Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Posts 1 to 50 of 163
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    I know we had a big thread about the D'Angelico EXL-1 when the company was revived yet again, and began producing the second generation of MIK EXL-1. The newer one has block inlays and some other different appointments as compared to the Korean ones from a few years ago. It's offered in a floating pickup configuration only.

    Has anybody actually played or owned one of the new ones yet? They are all over Ebay for $1150. I had three of the first gen ones, and while they lacked character in the way that a lot of these type of guitars do, they were very high quality and a great option for a "safe to take anywhere" proper archtop guitar. Also they are 25.5" scale which is desirable for an L-5 player (Ibanez are all 24.75").


    D'Angelico EXL-1-dangelico-exl-1-jpg
    Last edited by rpguitar; 11-25-2013 at 10:48 AM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    I tried one at a music store here recently. I was impressed with the playability and the sound of it unplugged was good. I never did try it plugged in (I'm not really a floating pickup guy). If they made it with set in pickups, I'd find it difficult to pass up, there's just not much out there that's 25.5 scale.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by dmorash
    there's just not much out there that's 25.5 scale.
    You can say that again. Neither Peerless nor Eastman seems to have a model that's 17", spruce top, 25.5" scale length. These D'As are still unique in that regard.

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    I played one acoustically. It was flawless and actually surprised me with its acoustic sound. better than the Artcore United next to it. It isn't as good as a real carved spruce top, but it sounded good. I think I'll wait to the inevitable used ones hit the market for $700.

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    One thing I'm trying (in vain so far) to determine is if the finish is the same ultra-gloss poly that the old MIK ones had, and which is ubiquitous on Asian guitars. There are some pics of what appear to be the most recent EXL-1 models that do not seem as bad as the usual dipped-in-plastic variety.

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Hey Roger, they play great. I actually had a hard time putting it down at the store and not leave with it. I just don't need another guitar right now, but if I did... The new excel would be at the top of the list.

    The finish on the two I played was the typical shiny poly. Nice but pretty typical.

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    you mean the vestax made d'angelico?

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    No, the latest generation of Korean D'As since the company was re-invented yet again earlier this year.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    I haven't played one yet, but I haven't seen a bad or even mediocre review, from a magazine or from someone who's actually played them.

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    I brought one home for a few days and almost bought it. It played great and looked really good (more authentic looking than the older MIK ones, due to the traditional block inlays). It actually sounded quite good acoustically, with plenty of volume. It definitely had the thick poly finish, but as a gigging guitar, that would be fine with me. I wanted to buy it, but I have quite a few guitars and I decided it just wouldn't get played. I was also thinking that used ones might show up down the road, but I can't help but wonder how many will be produced. They have come and gone quite a few times in the past. Overall, I think they are excellent inexpensive guitars

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    The vestax DA's are very high quality instruments and can be found for not a lot of money. I have also looked very closely at the Aria D'Aquisto NY'er and IMO it is virtually the same guitar, except for the cosmetic appointments. They go for pretty low prices in the used market too. I prefer the D'Angelico styling though.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I tried a D'Angelico EX-SS out from a big internet website.

    The guitar was beautiful out of the box, but a bit flashy for my liking. I found that I liked the aesthetics a lot more without the truss rod cover (kind of a minor quibble).

    I swapped the strings to TI 12s and performed a full set up. To my great surprise, while the tone was very nice, I was not able to get the intonation properly set up -- notably, on the lower strings, I found the intonation to be off even when the adjustable bridge pieces were at their extremes. On the A string, the intonation was surprisingly off to the point where I boxed up the guitar and sent it back -- no questions asked.

    I am pretty good at my own set ups, I've built guitars from parts, etc so I doubt this is user error. The guitar itself was very pretty and the tone / pickups were on the "good" side of acceptable. The guitar is a bit flashy aesthetically for me and when the intonation was off, I threw my hands in the air.

