• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


Anyone tried the EX-line of D'Angelico Guitars recently?

Smashies

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,608
Comments and reviews on the Korean-made D'Angelicos made within the past few years are sparse on the interwebs—just putting a feeler out for opinions, experiences, thoughts, musings, etc.

Thanks TGP!
 

Northerner

Member
Messages
1,732
Not recently.
Played a bunch of them at the NAMM show about 5 or 6 years ago and actually preferred the Korean made ones.
 

Sancho

Member
Messages
632
I played two earlier this year. Nice guitars, sounded good, fit and finish was decent.
But the headstock threw me off big time.
 

axe4me

Member
Messages
4,115
There's a big drop off from being the best to having someone buy your name and producing a product that's light years inferior to the original.
I've played a real New Yorker and the current batch of D'Angelico guitars are an insult.

John D'Angelico must be spinning in his grave.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D'Angelico
 
Last edited:
Messages
5,111
There's a big drop off from being the best to having someone buy your name and producing a product that's light years inferior to the original.
I've played a real New Yorker and the current batch of D'Angelico guitars are an insult.

John D'Angelico must be spinning in his grave.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_D'Angelico
In the case of D'Angelico I agree 100% that badge engineering doesn't work. It can work very well though. Take the Japanese Gretsch line for example; compared with some of the woeful 50s and 60s examples I've seen they're in a different league altogether-flawlessly made with great attention to detail and very comfortable playability
 

axe4me

Member
Messages
4,115
In the case of D'Angelico I agree 100% that badge engineering doesn't work. It can work very well though. Take the Japanese Gretsch line for example; compared with some of the woeful 50s and 60s examples I've seen they're in a different league altogether-flawlessly made with great attention to detail and very comfortable playability
Gretsch guitars from the 50's used horrible glues and the bindings just flaked off and broke apart.
Having said that, these guitars, with all their issues, were unique and iconic.
I had a 1955 Gretsch "Cadillac Green" Country Club that sounded superb but had binding issues and needed a neck reset in the worst way.
I bought that CC for $150.00 in the early 80's.
At that time, I didn't know anyone who did neck resets.
I parted with that guitar for a huge profit.
Brian Setzer (then removed from The Bloodless Pharaohs to the beginnings of The Stray Cats) contacted me after it was sold and was a bit disappointed.
Gretsch was bought by Baldwin in 1967.
Baldwin moved Gretsch to Ark. in 1970.
Baldwin Gretsch guitars were pretty bad.

The current line of Gretsch guitars appears to have the same charm as the originals but made more sturdy.
I currently have 3 of the current Duo Jet type guitars.
Gretsch is now being distributed by Fender.
My green sparkle 6129 is a pre - Fender distributed guitar.
I sold/traded off my Japanese Streamliner and one of those 6120 knock offs.

The current batch of Gretsch guitars can stand on their own merit as quality guitars.
The D'Angelico knockoffs do not take quality and sound in a new direction.
These D'Angelico knockoffs are souless cardboard sounding thuds that only resemble orchestral masterpieces of a long gone true master craftsman.
IMO, the current D'Angelico product is just a box with strings attached.
They don't sound good.
 
Last edited:
Messages
5,111
Gretsch guitars from the 50's used horrible glues and the bindings just flaked off and broke apart.
Having said that, these guitars, with all their issues, were unique and iconic.
I had a 1955 Gretsch "Cadillac Green" Country Club that sounded superb but had binding issues and needed a neck reset in the worst way.
I bought that CC for $150.00 in the early 80's.
At that time, I didn't know anyone who did neck resets.
I parted with that guitar for a huge profit.
Brian Setzer (then removed from The Bloodless Pharaohs to the beginnings of The Stray Cats) contacted me after it was sold and was a bit disappointed.
Gretsch was bought by Baldwin in 1967.
Baldwin moved Gretsch to Ark. in 1970.
Baldwin Gretsch guitars were pretty bad.

The current line of Gretsch guitars appears to have the same charm as the originals but made more sturdy.
I currently have 3 of the current Duo Jet type guitars.
Gretsch is now being distributed by Fender.
My green sparkle 6129 is a pre - Fender distributed guitar.
I sold/traded off my Japanese Streamliner and one of those 6120 knock offs.

