or is actually the same guitar…

Answers on a postcard please…

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  1. October 1, 2012 at 18:44

    Hi Wharferj,
    I know what you mean, We’ve gone through quite a bit as a nation over the last several years. And while most of our emphasis has been on national and international issues, we still have to deal with keeping all of our own businesses going and hopefully growing right here at home.
    BTW great blogpost

  2. October 30, 2012 at 06:25

    I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see a nice blog like this one today..

  3. lag
    January 18, 2013 at 11:33

    “I’ve said that least 4775397 times. SCK was here”

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