    Hoo boy... keep on trying.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    That's odd - I have owned two of them, a stop tp and a trapeze tp, and both are/were perfectly in tune. Great players.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ingeneri
    My Vestax NYL2 is my workhorse guitar and a great instrument. I find the Asian neck a bith thin and prefer the beefier necks on my Heritages. The poly finish doesn't really bother me. Despite being solid topped, I find the DA to be very sturdy and as impervious to weather as a laminate. Nice acoustic tone for practicing sans amp around the house.
    Hey Matt. Is that the NYL2 I shipped to Indonesia about a year ago? I sold it to a buyer local to you, and I later provided your gig info to him. If that's the same NYL2, it had a Tom Short-Steve Bistrow floater when I shipped it. The guitar had been previously owned by a Bay area gigging musician.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by ingeneri
    Nope, I bought the NYL2in 2006 from the widow of a then recently deceased musician from Vegas. It was my only guitar until I got the Super Eagle a year later. I still routinely use the D'angelico for practice around the house, gigging in any inclement weather, and jam sessions where space is going to be too tight to be bumping into everything with an 18" guitar.

    I changed the pup too, though to the handmade Kent Armstrong Johnny Smith replica sold at archtop.com. It's not as hot and seems to have a mellower tone than the Korean made stock pickup.

    Always curious about that Tom Short pickup. I'm too poor to justify buying a Dearmond, but think the KA single coil looks kinda ugly. How bad was the single pickup hum on the Tom Short?
    I couldn't get it to feed back, even in my small room less than 5' from my 2x10.

    I'm a fan of the KA hand wounds. I've owned more of those than I can count. But in the NYL2 the Tom Short was truly special. It was warmer than the KA, with all the clarity one is accustomed to receiving from the KA.

    The TS - NYL2 combo matched the ideal in my head, at the time, of the consumate floating pup jazz guitar tone.

    I later read several comments of NYL2 users who'd matched the TS floater to their guitars. My guitars previous owner had read the same positive references, and that prompted him to install the TS. Needless to say, he was delighted.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    It has floating pickup, I never played floating pickup, Is it good for wes and joe pass?
    Last edited by dvirulu; 11-14-2014 at 05:53 AM.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    I've had an EXL-1 for a year. It's the current model (the one the cork sniffers bristle at).
    Its a huge guitar both in size and sound AND scale length. The floater was nice but not my thing so I converted it to a humbucker (dremel routing, harness hassle and finishing took 2 hours). Low, fast action and perfect intonation. A matching priced Peerless New York with the shorter scale and tamer appointments is a killer guitar too. My EXL is 17.5 inches wide and came with a really nice case that's also humongous. Scale is the key here. Montgomery played 25.5 and Pass played 24.5. The D'Angelico is 25.5 - you wrestle it when you're cookin'. No one talks about how beautiful and great playing the current D'Angelico's are and that's weird. Someone will probably tell you to get an Eastman. Don't drink that Kool-Aid.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    I played an EXL-1 a few months ago at a local shop and thought it was really nice. The neck carve and nut width along with the low action fit me like a glove... definitely my preference in styling. Unfortunately, my old creaking shoulder didn't like the 17in body width. Definitely a sweet guitar.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Played one at a shop the other day. So tempted to go buy it. Really lovely instrument in terms of playability, and amazing tone.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    I really really liked the D'angelico exl-1 and was thinking about getting one. I found out about another store in my area that sold more archtops and started really liking some of the Eastmans (I think it was the ar810ce I really liked... also 17" with floating pickup) and have since been a little torn between the two.

    The Eastman is a little more expensive than the exl, but in the same general ball park. I thought maybe the carved top on the Eastman made it sound a little nicer acoustically... definitely more volume, but my tone preference is probably a taste/mood thing and subject to change with the wind. I didn't play it plugged in though, so I can't compare there.

    I don't have a horse in this race, but I'm curious why you'd advise against Eastmans...

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    " (the one the cork sniffers bristle at)."

    Haaaa..... That's a good one! :-) I gotta remember that!

