1971 Ampeg Dan Armstrong Plexi Guitar

By Ampeg

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Striking Dan Armstrong guitar from 1971 in fantastic original condition. Designed by Dan Armstrong and manufactured by Ampeg in New Jerseythe range consisted of the electric guitar and electric bass perfectly complimenting Ampeg’s existing amplifier range. The outcome was like nothing else that had been seen before, both visually and sonically unique from the curve topped headstock to the see-through plexiglas body. The guitar premiered at the June 1969 NAMM show, listing at $290.00 plus $60 for the case. Unfortunately the Armstrong guitar had a short production run. Armstrong had issues with Ampeg's management and refused to continue his guitar licensing agreement. The See-Through guitars ceased production in 1971 with around 2350 produced in a little under two and a half years. Forever linked to Keith Richards the Armstrong/Ampeg also found its way into the hands of Ron Wood, Leslie West, Joe Perry and Greg Ginn.

This guitar dates to the later period of the models production and has features expected from that era. The innovative solid body is cut and polished from see-through plastic with edge contours to improve comfort and reduce weight. Sporting two deep, Danelectro Longhorn inspired cutaways allowing unrestricted access to the 24 fret neck. The neck attaches to the body with four bolts, concealed by the pickguard, and is constructed similarly to a Fender neck. The neck is made from quarter sawn maple with a with a rosewood fingerboard, dot inlays and 24 medium jumbo frets. The headstock face and Trussrod cover are made of Wood grained HPL, very appropriate for a plastic guitar! Another unique design is the single, interchangeable pickup system designed in collaboration with Bill Lawrence allowing the player to tailor the guitar tonally to their needs. Initially 6 different pickups were released, all featuring different coils arrangement, wire gauge and Magnet construction. Designed to be removed via the scoop to the body a pickup can be switched in moments and safety secured with the thumbscrew to the back of the body. This guitar comes with the later designed ST or Sustain Treble Humbucker pickup that in itself was a first being the first potted ceramic magnet humbucker. These are highly sought after and a real bonus to have as part of the guitar. The pickguard is made from the same wood grained HPL material as the headstock. These can become easily damaged over time especially by the input jack. The metal plate bridge is also Danelectro inspired with the adjustable wooden saddle, this one features the later metal intonation fret. Tuners are Grover Rotomatics, earlier models had Schallers. Internally the guitar is complete with undisturbed solder, two CTS pots dating mid-70, dual capacitors and three way tone switch.

The neck has a Gibson feel despite its Fender style construction, nut width is 42.38mm with a depth at the first fret 20.6 increasing to 21.45 at the 12th fret. The very rare and sought after Sustain Treble Humbucker was the favoured pickup of Ron Wood and has a great fat, unsurprisingly Sustaining, Humbucker tone. The guitar comes with one of the additional pickups, the CB or Country bass. The CB pickup has less output and bite but there are still some great sounds to be explored. The guitar weights in at 9.1lbs/4.15kg and feels proportionally balanced.

A great example of a rare model that you rarely see offered in the UK, the complete package with Original case, Brochure, Truss-rod tool and Key.