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  1. #1
    D'Angelico Excel SS-img_5022-jpg

    My local dealer had a bunch of D'Angelico guitars with good prices. He had a couple of Excel SS models, a few Deluxe SS models, some big jazz boxes and a few DC models. There were so many it was hard to choose, but this Excel SS with trapeze played the best and sounded really nice, so I brought it home. I'm not really into the look of the guitar. I don't like the gold hardware, but maybe it will grow on me. I bought for the sound.

    I thought my SB59 (Eastman LP model) had lots of sustain, but this one has even more it seems. But it also has this airy semi-hollow tone that my SB59 doesn't have. There has been some discussions about the whole centreblock vs partial block and if you look from the upper F hole into the body, it looks like a massive centreblock. However, if you check out the lower F hole, you can see that it's not massive: the block itself is hollow too (actually, it's not a block, its just two big extra braces).

    So very interesting sound and lots of colors, also with the split coil option.

    The standard strings are pretty much 'dead' already. Does anybody have a good suggestion for a set of strings on a guitar like this? I like sustain (I'm a noob to jazz, so I let my notes ring out longer than most of you). On the other hand: round wounds make more noise when changing positions. I also like low string tension. I play a lot and I already have sore finger joints every now and then.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

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    Congratulations on your find.

    Did they inform you of what kind of pickups are in this guitar?

  4. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Mack
    Congratulations on your find.

    Did they inform you of what kind of pickups are in this guitar?
    Older ones have Kent Armstong pikcups. Newer ones use Seymour Duncan.


    OP: Great looking guitar. I got mine to support some specialty pickups (SD P-Rails) but I ended up playing it all the time. Very flexible guitar with a great jazz tone.

  5. #4

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    That's a real beauty! Congratulations, and play it in good health!

    I recommend GHS Brite Flats for low noise and good sustain. They are burnished to a very smooth, low friction finish and hold their tone for a good long time and don't cost an arm and a leg.
    Last edited by citizenk74; 03-13-2020 at 05:39 PM. Reason: type-0

  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jimmy Mack
    Congratulations on your find.

    Did they inform you of what kind of pickups are in this guitar?
    I think this guitar is from 2018, because the serial starts with an '18' and before 2019 the ex ss was a 25" scale (it's 24.75 now) and my guitar feels like a 25. So I guess these are KA pickups. I really like the tone, so I'm going to keep it like this for now.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    That's a real beauty! Congratulations, and play it in good health!

    I recommend GHS Brite Flats for low noise and good sustain. They are burnished to a very smooth, low friction finish and hold their tone for a good long time and don'y cost an arm and a leg.
    Thanks, I'll give these a try. I might also check out the TI Bebops.
    I'm also experimenting with different picks. Coming from a rock/pop background where I always used the same type of pick, it is really unbelievable to notice how much difference a pick makes in tone.

  8. #7

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    How is the balance?

    There were complaints of the first two "generations" of the them being neck heavy. I think the MIJ models have a full length block and I've never heard complaints of a balance issue, so maybe D'A decided to correct the issue by moving some of the weight back towards the bridge?

    I have one each MIK Gen1 (ebony board) and Gen2 (Rosewood fb) and while they are neck heavy they are lighter (~6lb. 10 oz.) than the MIJ or later SS models which are around 8 lbs from what I read.

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by GNAPPI
    How is the balance?

    There were complaints of the first two "generations" of the them being neck heavy. I think the MIJ models have a full length block and I've never heard complaints of a balance issue, so maybe D'A decided to correct the issue by moving some of the weight back towards the bridge?

    I have one each MIK Gen1 (ebony board) and Gen2 (Rosewood fb) and while they are neck heavy they are lighter (~6lb. 10 oz.) than the MIJ or later SS models which are around 8 lbs from what I read.

    Mine is the small/partial block. I used to think the neck heavy thing was only in some folk's imagination. However, I changed from a grippy strap to a slippery one, and you know.. it's a bit neck heavy. Not enough to be a bother really. But enough to use a strap that doesn't slip around much. Still liking mine after having it for awhile.

  10. #9
    So my block is full length, but it's not a real block. The block itself is hollow. My guitar is a little neck heavy too, but it's not really bad. A non-slippery strap works though. The tuners are buttery smooth, but really big and taking the guitar in and out of the case easily messes the tuning up, but I'm tuning anyway before playing in a group.

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joeontheguitar
    So my block is full length, but it's not a real block. The block itself is hollow. My guitar is a little neck heavy too, but it's not really bad. A non-slippery strap works though. The tuners are buttery smooth, but really big and taking the guitar in and out of the case easily messes the tuning up, but I'm tuning anyway before playing in a group.
    Ahhh, trestle bracing! Some of the Gretsches I used to own (including my last Country Club - a '59 Reissue) had trestle bracing like your Excel has. A Godin Montreal Premiere I tried out a few years ago, also had trestle bracing. The whole idea behind trestle bracing, is to link the top & bottom like a Gibson-syle semi-hollowbody to fight feedback, while keeping the body a bit more hollow, preserving more of that hollowbody tone.

    One of Gretsch's Styles of Trestle Bracing


    Another Form of Trestle Bracing on a non-Gretsch Guitar

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Joeontheguitar
    So my block is full length, but it's not a real block. The block itself is hollow. My guitar is a little neck heavy too, but it's not really bad. A non-slippery strap works though. The tuners are buttery smooth, but really big and taking the guitar in and out of the case easily messes the tuning up, but I'm tuning anyway before playing in a group.
    That's surprising that it's still a bit neck heavy.

  13. #12
    I switched to TI bebop yesterday and it sounds amazing!