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    I bought one a few years back. The Korean made EXL-DP model with all the abalone you could stand. Bill Comins actually signed the Certificate of Authenticity. I must say, It is an extraordinary guitar. Many times I've thought of selling it and every time I get close, I change my mind. It is an incredible playing and sounding Guitar. I've done a couple of videos on Youtube with it. If you are interested in seeing/hearing it, just search my name (Joe DeNisco) and a couple videos will pop up.

    The playability is close to my L5. Its a strong guitar in that you can really bare down on it and it doesn't crumble up on you. Its classy, Beautiful and a keeper if you can find one.

    Joe D

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco
    About the EXL-1. The playability is close to my L5. Its a strong guitar in that you can really bare down on it and it doesn't crumble up on you. Its classy, Beautiful and a keeper if you can find one.
    Joe D
    You know, it's funny you say that. I have an EXS-1DH and a Tal Farlow and the D'A plays as well as the Tal and does not take a back seat in sound either. Gads, I "KNOW" the brand has detractors, I get it, but how many of those detractors have played or owned one?

    If I could say ANYTHING untoward about the brand is their changing model names all the time.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    After GAS'ing for another archtop for the better part of last year (after having sold my Elferink last year to finance a baritone build), I ordered two medium-priced guitars to check out.

    I ordered an Ibanez SJ300 and this beautiful D'Angelico EXL-1.

    Ibanez first: It played smooth (as all the Artcores and Artstars IMO do) and the Super 58s are great pickups. However, I did not like the acoustic tone of the instrument and it felt too close to what I already have and had in the past. I was aiming for something more traditional that I can also just play unplugged - either fingerstyle or with a pick.

    Enter this stunning EXL-1. The guitar felt and looked great right out of the box. Setup was spot-on and I got to jam on it for a couple of hours before even getting close to an amplifier.

    My only complaint about this great instrument is the pickup. It isn't balanced nicely and even with serious polepiece adjustments, I don't really dig it's sound. Don't get me wrong, in the small settings that I usually play in, I am merely using the amplified tone to enhance the acoustic tone, not as sole means.

    However, could you guys please point me towards some nice floating pickups. I don't mind using a bracket to fix the PU to the neck rather than the pickguard. I am really a little clueless as to types, brands and such of floating pickups available on the market. Thank you so much in advance.

    Cheers,
    Sebastian
    Attached Images Attached Images D'Angelico EXL-1-fullsizerender-1-jpg D'Angelico EXL-1-fullsizerender-jpg 

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    You could try having the bridge in the centre so the strings are over the pole pieces and you still have the protection strip under the bridge. The EXL-1 has a laminated Spruce top so a floater is never going to sound as good as a set in humbucker. I have a Benedetto S6 on an old Guild Savoy that sounds great but the Savoy has a solid top so I don't know how it would sound on a laminated one, I have guitars with DeArmond 1100 and 1000 pickups on they are great pickups the 1100 being better as it has pole pieces, I believe Kent Armstrong do some nice floating pickups but I have no experience with them, it really is a personal preference and few people will agree 100% on pickup choice.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    Thank you! I didn't remove the protection strip yet, as I left myself the option of returning the guitar until now. The bridge not being in the center is actually obvious and I just didn't think about it. I should sleep more. thank you for pointing it out. :-)
    Last edited by zirenius; 03-27-2016 at 07:48 AM.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    I felt the same way about the pickup I had on my exl-1dp.
    I put a piece of felt under the pickup, moving it closer to the strings and that made a big difference.
    And listen to what Para says. He knows what he talking about.

    The guitar is a work of art.

    Good luck with it.

    joe d

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    Congratulations on the new guitar! I have an EXL-1 also and was equally impressed with it. The workmanship is high quality and it plays great. I didn't like the Kent Armstrong pickup either. It was too trebly and I couldn't get a balanced tone from it. It may have been wired wrong according to Kent Armstrong. I was going to replace it with a floating humbucker but Guild reissued the famous DeArmond 1000 and 1100 pickups so I tried one. I had a luthier replace the pickup with a DeArmond 1100 and do a setup. The guitar sounds better now, has more personality, balanced tone and
    plays easier.
    D'Angelico EXL-1-12316319_10153663930210801_1939948280193806547_n-jpgD'Angelico EXL-1-12316484_10153663930215801_6359681818939071412_n-jpg

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe DeNisco
    I felt the same way about the pickup I had on my exl-1dp.
    I put a piece of felt under the pickup, moving it closer to the strings and that made a big difference.
    And listen to what Para says. He knows what he talking about.

