D'Pergo Vintage Limited

Discussion in 'The Small Company Luthiers' started by Gilky, Dec 15, 2017.


  1. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    Maybe I should put the query in a different way? What do D'Pergo owners feel seperates their guitars from other High End Boutique Strats & Teles?
     
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  2. Gilky

    Gilky Gold Supporting Member

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    Excellent question. Like most people interested in these kind of guitars, I did a lot of research and was continually impressed with the attention to detail I saw. I probably don't need to tell anyone here that the instruments look beautiful, the fit and finish is always utterly impeccable, but I pay attention to a lot of the little details too like the string spacing. There's nothing I hate more than seeing a sliver of fretboard on the edge of the high e and then an acre next to the low e. The rolled fretboard edges are the nicest I've seen and most comfortable I've felt. The fret dressing is the best I've ever seen, particularly the Signature fret dressing with balled fret ends.

    Another thing is Stefan's neck carve. I have always been curious about offset neck carves, seems to make sense. After getting to spend a month or so with Ben's it works really well for me. I don't know of anyone else doing that type of carve on S type guitars. The D'Pergo necks also always look fantastic to me, beautifully carved (whether a C or a V or a U) and a satin finish that looks like a pleasure to play, Ben's is.

    One more thing was the bridge pickup. I should say, with Strats I really spend most of the time on the neck or neck and middle position. The bridge pickup in Ben's Vintage Ltd is the best individual single coil pickup I have ever heard. Not shrill at all, smooth and had all the best qualities of a single coil and a bucker all at the same time. No idea what kind of magic was in there, but it was just incredible sounding.

    So for me, it was the attention to detail, fit and finish, unique neck carves and most importantly the actual tones, sound and feel of the guitars that sold me on them.
     
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  3. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    So I'm assuming that you played other high end guitars i.e. James Tyler, De Temple, Hahn, etc.? Did you talk to any luthiers about options and if they were available, if so how much upcharge? I guess finally did you feel the D'Pergo's differences were worth the difference in price, as opposed to other highend offerings?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Gilky

    Gilky Gold Supporting Member

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    I have owned Fender Custom Shops, Masterbuilts, Team Builts, DeTemple, and others. I have played virtually all of the names in the Strat and Tele type market. I currently own Glendale and Gil Yaron F type guitars, they aren't going anywhere.

    Well, I don't think they can get D'Pergo pickups or would even want to, most don't do offset carves, the body contours are unique to D'Pergos and the fret dressing and fit and finish are unique to each builder.

    Well, I'll be getting mine this Spring, so I guess I'll have a better answer then but I'm confident. Also, go to eBay and search for Fender Masterbuilt, you will find dozens of strats over 10K and tons more in the 8-10K range.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
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  5. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    Thank You for the detailed explanation! Any others are welcome to chime in as well, especially D'pergo players past and current!
     
  6. 57gold

    57gold Silver Supporting Member

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    Just find one to play...only way you'll get it or not. No one will or could convince you with a "detailed explanation". And, if you'd never spend $7+K (best used price I have seen on a recent D'P) on a Strat-styled guitar, you are wasting your time.

    I played a couple, spent more time with my buddy's 2006...which D'P says pre-dates some of his "improvements". Decided not to spend $10 to 14K for one.

    Great guitars...like my Astrocater and I'm guessing there are others that a player would dig, find something special about for less $s than a D'P.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2018
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  7. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    $7+K is a lot for a used Gibson L-5CES or similar Archtop even these days. So at the price used I might add, it had better be Spectacular! Or that's a whole lot of B.S. in anyone' book!
     
  8. 57gold

    57gold Silver Supporting Member

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  9. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    Now that's Funny! But the Pilgrims music were a bit stiff and lacked Swing! Wouldn't you agree?
     
  10. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    The standard for 'boutique' S type guitars is very high these days.

    All the little 'issues' with older and/or cheap strats have been all corrected and refined by many builders over the last 20 years.

    String spacing, neck pocket fit, intonation, fret spacing and leveling are pretty much nailed by all the top manufacturers.

    I've played or owned dozens of Suhr, Anderson, Tuttle, Grosh, Melancon, Lentz,Tyler....to be honest all these companies have super clean fretwork, low action, rolled fretboard edges, proper string spacing, flawless finishes, properly cut nuts, lightweight woods, great hardware, contoured heels, and on and on.

    Seriously, when any of these guitars slip through with a tiny flaw or if they change with the weather, someone will create a thread blasting the builder. That's how competitive the market has become, and how much the playing field has been somewhat leveled.

    At this point anything over 2.5-3k becomes excessive for this type of guitar, because there are so many that check all of the 'attention to detail' and 'fit and finish' boxes in that price range. There are also a glut of used ones floating around at sometimes huge discounts!
     
