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  1. #1

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    Hi,
    Not enough has been documented about these Guitars. I think they were made under license to the folks who bought D'Angelico name. These were made before the timeless designs were mass produced. Some the guitars are nice and some, well, will probably have John rolling over in his grave. I honestly think he would have been very happy with this version of one of his masterpieces. The Heritage Ghost Built D'A's are quite extraordinary too.
    I must say, Over the past year, I’ve become quite fond of Japanese Guitars. The workmanship, the Quality and Attention to detail are extraordinary. I don’t want to get far ahead of myself but I have to say, this guitar is Magnificent. In Every facet.
    The Red color is staggeringly beautiful. The top is Solid and pressed. The quality of the finishing is unbelievably good.
    I Replaced the pickup because someone previously rubbed all the Gold off of it. I bought a nice Lindy Fralin hand wound Alnico 6 with 4% overwind that went on it 2 days later and it compliments the Guitar extremely well. It turns out, the original Pickup was a Hand Wound Kent Armstrong KAJS, which is a Johnny Smith replica Pickup. I am sending that one back to him to transplant it into another enclosure. I may put it back on, who knows.
    The guitar was made in 2004. It came to me OK condition. I knew I could improve it with nice detail. After I buffed out all the scratches, it looks like a brand guitar with only 2 tiny marks on the entire guitar. I will drop fill those out later.
    I am SHOCKED by how beautifully this guitar plays. But most of all, It sounds exactly like the guitar I wanted. It is amazingly CLEAR. The Note Definition is PERFECT. No muddiness. It is not overly bright. Just tight. Sort of like my Solid Formed was, but warmer and less sterile. This guitar has Immediate attack. I honestly feel at this point, it is one of the best guitars I’ve had so far. NO Seriously, it is.
    The build Quality is Perfect. After tidying it up a bit, I feel like I bought a brand new guitar.
    I am glad I was able to get a Wine Red and Gold Guitar.
    In all sincerity, It will never be a real D’Angelico. There was only 1100 of those. But it looks a lot like one. John’s Guitar designs are timeless. Visually, they are very appealing to my eyes. The Ebony bridge and fretboard are so elegant. I am really thrilled about the guitar. It is everything I could have hoped for, if not more.

    Here is a video that I put together this morning. The sun was smiling on me, so please forgive the flashes and dramatic lighting.



    Thanks, Joe DeNisco

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  3. #2

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    Welcome back to the DA family! I wish American craftsmanship was as good as Japanese craftsmanship these days. That Vestax sounds great (like every guitar you play) and while I will wish you the usual hope that this guitar inspires your playing for many years to come, let me add this:

    DON'T SELL THAT GUITAR!

  4. #3

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    Great guitar and good move. I have an 18 inch version from 2001 would agree I have written about it before. These are the best of the overseas copies by a huge margin nothing like what is put out today.

  5. #4

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    I know I was very pleasantly surprised with my 1990's Vestax/Terada built Gretsch Synchromatic prototype I got from Julien's auction of the Gretsch family archives. It sounds like you got a good one and before the company lost all their best people.

    Here's an interesting link on Hidesato Shiinto, founder of Vestax
    Vestax Founder Hidesato Shiino Shares STP/Vestax Vision - DJ TechTools
    also this link shared by GNAPPI a couple of years ago
    https://ia803005.us.archive.org/32/i...514030.1.0.pdf

  6. #5

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    Wine and chrome doesn’t work (unless it is a Harley) but a wine and gold guitar really pops. Black and gold too. Love it.
    There is a very commanding appearance with wine and gold.

    A big Congrats Bro. Very happy you love it.
    The Vestax builds were flawless.

    Too bad the current owners of the D’A name went on the cheap.
    Japanese quality is a tough act to follow.

  7. #6

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    The Vestax D'A's are legendary, and you have demonstrated why. Thank you Joe, for your artistry!

    Congratulations on your wonderful new instrument, and play it in good health!

  8. #7

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    Joe ,
    as I've already said to you , this is an absolute bargain. and looks
    a million dollars, not many of us could afford a genuine D'A but as they
    say up in Yorkshire " That'll do " it sounds quite good too, good luck
    with it and I hope it gives you much pleasure , and for us to hear more
    of it.

    Best, SF

  9. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stringswinger
    Welcome back to the DA family! I wish American craftsmanship was as good as Japanese craftsmanship these days. That Vestax sounds great (like every guitar you play) and while I will wish you the usual hope that this guitar inspires your playing for many years to come, let me add this:
    DON'T SELL THAT GUITAR!
    Thank you brother.
    I WONT!
    I’ve been narrowing down and I am very happy with what I have now.
    As you know, there is only one guitar left. If my baby comes back home, great. If not, I am content with what I have.
    Thanks SS.