    The guitar is a work of art.

    Good luck with it.

    joe d
    Thank you for yet another piece of advice, might try that first. :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by zephyrregent
    Congratulations on the new guitar! I have an EXL-1 also and was equally impressed with it. The workmanship is high quality and it plays great. I didn't like the Kent Armstrong pickup either. It was too trebly and I couldn't get a balanced tone from it. It may have been wired wrong according to Kent Armstrong. I was going to replace it with a floating humbucker but Guild reissued the famous DeArmond 1000 and 1100 pickups so I tried one. I had a luthier replace the pickup with a DeArmond 1100 and do a setup. The guitar sounds better now, has more personality, balanced tone and plays easier.
    Thanx for the tips. That pickup looks gorgeous on your EXL-1. May I ask - did the pickup ship with the correct frame / rod to be attached to the neck? I have read somewhere that there is two sizes and the needed one is hard to get by. Just asking. May I ask, which strings are you playing on your D'angelico?

    All I can say is: I am really happy about this purchase. There might be bad ones out there, but this Korean made D'Angelico is really (!) nice.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    @Zirenius The Guild reissue Dearmond 1100 comes with a shorter "stick" than on a "monkey on a stick" assembly and there is no control box. As the pickup is held in place by a notch on the pickguard side, there was no reason to keep the long "stick" so my luthier just used as much of it as needed to attach it to the side of the neck and cut off the extra length. I am using Thomastik flatwound George Benson 12s. The D'Angelico plays easier than my 1951 Epiphone Zephyr Regent that I have been playing since 1970 and I like it better than a couple other guitars I had for awhile over the years (a Guild X150 I bought and an Eastman T145 and Ibanex AF105 that were gifts). My student and friend who has owned many more guitars than I have thinks it is better made than many new Gibson 175s. I was impressed by it and also bought a D'Angelico Style B. EX-59 and EX-DH. The Style B has the same pickup as the EXL-1 but it sounds better. There may have been some issue with the pickup on my EXL-1 but I had it replaced and still didn't like it. Here's a picture of what you get with the Guild reissue pickup.
    D'Angelico EXL-1-009-9306-049_dearmond_rhythmchief_1100-jpg

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    i'm with para...hard to clearly evaluate the pickup when the bridge is so far out of line..the strings are no where near the polepieces...you need to move the bridge toward the low E string...center the high and low E strings to the fingerboard...

    having said that, those are mia armstrong pups...so kind of generic...i thought of dearmond as well..available from cordoba/guild...but if you want humbucking, look elsewhere...

    there's also the zollers...there are handmade armstrongs, lollars etc etc...many choices

    but first set the guitar up correctly, and then decide from there...

    also help to know what you don't like..ie. too muddy, too bright etc..also what strings you will use on it



    cheers
    Last edited by neatomic; 03-27-2016 at 05:41 PM.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    It's a "new" guitar in need of a "setup." Yes? So don't evaluate its potential before it's been setup. Kind of a prerequisite, yes?

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    First of all, thank you for all the accomplished players on here that took the time and effort to reply to my questions. As you might have seen, I have proven to be less than knowledgable about guitar setup, when it comes to archtop guitars.

    Quote Originally Posted by neatomic
    i'm with para...hard to clearly evaluate the pickup when the bridge is so far out of line..the strings are no where near the polepieces...you need to move the bridge toward the low E string...center the high and low E strings to the fingerboard...
    having said that, those are mia armstrong pups...so kind of generic...i thought of dearmond as well..available from cordoba/guild...but if you want humbucking, look elsewhere...
    there's also the zollers...there are handmade armstrongs, lollars etc etc...many choices
    but first set the guitar up correctly, and then decide from there...
    also help to know what you don't like..ie. too muddy, too bright etc..also what strings you will use on it
    cheers
    Thank you for the detailled reply. You are right, I got overexcited and did not even realize that the movable bridge was off-position. I fixed that now - and I do feel a little stupid, as this one was both obvious and easy to fix. Oh well.