The current batch of Gretsch guitars can stand on their own merit as quality guitars.
The D'Angelico knockoffs do not take quality and sound in a new direction.
These D'Angelico knockoffs are souless cardboard sounding thuds that only resemble orchestral masterpieces of a long gone true master craftsman.
IMO, the current D'Angelico product is just a box with strings attached.
They don't sound good.
I have owned a couple of Japanese Gretsch-a Country Classic Junior double cut and a full size 6122 single cut. Both were delightful but the big 6122 was a little cumbersome. I had the bridges pinned on both.
 

guitarjb44

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
816
Waste of money- WAY overpriced because of the name. Buy a similar-style Epiphone and put the $800-$1000 you saved toward something else.

Joe
 

ljholland

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,790
I like my DC a lot. I played a lot of Epis and custom shop gibsons during my semi search. I like the DC better.

Most of the Gibsons I've played sounded rather flat. That might be fixed with a pickup change. I've also been disappointed in the sloppy finish work of the Gibsons. That's been discussed at great length in other threads and doesn't need to be repeated.

I don't agree that these guitars are in the same league as an Epi. My guess is those above making that comparison have never played one. I do like Epis a lot too but my DC is much nicer than any Epi I've ever played.

In terms of tone, the DC is brighter and more open than a 335. If you want woodie sounding, you might prefer a 335. Rolling off the tone control will get you that jazzy 335 tone. My DC came with a flawless setup and the finish work was perfect.
 

sixty2strat

Member
Messages
11,849
A friend had one and I thought it was a really nice archtop, I'd say better than an EPI, but not a massively better. Over the years he sold it and bought 2 real ones. While there was nothing bad about the "new" ones playing a real one was light years removed. I have played classic vintage guitars of all sorts and their modern recreations, NONE have been as far apart as these 2 guitars.
 

Smashies

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,608
Okay, wow. I suppose I should have prefaced with something along the lines of "I know they're not real D'As. I know they're made in S. Korea. I'm not put off by the fact that it's the D'A name on what is essentially a new line of guitars. I would appreciate feedback from those who can say they have played them. I am NOT asking how they sound compared to any of the only 1,100-or-so guitars that John D'Angelico made because that would be laughable—I know they're not as good, and I wouldn't expect them to be."

I know John D'Angelico is a legend, but, not to be callous, I'm more concerned with how these new EX-line of guitars play and sound than I am about John's body orientation in his casket.
 

metropolis_4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,645
There's a big drop off from being the best to having someone buy your name and producing a product that's light years inferior to the original.
I've played a real New Yorker and the current batch of D'Angelico guitars are an insult.

John D'Angelico must be spinning in his grave.
...

The D'Angelico knockoffs do not take quality and sound in a new direction.
These D'Angelico knockoffs are souless cardboard sounding thuds that only resemble orchestral masterpieces of a long gone true master craftsman.
IMO, the current D'Angelico product is just a box with strings attached.
They don't sound good.
Wait! You mean these $1200 asian import guitars aren't as good as the $35,000 vintage hand built originals!? No! o_O

I think you're missing the point, and I think it's a fallacy to consider these "knockoffs" in the first place. I don't think anyone has any delusions about these being the same as the originals. I don't even think that's what they're trying to be. I mean, I see solid bodies, humbuckers, bigsby's...

I've also been very curious about these. I love the looks and the concepts.
 

ZephyrRegent

Member
Messages
1
I own 3 of the new D'Angelico models, the EXL-1, Style B and EX-59. The workmanship is excellent, there are no flaws in the finish or fretwork. My student who has owned many more guitars than I have said it is better made than many Gibsons he has seen that sell for a few thousand more dollars. Each has a different personality regarding tone. The Style B has a soft and warm tone, more of an amplified acoustic archtop sound than the other models. The EXL-1 is very clear, precise and subtle and the EX-59 is fat and warm with a lot of depth. Acoustically, they all sound different too. The EXL-1 has a good tone for a laminate, almost as loud as my 1951 Epiphone Zephyr Regent which is loud for a laminate. The Style B has a softer tone and the EX-59 is brighter, maybe because of the maple top compare to spruce tops. None of them needed any adjustments to the frets and the intonation is fine. I like the feel of the D'Angelico necks and had no problem adjusting from having played the 1951 Epiphone Zephyr Regent since 1970. They are easier to play and after playing the new D'Angelicos for awhile my fingers hurt after playing the Epiphone for a few hours. I don't know what else I can tell you about them, feel free to ask me any questions.

