’70 Dan Armstrong replica

My second electric guitar (my first was a much-loved but pretty crappy Zenta copy of a Mosrite ventures model, like a leaning backwards ‘Strat). Bought in mid-1970, the choice was this for £60 or dream on for ever for a basic Telecaster for £120.

Shaftesbury was one of the better retailer/importer brands applied to Japanese-made copies of US guitars. In years of looking, I have only seen one instrument similar to this, a more accurate an Ibanez copy with the right-shaped headstock.  As far as I can glean, this instrument was also made by the Fuji Gen Gakki factory which churned out many of the better copies of the day.

This one has an extremely wide flat neck, many years before they became fashionable. It had two weak Japanese pickups which were cramped together by the bridge as the neck join extends beneath the pickguard.

I sold it to a schoolfriend to fund the purchase of my first Gibson, a ‘72 SG Deluxe. (Serial #675066, this was the fulfilment of a dream at the time, but with hindsight it wasn’t a great example of a Gibson, although it was my first ‘proper’ guitar and I cherished it).   At some point he replaced its two pickups with a single De Armond humbucker. Thirty years later, I bought it back off his dad – by now also a firm family friend – for the same price.

I refurbished it, clumsily reshaped the headstock for straighter sting pull, installed the fashionable Sperzel locking tuners of the day, and dropped a Kent Armstrong humbucker into it. I use it mainly for slide (the action is great but the frets are really low). I keep it largely for sentimental reasons, though it does look cool, as does the original mint fitted hardshell case with green plush lining.

8 Responses to ’70 Dan Armstrong replica

  1. Will says:

    HiI lnooikg for some pickups for an original Dan Armstrong Plexi guitar. The only one I have is the country bass. Please contact me if you can assist in any way.CheersAnthony

  2. Rockbeare says:

    Hi, Anthony. Spare pickups are very rare – a friend in Paris has the complete set but doesn’t want to part company with them (yet!). And the vintage parts guys have become like a pack of hounds and are looking for mad prices for anything. A practical solution is to get Dan Armstrong’s son Kent to make you the variations you seek. His pickups are excellent and you can find him at http://www.kentarmstrong.com/.

  3. Derek mccreanor says:

    Hi I have one of these guitars and I was looking to get a value on it. Have you any idea what they are worth.

  4. Rockbeare says:

    Thanks for your email. Do you mean a Shaftesbury copy of a Dan Armstrong, or some other similar model. Do you have a pic you can send me?

  5. Gaz Stoker says:

    Hi,
    I’ve got a Shaftesbury plexi glass guitar very similar to yours. the main differences are the head doesn’t slant as narrow, the pick up is metal (is that original?) and the pick guard is light blue. I bought it in a second hand shop for £30 in 77 or 78. It has a bad dent in the front of the neck around the 3rd fret but had this when I bought it. I don’t want to part with it but have you any idea what it would be worth today?
    Cheers, gaz.

  6. Rockbeare says:

    Thanks, Gaz. My headstock is not the original shape. It was an attempt long ago to more accurately reflect the Ampeg original which didn’t work out. Originally, it was more like an early Roland synth guitar’s, paddle-shaped with three-a-side tuners. So if yours is like this, it’s kosher.

    There should be two chrome-covered pickups, each with a back anodised bar running across the centre of the top, situated right next to each other. (Nowhere else for them to go because of the extended neck tenon beneath).

    The light blue pickguard is definitely not original, though. Feel free to send a pic through to rockbeare@gmail.com – I’d be interested to see it.

    As to value, they not worth anything much. Ibanez have a strong collector following, Shaftesbury’s much less so.

  7. steve says:

    I had one of these, sold it well worn but in original condition, around 1989, I’m currently trying to find out what happened to it, love to buy it back. Now have Ivory AS Strat, but the Shaftsbury was easier to play with its wide neck!

  8. Rockbeare says:

    Would be great if you can locate and reacquire it. They are very good playing guitars, though the pups were pretty poor and I wouldn’t like it to fall over as I’m sure the neck tenon would break.

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