    Still, I don't like the pickup (while the guitar is great acoustically). One reason is that it still can't be balanced correctly. The B-string just sticks out and I can't do any more with the polepieces, as the surrounding pieces are getting dangerously close to the respective strings and the polepiece for the B-string is now almost touching the guitar's top, which can't be good.

    I have read on this board that there are quite a number of old pickups that also seemed to have an issue with the B-string being too loud. I am however not willing to leave an unbalancable pickup on this lovely guitar.
    I am unsure about the pickup. The guitar is now set up with roundwounds. (generic D'Addario, as far as I can see from the paperwork and feel of the strings) I prefer the feel of flats on an archtop. However, I really like the clarity that these strings give the guitar. So, yet another quest. I seem to remember that the TI George Benson strings gave me the feel of flatwounds, while leaving more of the top end intact. I will do some research on this one today.

    After that, I will give the PU another try. The factory PU in my opinion takes too much of the high end away from the guitar. I guess that the PU is trying to grant a muddy and "jazzy" sound. I would however like my Pu to be a lot clearer though and have the option of shaping my tone from there.

    Quote Originally Posted by zephyrregent
    @Zirenius The Guild reissue Dearmond 1100 comes with a shorter "stick" than on a "monkey on a stick" assembly and there is no control box. As the pickup is held in place by a notch on the pickguard side, there was no reason to keep the long "stick" so my luthier just used as much of it as needed to attach it to the side of the neck and cut off the extra length. I am using Thomastik flatwound George Benson 12s. The D'Angelico plays easier than my 1951 Epiphone Zephyr Regent that I have been playing since 1970 and I like it better than a couple other guitars I had for awhile over the years (a Guild X150 I bought and an Eastman T145 and Ibanex AF105 that were gifts). My student and friend who has owned many more guitars than I have thinks it is better made than many new Gibson 175s. I was impressed by it and also bought a D'Angelico Style B. EX-59 and EX-DH. The Style B has the same pickup as the EXL-1 but it sounds better. There may have been some issue with the pickup on my EXL-1 but I had it replaced and still didn't like it. Here's a picture of what you get with the Guild reissue pickup.
    D'Angelico EXL-1-009-9306-049_dearmond_rhythmchief_1100-jpg
    And now this is also a very helpful post, thank you so much. Please don't make me GAS for more of these D'A guitars. You already got me interested in the Style B, which I don't recall seeing anywhere yet. These Guild reissue Pickups are also really easy to come by, I just found them on Thomann, which got me excited. Thank you for the clarification on what they ship out with the pickups.

    ____

    To be very clear: I absolutely love this guitar. It is really inspiring acoustically and as long as I practice a little more softly, the pickup does not bother me as much. I would still like to do something about it - IMO, it really does not do the guitar justice at all. To sum up, it is impossible to balance properly and too muddy on the top strings for my taste. i am open about single coil or humbucker. With solidbody electrics, I have always preferred the open sounding end of humbucking pickups. I don't claim to know enough about archtops to rule out that a singlecoil might actually be the best option given my tonal goals for this guitar.

    Thank you all very much for participating. I am grateful - even if public stupidity with evaluating a guitar's setup might not have been my strongest moment.

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    Some years ago i bought an Excel just like yours and exchanged the pickup with a Bartolini which i much preferred over the original. I believe the originally built in PU was identical with the Kent Armstrong Jazzy Joe.

    Recently i mounted a Handwound Kent Armstrong 12 Pole on a similar guitar, a Vestax New Yorker, but was disappointed by the result. The same pickup sounded great on my LeGrand though. I believe a pickup really has to match a guitar's sound character.