  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by deacon Mark
    Great guitar and good move. I have an 18 inch version from 2001 would agree I have written about it before. These are the best of the overseas copies by a huge margin nothing like what is put out today.
    Thanks Deacon. The reason I thought it might work is because of your recommendation.
    The guitar is a legitimate, excellent guitar. No doubt
    Joe D

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Easy2grasp
    I know I was very pleasantly surprised with my 1990's Vestax/Terada built Gretsch Synchromatic prototype I got from Julien's auction of the Gretsch family archives. It sounds like you got a good one and before the company lost all their best people.

    Here's an interesting link on Hidesato Shiinto, founder of Vestax
    Vestax Founder Hidesato Shiino Shares STP/Vestax Vision - DJ TechTools
    also this link shared by GNAPPI a couple of years ago
    https://ia803005.us.archive.org/32/i...514030.1.0.pdf
    E2g, thanks for all of that. I’ll be sure to check it out later. Exciting!
    Joe D

  12. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by vinnyv1k
    Wine and chrome doesn’t work (unless it is a Harley) but a wine and gold guitar really pops. Black and gold too. Love it.
    There is a very commanding appearance with wine and gold.

    A big Congrats Bro. Very happy you love it.
    The Vestax builds were flawless.

    Too bad the current owners of the D’A name went on the cheap.
    Japanese quality is a tough act to follow.
    I Totally agree Vin. Your Wine Red L5 re-opened my eyes to this combo, after falling in love with it many, many years ago when I saw it on a Les Paul Custom.
    Red requires image processing to get the colors right. The figure on the maple and the grain on the top spruce are second to none.
    Thanks Vin.

  13. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by citizenk74
    The Vestax D'A's are legendary, and you have demonstrated why. Thank you Joe, for your artistry!
    Congratulations on your wonderful new instrument, and play it in good health!
    Thank you c74. Without your sidekick Neatomic, you have a lot of pressure on you to keep up the class around here. You got this..
    Thanks for always being you. I appreciate it.
    Joe D

  14. #13

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    Joe,
    These are great guitars and thanks for the insight. I've always said that even though these are not real D'Angelico's, the design itself - when dimensionally copied will provide a whiff of the real thing. I agree the fit and finish of these guitars are excellent. I own one of the Korean built models and the build quality, and feel / playability is remarkable. Along with the classic appearance - there is a resonance and tonality to the instrument which is quite inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing the video. The DAngelico company should have you make their videos,..you bring out the best of this guitar with your tasteful playing.

    Like Marco said - Don't ever sell it !

    Sent from my SM-P610 using Tapatalk

  15. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverfoxx
    Joe ,
    as I've already said to you , this is an absolute bargain. and looks
    a million dollars, not many of us could afford a genuine D'A but as they
    say up in Yorkshire " That'll do " it sounds quite good too, good luck
    with it and I hope it gives you much pleasure , and for us to hear more
    of it.

    Best, SF
    Speaking of CLASS, look who just posted!
    Yes Foxman, That will definitely do, for sure my good man. Having owned a real one for a spell, I can appreciate having a bit of that elegance back in my life once again.
    And with this one, IM NOT AFRAID TO PLAY IT! So I am going to play it, and probably play it every day.
    Thank you brother.

  16. #15

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    Oooh that sounds good! I can only hope the Eastman AR403CED I have on order, is in the ballpark, for that tone! Congrats! Unfortunately, I assume that the your Vestax has the same thinner necks that the current D'Angelicos have (which I don't like)?

  17. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by QAman
    Joe,
    These are great guitars and thanks for the insight. I've always said that even though these are not real D'Angelico's, the design itself - when dimensionally copied will provide a whiff of the real thing. I agree the fit and finish of these guitars are excellent. I own one of the Korean built models and the build quality, and feel / playability is remarkable. Along with the classic appearance - there is a resonance and tonality to the instrument which is quite inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing the video. The DAngelico company should have you make their videos,..you bring out the best of this guitar with your tasteful playing.

    Like Marco said - Don't ever sell it !
    You know QA, your advice on the careful duplication of the carve made up my mind on this guitar.
    And you were so right. This guitar is very different from some of the other mass produced archtops. It has a very exclusive feel to it. The note definition is extraordinary, even on Golden Earrings. I find my self wanting to pick each note clean and letting it last with this guitar. I was glissing over notes on my EER quite frankly because they were not showing up.
    This guitar is a cut above. I am glad I listened. I always wanted to try one of these, I’m glad I listened to you. This won’t be just a try out. This one I think will be with me for a long time..
    Thank you QA!
    JD
    Last edited by Max405; 05-23-2021 at 07:30 PM.

