Vintage electric D'Angelicos

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by bigsby'd, May 14, 2013.

  1. bigsby'd

    bigsby'd Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    A few months ago, I bought a vintage D'Angelico electric. I've tried to find out as much as I could about them, but not much is written, and there seems to be about as much confusion as fact out there. Most had plywood bodies supplied by United (Premier, Univox and others) or Code (pronounced Co-Day). Most had Fransche/Franz pickups, either white pick-guards, or single-bound tortoise. Hardware varied. Some had "classic" tailpieces, others didn't. Some had New Yorker truss rod covers, others didn't. The necks were 100% Kenmare street John D'Angelico. Most bodies were maple laminated, and a lot were flamed like crazy. Often called G7s, it seems likely that is the notation by the body supplier, and not by D'Angelico. They don't get anywhere near the respect of acoustic D'Angelicos with carved tops, but I think these are great looking guitars that are historically important. Here are some pics I've collected.
    First is mine:
    [​IMG]

    This one looks like it might be spruce, and the body is shaped a little different than most. Has the electric style neck though:
    [​IMG]

    Interesting tailpiece on this one, and replacement p90s:
    [​IMG]

    Small body, DeArmond pickup. Altered Guild tailpiece is likely original:

    [​IMG]

    Beautiful sunburst, older style tailpiece.
    [​IMG]

    Super flamey single pickup, older style tailpiece:
    [​IMG]

    ignore this one...it's an Excel that someone electrified. I'd hit it. I love this one, although the concept would make many cringe I'm sure.

    [​IMG]

    Last seen in Japan, this beauty has uber-rare Gold Franz pickups, and an old style tailpiece.
    [​IMG]

    Angled bridge pickup....not sure if it had a neck pickup, tailpiece replaced by a Bigsby....if you're going to play Stooges covers on a guitar that's arguably on the level of a Stradivarius, this would be your first choice.
    [​IMG]

    Beautiful sunburst, classic tailpiece, replaced pickups.
    [​IMG]

    Thats it for now. I'm still looking for a clean photo of Joe Beck's....his had a unique headstock shape (open book)


    I'd love if anyone else has photos or comments to share about these rare red-headed step children.
     
  2. nmiller

    nmiller Drowning in lap steels

    Joined:
    May 4, 2008
    Messages:
    4,618
    Location:
    Rocky Hill, CT
    They're certainly cool guitars. United's bodies had top-quality construction, though their plastic parts (binding and some pickguards) tended to rot over time. Those Franz pickups are superb as well - a bit more cutting power than a contemporary Gibson P-90.

    How are the neck profiles? I assume they're nice and chunky, as was the norm in those days.
     
  3. DRS

    DRS Member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2011
    Messages:
    6,175
    Location:
    British Columbia
    Cool pics.

    We all think about the mega$$$ hand-made DAs made by the man himself but DA also tried his hand at affordable models with the United bodies.
     
  4. bigsby'd

    bigsby'd Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    It seems all the NY/NJ guitars had the binding rot issues. D'Angelicos, the United family of guitars, Gretsch, Guild, Epi. I've seen celluloid tortoise rot on Gibsons of the era, but never their binding. The necks are big and comfortable. The neck on mine might be the favorite of all my guitars, and I don't particularly like 25.5" scales....but mine just wants to be played.
     
  5. bigsby'd

    bigsby'd Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Both D'Angelico and D'Aquisto would make what customers asked for, and the guitars were more often than not bespoke pieces. I don't know if the plywood electrics were custom ordered, or built to sell "off the rack". I didn't think I'd ever end up with a blonde cutaway 50's D'A, so I'm pretty glad he made these guitars. :)
     
  6. bigsby'd

    bigsby'd Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    Here's one Brad used to own, as posted in the epic D'Angelico thread on this forum. Some changed parts, small body.
    [​IMG]
     
  7. bigsby'd

    bigsby'd Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    And another small one.
    [​IMG]
     
  8. bigsby'd

    bigsby'd Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2010
    Messages:
    258
    Location:
    Philadelphia
    I found this one on Instagram. This could possibly be the same guitar as the one above with the Bigsby.
    [​IMG]
     

Share This Page