    And of course its necessary to align the pickup so that the polepieces are under the strings.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    I entirely agree, although my experience in this regard only stems from solidbody electrics. Had a pair of Duncan Seth Lover pickups that did no good in the LP style guitar they came in, but that really shine in another one.

    I am still considering my options. All demos I could find of the DeArmond replica really sounded great. It's all exciting new territory and I would very much like to add a real open sound to my palette. I have a couple (literally - two) of guitars that can do slightly wooly humbucker jazz tone. It'd be interesting to have something a lot more airy.

    Does anybody who reads this have experiences with the AER J. Smith or Häussel Flat Jazz PU's? Both came to mind, I could not find a lot of demo material though...

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    I picked up an EXL-1 in January and love it as well. The guitar comes with D'Addario EJ-21 strings. The best way to adjust that pickup, or most for that matter is to move the entire body of the pickup to the proper distance from the strings, and then adjust the individual pole pieces to get proper string balance. You may need to raise the pick guard which can be accomplished by adding pieces of felt or using a longer tube around the screw.

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    They're very nice archtops. As are the Guild's in the same price range, also made in Korea like yours. Lots of pickup options...too many to mention really. Each of us has our own preference. The guitar is a fabulous starter archtop. But, I'd suggest getting used to a properly set up guitar first, establishing a base for what the instrument is capable of before deciding to do a pickup upgrade.

    Acoustically, the guitar is not as good, read not in the same league, as a carved instrument...if acoustic volume is what you're truly after you may consider other guitar options. Changing pickups is like changing socks for some here. I think I've done two pickup swaps ever...neither of which really needed it. But we don't know what we don't know until we know it. Good luck!

  39. #38

    User Info Menu

    if you think the guitar is too muddy with the stock d'addario roundwound strings it only going to get darker with flatwounds...i'd seriously consider the zoller pickup..its a floater that's on the full range or even bright side...used by many pro's

    here's thomann info

    Shadow AZ48 Tonabnehmer für Jazz-Gitarre


    but again take one step at a a time..set it up and adjust for new strings so it sounds good acoustically...then tackle the electronics

    its a nice guitar...enjoy

    cheers

    ps- if you decide against flats, a nice pure nickel roundwound like thomastik or pyramid would be fine
    Last edited by neatomic; 03-28-2016 at 04:11 PM. Reason: sp-

  40. #39

    User Info Menu

    Thank you for the advice. To be more precise - I am not saying that the guitar is too muddy with the d'Addarios in itself. I think that the pickup is contributing to it. I am aware that I might be changing too many valuables at once. So I think that trying out a nice set of flats and seeing what it does to the unamplified tone and then adding a pickup that supports this tone might be the best route atm. As I said, I love the feel of flatwounds when playing and I think that I remember the TI GBs to have a characteristic flatwound feel with less muddiness than other competitors.

    I will start with a set of TI Swings that I have lying around. It's free to try and I might just revert to roundwounds after that. Thanx for reading my thinking out loud, though.

    Have a nice day,
    Sebastian

  41. #40

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by zirenius
    Might I ask - you seem to be implying a negative point about the D'Angelico brand and I got that vibe from other people already. Why is that? This will be off-topic though, so I am also glad to receive an answer via private message.
    John D'Angelico is one of the Olympians of jazz guitar luthiery. He's like the Antonio Stradavarius of guitars, so seeing his name on guitars he had nothing to do with irks me. It's a personal bee in my bonnet that probably just reflects my dogmatic and rigid personality. That being said, I have played a couple of these modern Asian made instruments and- setting my personal bugaboo with the name aside- they seemed well made, played well and sounded very good. Better, in fact, than a lot of instruments I have tried that cost a lot more. There are top drawer pros playing these modern D'Angelicos (Kurt Rosenwinkel and Bob Weir spring to mind) who could certainly get whatever axe they wanted.

    If you pick up the guitar to play and you go "aaahhhh," then it's the right guitar. So enjoy your nice new axe and ignore us grumps bugged by the name issue. The name is being used legally and so what. If you really want some GAS, go listen to Joe DeNisco's real 80+ year old D'Angelico on YouTube. Nothing else sounds like that; those things are the holy grails of jazz guitars. Your guitar won't sound like it and neither will mine.

