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Gear Search Gallery: 1970 Ampeg Dan Armstrong Guitar

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Gear Search Gallery: 1970 Ampeg Dan Armstrong Guitar
In 1968, when representatives from Ampeg, the iconic bass-amp company, came to famed New York City session player/guitar repairman Dan Armstrong for advice on a line of acoustic guitars it had acquired, he countered, “You’re in the amp business, so why not make an electric guitar to compliment your amplifiers?” Ampeg subsequently hired Armstrong to design what would become one of the most innovative electric guitars in history.

Armstrong had prior experience modifying guitars and amps for Jimi Hendrix and other legends, so he took a month-long vacation from his repair shop to design Ampeg’s new line of electric guitars and basses. He enlisted luthier Matt Umanov and pickup designer Bill Lawrence to help build the prototypes—which had a shape that was reportedly based on the Danelectro Longhorn bass. These guitars’ were the first production models to be made of acrylic, and they also had unique top route that enabled you to easily switch out pickups between six available models. Although they were originally only made from 1969 to 1971, the Ampeg Dan Armstrong instruments became quite popular in the rock community, thanks to high-profile endorsements by Keith Richards, Ron Wood, and other popular artists. (They have subsequently been reissued by Ampeg.)

The current owner of this heavy 1970 specimen has affectionately dubbed it the “Widow Maker,” and he says it has excellent sustain due its dense body. This guitar saw most of its use with the Rock Treble pickup shown here. It features a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, and aside from evidence of love for the key of A on the back of the neck, the guitar is in excellent shape.

Thanks to Randy Pappenfort for listing this guitar on Gear Search. Whether you’re looking for an original vintage piece or even a recent reissue, there’s a great chance you’ll find it at Gear Search. More than 40,000 pieces of gear are listed, including some of the rarest gear in the world.

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