For the first time, D’Angelico has made a significant move in debuting a collection of solidbody guitars, introduced as part of its affordable Premier Series. With the announcement that these three instruments also would be available in the higher-end Deluxe series, solidbodies have worked their way back up the D’Angelico food chain to offer solidbody enthusiasts the full D’Angelico experience in all its glory once again.
We took a closer look at two of those new models: the Deluxe Atlantic and Deluxe Bedford. These models may look quite different than anything previously made under the D’Angelico name, but there’s a certain, distinguishable elegance about them that fits in with the brand’s celebrated history. Appropriately, deluxe appointments abound, but more importantly the craftsmanship, playability and attention to construction detail are all also worthy of the “deluxe” designation. If you’re looking for a solidbody that truly stands out from the pack and oozes class to boot, D’Angelico’s new Deluxe models may be exactly what you’re looking for.
FEATURES The Deluxe Atlantic and Deluxe Bedford feature body shapes that are reminiscent of other models, while still being entirely unique. (If you want a totally original look, the Deluxe Ludlow offers a truly unorthodox design.) The Bedford has a sleek, angular offset design, while the Atlantic features a curvaceous single-cutaway shape reminiscent of a Les Paul but with its own distinctive set of curves, flat top and generous rear belly contour. Both models have a few features in common. The necks are constructed from a sturdy maple/walnut/maple laminate with a natural satin finish, C-shape profile, dual-action truss rod, Pau Ferro fingerboard, four-ply binding, split-block mother of pearl/abalone inlays, 22 medium frets, a 14-inch radius and 24 3⁄4-inch scale length. The necks on both models are joined to their bodies with a smooth, seamless set-thru joint, and both feature the trademark D’Angelico headstock, “stairstep” Grover Super Rotomatic locking tuners and matching “stairstep” aluminum skyscraper gold truss rod cover.
The Deluxe Atlantic is a dual humbucker model equipped with specially designed USA Seymour Duncan DA-59 humbuckers in the bridge and neck positions. Controls consist of a three-way pickup selector switch and individual volume and tone controls for each pickup with the tone controls also providing push-pull switching to engage coil splitting. The control knobs are D’Angelico’s art deco-style ebony knobs. All hardware is gold-plated, including the tune-o-matic bridge and stop-bar tailpiece. Other classy touches include seven-ply binding surrounding the top and f-hole-style, five-ply pickguard. Our test example had a swamp ash body with natural finish, but basswood body models are also available with Black, Hunter Green or Vintage White finishes.
The Deluxe Bedford we tested has a basswood body and USA Seymour Duncan DA-59 humbucker (bridge) and DA-59 single-coil STK (neck) pickups, but a swamp ash version also is available with the same pickups or optional P90s. Controls for the Bedford are essentially the same, except only the bridge humbucker tone control provides a push-pull coil split function. The Deluxe Bedford is available with a tune-o-matic/stopbar bridge or with a six-point tremolo system. D’Angelico also offers an optional Bedford model with a maple neck and black finish.
PERFORMANCE Like all other models that D’Angelico makes, the excellent playability of the necks makes an instant impression. Both the Deluxe Atlantic and Deluxe Bedford also make a great first impression with their sweet, seductive tones that can be smooth and jazzy or aggressive and raunchy depending on how the amp is set. The swamp ash body Atlantic delivers brilliant jangle and percussive twang that works equally well in both humbucking and single-coil settings, with the latter sounding deliciously Strat-like. The basswood body Bedford sounds darker and heavier, and it is the more ideal choice for harder rock and metal playing styles as well as jazz. The necks on both examples were identical, with generously wide string spacing and a relatively flat radius that makes it especially easy for bigger-fingered players like myself to play with clean precision. The shallow neck depth and smooth heel joint make these models some of the fastest and most comfortable guitars I’ve played in a while.
• STREET PRICES: Deluxe Atlantic Swamp Ash, $1,399; Deluxe Bedford Stopbar, $1,199
MANUFACTURER: D’Angelico Guitars, dangelicoguitars.com
• The Deluxe Atlantic features a single-cutaway body and a pair of full-size Seymour Duncan humbucking pickups with coil-splitting.
• The Deluxe Bedford has an offset body, stacked single-coil Seymour Duncan neck pickup and full-size Seymour Duncan bridge humbucker with coil-splitting.
• Deluxe Series appointments include generous multi-layer binding, gold-plated hardware and split-block mother of pearl/abalone fingerboard inlays.
• Various options are available, including a swamp ash body version of the Deluxe Atlantic and a six-point tremolo for the Deluxe Bedford.
• THE BOTTOM LINE
If you’re looking for a guitar that stands out from the crowd and truly delivers when it comes to tone and playability, D’Angelico’s new Deluxe Series solidbodies are as classy as the company’s reputation.