I looked around online for guitars in this price range about a year ago. For $1300-$1500, I believe the D'Angelico guitars are the best value. Other guitars in the general price range were the Guild A150, Eastmans, Peerless and Ibanez. Epiphone Joe Pass or Broadway models don't compare in quality and unfortunately they don't make a higher end archtop like the Elite series Broadway anymore. The D'Angelico guitars play and sound good and are beautiful to look at. They are better quality than the Korean models of a few years back.

As to D'Angelico spinning over in his grave, he would have to make room for Epi Stathopoulos for one. The Epiphones, Guilds and Gretsches of today have little or no relation to the original companies either. People can buy a copy of an Epiphone, Guild, Gretsch or D'Aquisto too. The new D'Angelicos are good for those of us who don't have twenty thousand or more to spend on a vintage D'Angelico.
 
Last edited:

Semitone

Member
Messages
899
I have one of the early Korean EX-DC models that I bought in 2012. It is one of the versions with the ebony fingerboard and stairstep trapeze tailpiece. As has been mentioned the fit and finish are superb. The neck is exceptionally comfortable and the fretwork some of the best I have experienced. The only thing I am not particularly fond of is that the Kent Armstrong pickups are a bit hot for my taste. I tried a number of Gibson 335's and didn't find one that I liked as much in terms of playability or sound. ( I will also admit that I am not a fanatic for semi-hollows.) Although the guitar is a bit pricey for a Korean made guitar, the quality of the build is better than any other Korean built guitar I have played. I personally have no problem with how the guitar is priced and think it is good value.

I have never played one of the earlier Vestex D'Angelico's from Japan but from what I have heard the new Korean ones seem to compare favorably.

By the way, I also have an original D'Angelico archtop. I have no idea why anybody would even bring up the original archtops in response to the OP's request.
 
Last edited:

Smashies

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,608
Why use the name D'Angelico on a S.Korean guitar?

Oh, yeah, it's called selling.
You say that as if asking for money for a product is a bad thing. I mean, I like money. I also like not having to shell out more way more than I have to. I know that D'A today is "riding on" the old D'A name, but if they're doing more than that by, say, crafting a product that feels good and sounds good and is reasonably priced in light of its attributes, then I'll pay.

Also, I can say pretty confidently that if you take an EX-line guitar made today, and a Gibson ES-335 made today, and you look at the reasoning factors behind the pricing for each (e.g. labor costs, materials, marketing, and, most relevant here, goodwill, aka, the name of the maker), I'd put money down there's a higher percentage of "you're paying for the name" in a new Gibson than you are for a new Koren D'A.

I'd make that bet because, like I said, I'm fond of money.
 

Semitone

Member
Messages
899
And let's not forget that it is just not slapping the D'Angelico name on any old Korean guitar. Although not a handmade guitar by John D'Angelico himself, it is unmistakable that the design characteristics of these guitars are derived from D'Angelico's original work. e.g. the headstock design, the stairstep tailpiece and some of the art deco touches. Pretty sure the name was legally licensed from the proper owner's of the D'Angelico name so I have no gripe about some type of trademark theft or stolen ideas such as one could claim with a lot of other copies ( such as works inspired by say Fender or Gibson).

All seems pretty above board to me.
 
Last edited:

axe4me

Member
Messages
4,115
I'm frugal.
Why waste money.
I like money too.
I'd save up for something that's substantial........but that's being objective while being subjective.
I've had the good fortune to play a real D'Angelico New Yorker and it made just about everything else a distant second.
I'll never be able to afford a real D'Angelico.
I bought a Historic Tal Farlow.
Not the same but it made me happy.
 

gibsonES330

Senior Member
Messages
877
Heritage is currently ghost-building USA Pro models for D'Angelico - they should be good quality (though I have not played one yet).
 

Smashies

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,608
Heritage is currently ghost-building USA Pro models for D'Angelico - they should be good quality (though I have not played one yet).
Yeah, I've read that too, but that may have changed. The D'A IG account and their website indicate that the USA Pro models are being made in NY instead of Kalamazoo with a head luthier that I do not think is associated with Heritage. I know no further details from there. I imagine they may be ordering different woods for their guitars than Heritage, tho not sure. Just guessing.
 




Trending Topics

Top