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  1. #1

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    This guitar checks almost all my boxes... how's it in real life?

    Unfortunately the only importer in Italy didn't get anymore after they depleted their stock, so i just can't go anywhere to play one.

    Any takers?

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    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    my fave of the new d'angelico line..it was designed by bill comins..who's been getting good mention in various threads here recently

    i wanted to like the excel and the 59..but the ss felt and sounded the best..and i've played a few

    of course pickups need improving, but you're in that line, so...


    cheers

  4. #3

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    Positive :

    I like the size

    I like the sound, very much so.

    Acoustically it is loud enough to sofa-practice without amp.

    Over all well built. (with some issues see down)

    Absolute stable and perfectly leveled neck and fingerboard

    Way less feedback prone than - say GB10 - because of the sound post, (no block here).

    Light weight

    Negative:

    Bridge pickup sits too close at the sound post, vibrating problems here (mechanically) between pickup and sound post. For now I have tilted the pickup some millimeter so that it's no more touching the post, but that's only makeshift. I'm still sorting.

    Headstock is too heavy like with all these Art Deco guitars, hence tends (very little) to nose dive.

    Unfortunately because of that, they made the string holder really heavy and it cannot be replaced because it serves as counter weight to fight the nosediving tendencies. It's a pity, the guitar could be another 400 grams lighter.

    When you un-mount the pickups you see that manufacturing quality is not THAT great compared to how it looks from the outside. Lots of extra glue and paint to find there, but it could be only mine, who knows.

    The ebony knobs are absolute useless for me, slippery as hell, replaced them with different knobs.


    Summary:

    It'll never be my main guitar, but I'm quite happy with it. The guitar sounds very good, it is very versatile and lightweight.
    The negatives are nitpicking except the questionable position of the neck pickup.



    PS.: My main guitar is a Yamaha SA2200 and #2 is a PRS-style semi (Mensinger). I'm playing mostly Jazz and Fusion always with at least a little drive in my sound, so just to give you an idea about my preferences.

  5. #4

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    Tried one of these at Guitars 'n' Jazz a few years back. Size was great for me, neck was a roundish C, but also felt nice to me (I'm not a "chunky" neck lover).

    The guitar did have some mechanical rattles (refer to DonEsteban's post, above), but I didn't notice any neck dive.

    I played it for quite a while, but didn't purchase. (I was looking more for a larger archtop, at the time.) My general impression was favorable.

  6. #5

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    In case anybody is interested, here some details to the bridge pick up problem:

    The pick up is mounted so close to the sound post, that it's touching it lightly with it's lower part (on the bridge side of course). Resulting in ...

    Problem 1: P.u. can't swivel freely, or in other words, it can be moved backwards as the lower part then moves towards neck, but not in the other direction. Which leads to ...

    Problem 2:
    As it touches the sound post only lightly the vibrations while playing produce the rattling noise.

    I tried to fix the pickup against the wood of the sound post. That indeed eliminates the rattling but alters the sound in not a good way, because the things (top etc.) can't move freely anymore, kind of deadens the guitar (a bit).

    As a makeshift solution I installed another p. u. frame that doesn't fit exactly but moves the pickup a millimeter or two towards neck. To really fix the issue I need to carve a tiny bit of wood out of the sound post and so create the space for the p.u. to move freely... and stop rattling ... bitch...

    Too lazy at the moment... but I will do it one day...

  7. #6

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    Don Esteban:

    Muchas gracias por los detalles de la construcciòn de la guitarra, hombre!

    After knowing this detail, now it's imperative to try it before ordering, even though chances are that yours is one-off, if you ask me.

    Yours very truly,

  8. #7

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    I have one and replaced the pickups with a pair of Lollar Imperials. Although it is not my “main” guitar for gigging (I tend to rotate my guitars since none of them is my main one) I have been fascinated with it since buying it nearly two years ago. The only rattle I’ve experienced is the tailpiece rattling as it hits the top whenever I’m playing it in a slouched position on the couch. It stops whenever I resume a correct playing posture. Inserting a tiny piece of felt stops it. I’ve never noticed any rattle when playing live and the Lollar bridge pickup sounds great although I rarely use this guitar for anything other than jazz gigs. I’ve also never noticed any abnormal neck-dive. In fact, it is the most comfortable, lightweight guitar I own. The neck feels amazing and the tone is rich and beautiful. A very unique instrument, the EX-SS, and I would recommend it to anyone. It’s a world-class, extremely versatile guitar at an affordable price. It could easily be one’s main jazz box as well.
    Last edited by El Fundo; 02-18-2018 at 06:28 PM.

  9. #8

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    Thanks for starting this thread, and thanks to everyone who has offered their opinions on the Excel SS. I've been thinking about that guitar for a while now.

    I'm always hoping to find a better inexpensive guitar to take to the martini bar gigs so that I can leave my Gibbys at home. Three of the current DA Excel series have looked interesting: SS, DH and DC -- the only problem is that I haven't been able to find any to audition in my neck of the woods.

    In the hunt for a decent cheap martini bar guitar, I recently I bought an EXL-1, removed the stock KKA pup and fitted it with a Bartolini. It has a great neck, but in the big scheme of things I think there's a limit to how much one can expect out of any inexpensive laminate body with a floater, and I think I'd be happier with a smaller body and inboard pups. That would mean a 15" thinline body like the Excel SS, a 16" thinline body like the Excel DC, or a 16" full-thickness body like the Excel DH. I'd like to try them all but I haven't had luck finding any of them locally.