    As far as the string balance goes- if you haven't removed the protector strip under the bridge, do so. It will change the tone. Also, consider restringing the guitar. That can make a huge difference. I find that the unwound string next to the wound ones- whether the B or G, depending on the string set, is always disproportionally loud. I think some of that is not volume but the contrast in tone.

  42. #41

    User Info Menu

    Very helpful, thank you! I get why some people might be preoccupied with the brand name and it's non-existent direct relation to the legend of archtop guitar making. I myself don't find it troubling, as the guitars are otherwise very clearly labelled as "made in Korea". Anyhow, yep, I just clicked with this one and I really like the upside of being able to take it out without worrying about a year's salary worth of money being at risk.

    I have never had the fortune to touch one of the originals or even hear it in person. At 29 years of age, I am however still optimistic that I might get the chance one day. And yeah, I am prone to GAS, so... you are most likely right.

    Bridge set up, protection of course removed. I will try different strings tonight (unwound g-String) and see. I'll probably give it some time before settling on whether or not the PU will be replaced. Thanx for clarifying the relation between balance and wound strings, I will watch that!

  43. #42

    User Info Menu

    I decided that I'll likely sell my Ibanez AF151f. It's beautiful. Just wanted a deeper and wider body, plus always wanted to own a D'Angelico. I opened it up at the GCenter in Pasadena, Ca. 1 hr ago.

    First thing (which is not a real biggy) the fingerboard is a brownish ebony, not jet black the way most of us want it to be (Same situ with my Cordoba C10 !). Next, I guess it's OK, as 2 others in the store have the exact same situ: The floater pickup is no more than, if not less than 1/16" above the soundboard. And though it looks like a piece of felt between it and the board (very very hard to determine) I believe what I am seeing is the bracket under it which connects it to under the pickguard. The 2 others in store have very same tolerances. So I imagine that's correct too. Finally, and now I can even see it in the GCenter ad, there is a 1 3/4" x 3 thirty second inch notch in the left side of the neck right below the 23-24th frets. This looks like a trough for a different mounting pickup (where its bracket would be mounted in it [like my Ibanez]). Again, no biggy.

    In conclusion it looks as if all EXL-1s have the very same 'oddities'. Before I left the store I had the repair gal there make sure the bridge was in the right place and if there is any buzzing. Were none throughout entire fingerboard ! And no one would want the action any lower than what it's fixed with already. That's a huge plus !

    I am going home now and play her a long time and see if I start to bond with her. Dang that brownish ebony. But if it's really irritating, the nice thing about GCenter is their easy going return policy...
    Any comments/comparisons thus far are very welcome. I'll report back in a couple days...M
    Last edited by MarkInLA; 04-29-2016 at 12:25 AM.

  44. #43

    User Info Menu

    Ebony can be darkened. Dr Ducks Axe Wax will darken it a bit, or StewMac and LMII sell fingerboard dye. Enjoy the D'Angelico, those are really nice guitars. If the pickup is not close enough to the strings you can add more felt pads beneath the pickup.

  45. #44

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkInLA
    Just wanted a deeper and wider body, plus always wanted to own a D'Angelico.
    Mark, 1st off, Congratulations.

    I remember the 1st time I saw the Korean made D'A replica in Guitar Center. I felt the same way. I always wanted to own a D'Angelico. The lines of the guitar, the headstock, The big pickguard and tailpiece almost put me in a trance.

    Let me warn you.. This is exactly how it starts.

    Most sane people can be happy with a D'A replica for a lifetime. Something about the aura of a D'Angelico eventually makes you loose your sanity. When you see your 1st real D'A, you will think, yeah mine looks just like that. Then time will go by. And one day, you will get to put a real one in your hands. You will notice how substantial the real ones are, yet how balanced, lightweight and perfect in your hands they are. You will strum the open strings and THAT is when Dracula bites you. You are done. You start thinking crazy things.. Like how much can I can I get for one testicle? Do I really need two? You start looking at your kids and you say, "They are pretty valueable, I can always make another one".. You take inventory of all the TV's in your house and you rationalize selling 4 of them because you realize that you can only watch one at a time.. Blood banks are also a good source of extra income..