  18. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by EllenGtrGrl
    Oooh that sounds good! I can only hope the Eastman AR403CED I have on order, is in the ballpark, for that tone! Congrats! Unfortunately, I assume that the your Vestax has the same thinner necks that the current D'Angelicos have (which I don't like)?
    Hi Ellen
    I am like you with the necks. Historically, I have not gotten along with the thinner, shallow necks. But since I got my Ibanez GB100, I figured, well if you can’t beat em, join em!
    This unfortunately does have the shallow neck. But I am liking it Ellen.
    I hope your incoming Eastman AR403CED is the guitar for you!. Please do an NGD. They are so fun. And they help us learn about the other guitars we don’t have (yet..).
    Thanks and I am glad you liked it and even more glad you posted.
    JD

  19. #18

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    Interestingly, soon after the lawsuit against Vestax was filed two years ago (The complaint was linked in this thread in an earlier post), I stopped seeing new, Terada built D'Angelico's on EBay and Reverb. I wonder if they are still being made for the Japanese market? If not, these could become somewhat collectable.

    My understanding is that the current D'Angelico guitar company builds their guitars in Korea and Indonesia (along with a few New York built handmade replicas). It is too bad that D'Angelico guitars of America went after Vestax instead of striking a deal (perhaps they tried, but to no avail?). My experience is that Japanese made archtops are in a different class than Korean made archtops. I have played some of the newer Indonesian D'Angelicos at Guitar center and I was seriously underwhelmed. If the Ferolitos (the owner of the DA brand) meet up with John D'Angelico in the hereafter, they should expect, at a minimum, a very stern lecture.

  20. #19
    I had a natural finish Korean of this model about ten years ago and felt it was one of my best archtops ever.However about two years ago I bought a thin-body at GC that seemed new to me and with the case pocket contents,but they blew it out as used and even with hand-wound premium pickups Benedetto and Vintage Vibe I did not enjoy it. I traded for a 40 year old Ibanez L-5 copy that sounded much better. As good as L-5s sound they are just a little too big and heavy for my older body.Those of us who started out with Mel Bay books will always remember that big beautiful DA on the cover. I got to play a real one once as a music student in the seventies. It was a sunburst non-cut that belonged to a Berklee instructor.If I remember correctly the strap fixture close to the left hand was a rounded eyelet type of strap holder.The sound of that instrument was unforgettable . Best I have ever played for an archtop,for sure! Enjoy your new prize! where it comes from is not as important as what you produce with it which I am sure will be excellent!!! I think the concept of the bell curve applies to every guitar producer.

  21. #20

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    LOVE the tune you've chosen .... "What are you doing the rest of your life" by Michel Legrand - check out Barry Green's version :

  22. #21

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    Great Joe! As always very delightful playing. I also own a Vestax d' Angelico New Yorker which i bought used a decade ago and i still love it. It has an amazing clarity and cuts through "anything" without ever sounding harsh.

  23. #22

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    Jazznote, I remember you saying you had one and that was another reason I keep my hopes up for getting my own. I agree with everything you’ve said about them too.
    Thank you sir!
    JD

  24. #23

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    So happy for you, bro. I miss my blonde Terada-built D’Aquisto New Yorker every day. I loved that guitar but stupidly sold it a couple years ago to help fund a Gibson. I totally hear you regarding the flawless build and attention to detail. The wood, the joinery, miters, binding surface, inlays, fretwork and everything was perfect. I’ve had a couple of the more recent Korean D’Angelicos and though they were very nice, the Terada-built versions are in a completely different league. If I get the chance to own another of these D’As (or an Epi Elitist Broadway), I’ll be all over it. Thanks for sharing!

    Roli

  25. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by rolijen
    So happy for you, bro. I miss my blonde Terada-built D’Aquisto New Yorker every day. I loved that guitar but stupidly sold it a couple years ago to help fund a Gibson. I totally hear you regarding the flawless build and attention to detail. The wood, the joinery, miters, binding surface, inlays, fretwork and everything was perfect. I’ve had a couple of the more recent Korean D’Angelicos and though they were very nice, the Terada-built versions are in a completely different league. If I get the chance to own another of these D’As (or an Epi Elitist Broadway), I’ll be all over it. Thanks for sharing!

    Roli
    Hey my good man.
    Well I hope you get that guitar back one day.
    Until then. Enjoy the Gibson. Stay well my friend.
    Joe D

  26. #25

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    Congrats, Joe ! Beautiful guitar, nice sound, and a beautiful rendition of "What are you doing..." is the arrangement yours?
    Just an objection : IMHO you should have played it on a Gibson Le Grand