    Interestingly, it looks like some of you have encountered the Excel SS guitar with a trapeze style tailpiece. AFAICT that's no longer an option with the new production Excel models, as the only Excel SS that DA is now showing on the website for the 2018 model year have a stop tailpiece. If you want the trapeze tailpiece Excel SS then you might want to grab a 2017 while you still can.

    In general it seems that for 2018 you're forced to choose a model based on whether you'd prefer the stop tailpiece or a trapeze. Although you can have your choice of either tailpiece with the Excel DC, the SS now appears to be stop-only, and the DH seems to be trapeze-only.

    DC: Excel DC | Excel Series | D'Angelico Guitars
    DH: Excel DH | Excel Series | D'Angelico Guitars
    SS: Excel SS | Excel Series | D'Angelico Guitars

  10. #9

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    From the D'Angelico website, for the SS model:
    Now available with both our signature D’Angelico Stairstep trapeze-style tailpiece or a traditional stop tailpiece with full center block.

  11. #10

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    > Now available...

    Darn. I missed that. The right side of the page (with all the icons) only shows the stop tailpiece, but you're right -- the description says that a stairstep trapeze is now available. Now all I need to do is to find one nearby. Thanks!

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeBob
    it seems that for 2018 you're forced to choose a model based on whether you'd prefer the stop tailpiece or a trapeze. Although you can have your choice of either tailpiece with the Excel DC, the SS now appears to be stop-only, and the DH seems to be trapeze-only.

    DC: Excel DC | Excel Series | D'Angelico Guitars
    DH: Excel DH | Excel Series | D'Angelico Guitars
    SS: Excel SS | Excel Series | D'Angelico Guitars
    In 2018 you can also get the SS with a tailpiece and with no F-holes.

    That'll be my choice, if somebody would care to import'em in Italy, as the official importer only got one shipment some time ago and stopped. Seems that the people would only buy Fender, Gibson, Epiphone, Squier and Ibanez in my neck of woods. Sad!

  13. #12

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    Then, you may have a look at Thomann.
    They have a 30 days return policy.

  14. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by 339 in june
    Then, you may have a look at Thomann.
    They have a 30 days return policy.
    Yeah, I've checked there first.

    Unfortunately, they don't have the model I want, which is Natural with black hardware and no f-holes, and they don't plan to get'em before they sell some of the stock already present.

  15. #14

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    15" bout, 1 3/4 rim, 25" scale, very comfortable to hold and play. Bougth mint for $900. Natural finish. Had sunburst also. With 12's very acoustic. Alot of bang for the buck. Can say enough good things about it. Oh beautiful looking.

  16. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by LtKojak
    Yeah, I've checked there first.

    Unfortunately, they don't have the model I want, which is Natural with black hardware and no f-holes, and they don't plan to get'em before they sell some of the stock already present.
    I've never seen that configuration in an EX-SS, was it something custom you saw? Or maybe the less pricey Premier model the SS (no EX) but I've only seen them in painted versions.

    Anyway, I've been keeping my ear to the ground for an EX-SS (or NY-SS at a reasonable cost) and it took a lot of restraint to not get the black burst on the MF stupid deal of the say @ $799, but like you I prefer the natural.

  17. #16

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    That new sunburst shade looks really nice too.

  18. #17

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    I'm selling mine. Comes equipped with Lollar Imperials. It's a couple of years old and it's the sunburst model. Beautiful! $800.

  19. #18

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    Wow! Lollar imperials!
    Quote Originally Posted by El Fundo
    I'm selling mine. Comes equipped with Lollar Imperials. It's a couple of years old and it's the sunburst model. Beautiful! $800.

  20. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Fundo
    I'm selling mine. Comes equipped with Lollar Imperials. It's a couple of years old and it's the sunburst model. Beautiful! $800.
    Where is it?

  21. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    Where is it?
    It's here with me in Dallas.

  22. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by El Fundo
    It's here with me in Dallas.
    Thx for clearing that up!

    IMO, it's a good idea to put your general location in your profile so people know where YOU are and I bet everyone will assume the git will be in close proximity to wherever you say you live? :-)

  23. #22

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    I noticed the rattle also. After full examination of the instrument, I found:
    The bridge is not stable. The posts are wobbly and have a tendency to move therefore changing the intonation.
    The tail piece rattles against the carve of the body. I had to place felt underneath on both sides to buffer.
    I would say it's too fragile to take on gigs. Not sure if I'll keep this model.
    It plays wonderfully and sounds great, however I think it has a problem deciding if it's a jazz guitar or a blues/rock guitar. So it's in between and doesn't really hit the spot on either genre.
    I do have the EXT 1 Excel which is a great jazz box, but larger of course.
    Def play one before buying

  24. #23

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    Since this thread has now been resurrected anyway, I can make a comment right away. At that time (2018) I had installed another PU frame to fix the rattle. But in the end I was too lazy to adjust the frame to the surface of the top with file and sandpaper and so I reinstalled the original frame.

    However, due to this operation everything somehow slipped to the right place and the PU does not touch the wood anymore. Logically, the noise has disappeared as well.

    If it were my main guitar, I would undoubtedly renew all the electronics, new PUs, pots and especially the loud switch. But since I only play it occasionally I shy away from the effort.

    I don't play the guitar very often, but I am always surprised how lively and resonant it sounds.

  25. #24

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    I've had no issues with mine. Put P-Rail pickups on it and it's a very flexible guitar. No build quality issues or rattles that I've noted. Play it quite a bit. Still think the headstock design is ridiculous though.

  26. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spook410
    Still think the headstock design is ridiculous though.
    Absolutely!