    In the coming years, keep checking your neck. If you see 2 little holes, get ready for eternal life..

    All kidding aside (sorry I tend to do that a lot), Enjoy your guitar. They are beautiful and they play great.

    Joe D

  46. #45

    User Info Menu

    Hey Mark, Congrats!!!! I have the same make and model with the same 3 "oddities". I've been gigging mine for a few months now and I can say it just gets better. Enjoy!!!

  47. #46

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkInLA
    First thing (which is not a real biggy) the fingerboard is a brownish ebony, not jet black the way most of us want it to be (Same situ with my Cordoba C10 !). .....
    Dang that brownish ebony. But if it's really irritating, ....
    If you want your ebony black, dye it black. That's what some guitar factories are doing now. Others leave them as is. I see no reason why we should not be able to accept and even appreciate figured ebony. After all, highly figured maple on guitars is very sought for.

    Ebony is an endangered species and it is now extinct in all but a few countries. Only 1 of about 20 ebony trees cut is black ebony, the rest is brownish/streaked. If we all only accepted black ebony, it would mean 19 endangered trees left in the forest to rot to get just the one tree with the all black wood.


    Last edited by oldane; 04-29-2016 at 09:52 AM.

  48. #47

    User Info Menu

    I agree with Joe, the repro DA's are extremely well made, and a real value FAR beyond their price... That said I played an original and I actually considered a mortgage on my house to get it.

    Thankfully it sold surprisingly fast and I still get to live in my house for free :-)

  49. #48

    User Info Menu

    Congratulations on the new EXL-1! I have one also and it has the same 3 things you mentioned. I replaced the pickup with a Guild reissue DeArmond 1100 and the luthier had to shorten the "stick" (or "twig" in the case of the reissues) of the "Monkey on a Stick" because of the indentation or notch on the side of the neck below the 19th fret. No problem though and it looks fine. As Joe said, watch out, they are addictive! I wound up getting a Style B, EX-59 and EX-DH also after the EXL-1. They're very well made guitars and I also like to look at them as art. Enjoy!

    D'Angelico EXL-1-dearmondphoto-jpgD'Angelico EXL-1-family-gathering-photo-13-2-jpg

  50. #49

    User Info Menu

    Hi. Just meant to say thanks for all the great replies. Yes, it is a beautiful guitar for a repro. Not exactly sure what a couple of you meant, making a comparison to an authentic original one. Sounded like you meant we'll love the Korean one as long as we don't later on pick up a real, say, 1950s one; that that's when we begin to have regrets about our Korean one; which is quite understandable, if that is what you're saying.

    I will say, the pickup contacting the soundboard is a big downer for me..The ads say 'floating'. Sorry, but it isn't.. There's no excuse whatsoever for issuing these guitars this way. Dollars to donuts any authentic vintage D'Ang model does not do this. What they should do is utilize that 19th fret bracket slot and change to a pickup which mounts onto that slot..And, for $1,300.00 I/we should not have to pay for a replacement pickup and its installation..in order to have a real floater...

    The fingerboard and frets are exquisite..the binding and craftsmanship are A1..The Grovers are smooth and accurate along with a nice gear ratio. The extra 2 frets to D is a nice change of pace. The saddle having the graduations on top and the tailpiece stair-stepped make for excellent intonation.

    Now I have to decide to stick with her (versus a 45 day return policy) or stick with my Ibanez AF151f (which does have a true floating-pickup).. Yeah, I know, I'm fickle.... M

  51. #50

    User Info Menu

    The De'Armond floating pickups used in the 50s often contacted the top plate of the guitar. They came with felt on the back of the pickup for that reason. Unless there is a buzz from the contact, it's no big deal from a pragmatic perspective.