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  11. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    Good point Matt! Even the in the lowest range of Korean, etc. instruments CNC machinery has improved tolerances remarkably so. Fit and Finish or hand work has also been raised up, but that's were $$$ or labor costs are the most.
     
  12. 57gold

    57gold Silver Supporting Member

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    If cost is the primary and overriding concern, the sentiment that has permeated this thread, that "you'd have to be an idiot or sucker to spend over X dollars for a Strat-style guitar", then the ONLY sane action would be to play a well-selected Asian or Mexican made instrument, with an expert set up, fret polish or refret with great replacement pickups. It would play great, sound fantastic, no one in any audience would discern any difference versus a vintage, boutique, or custom instrument.

    Same logic would have us all driving Honda Accords or Toyota 4 Runners, the longest lasting, relatively inexpensive modes of transportation.
     
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  13. STRATSofPLENTY

    STRATSofPLENTY Member

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    I drive a Toyota. That 1 Toyota cost what I paid for my 2 D’pergo strats. The Toyota pisses me off (it has a knack for blowing headlights) the D’pergo’s are a joy. I like the strats more than my car! xD
     
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  14. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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  15. mattmccloskey

    mattmccloskey Supporting Member

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    That actually wouldn't be the most logical conclusion.
    Selecting a good import instrument and then turning around and paying for a great re-fret, nut, pickups, pots and wiring, shielding, set up and hard shell case would get you near the price of a many boutique offerings, and you would still have cheaper hardware.
    There is a point of real diminishing returns and fairly objective lines of quality. I think it's pretty easy to spot the difference between a $500 strat and a $1500-2000 version.
    I think the improvements after that are in smaller increments, and really level off when you get to 3k and above.
     
  16. Gilky

    Gilky Gold Supporting Member

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    The exact same arguments could be made for vintage vs modern, and on and on. It is worth it to some people and not to others and that's ok. You can go to eBay right now and find dozens of Fender Masterbuilt strats and teles right now for well over 10K and dozens of them in the 8-10K range (like this D'Pergo).
     
  17. beorn

    beorn Member

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    And that really is the bottom line for all these threads. Since "best" is clearly a subjective term, we as buyers know it doesn't mean much if used on a Web site for promotional purposes.

    Surely nobody's going to say they make the eleventh-best S-style guitars on the market, or at least I've never seen it done. :D
     
  18. steveh

    steveh Member

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    OK. I will chime in having owned a D'Pergo VC, AVC and Vintage Limited.

    I bought the VC used and sight unseen years ago after reading the DP hype on TGP: It was a phenomenal guitar, so phenomenal in fact that I decided to get one built to my spec from Stefan (The VC had a BRW fretboard for example, and I prefer maple). Anyway, I sold the VC to fund the new guitar. In the interim I got hold of an AVC which was definitely inferior to the VC I had previously: That's not how it's supposed to be (the VC was lower down the line than the AVC) but that's definitely how it was, to my ears anyway. When the Limited eventually arrived it was superb; the best strat style guitar I'd ever played.

    Why? Well, as has been said already, loads of guys do pristine fit-and-finish these days - I couldn't honestly say that the Limited was significantly better made than a Suhr or even a Musician/PRS. It was spotless but then so are those guys. It also played well, but then so do those guys. What distinguished it for me was the tone. A lot has been written about the DP tone and that is the major reason why I bought them...clean, they have that real piano, separation, overtone thing going on. A real 3D sound that is more complex than all other S types I've owned (and I've owned Suhr, Tyler, Anderson etc).

    However, it cost me a TON of cash and I found I got more and more uncomfortable with that. I play 90% nylon these days where it's not unusual to drop a ton on guitars from top-flight sole luthiers but it is unusual to drop so much on a bolt-on S-type. Ultimately, this got in the way of me enjoying my Limited, so I sold it while the hype was still hot and the Kool Aid still going down. I convinced myself no real point having that much in it when I'm playing nylon most of the time. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that it remains the best s-type I've ever played. If I ever get back into electric big time, I'd buy another. As ever, YMMV.

    Ultimately, my big mistake was selling the VC - that was a 2k guitar that was 95% of the upscale models. I'll regret that stupid decision forever. At 2K I could have trashed it and not worried. ho hum.
     
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  19. sidekick

    sidekick Supporting Member

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    Being a subsequent purchaser of steveh's Vintage Limited, I'd also say this is the 'most perfect' Strat guitar I've ever played. Also, as the neck profile, (for me - I feel) cannot be bettered, I don't look to purchase other S style guitars now.

    BTW ... Finished in DP's Seafoam Green, feel it looks rather stunning to the eye as well, (actually even better in hand)... and is a joy to me every time I look at/play it.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. jads57

    jads57 Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the honest reviews fellas!
     

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