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D’Angelico Premier Bedford SH review

Retro cool offset looks with tones to match

D'Angelico Premier Bedford SH
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

A guitar that proves how potent the unusual single-coil and mini-humbucker combination can be for blues, rock, jazz and all spaces in between.

For

  • Cool aesthetic.
  • It's a versatile electric.
  • Tuners are quality Grover Super Rotomatics.

Against

  • Truss rod cover looks great but difficult to access.
  • Build could be too weighty for some.

When D’Angelico launched its first solidbody line of guitars back in 2018, it made a strong statement: three visually fresh shapes that bridged the NYC company’s art deco touches with contemporary versatility.

One of those models was the Bedford, and the SH branches into semi-hollow territory with the exciting prospect of an HSS pickup configuration that could be your do-it-all tone machine.

We can’t resist a Daphne Blue Fender with the contrast of a tortoiseshell scratchplate, and here D’Angelico’s Sky Blue and offset body combo delivers the same instant vintage-style appeal that pops. A more surprising touch is the satin wood finish on the back of the maple scarf join neck; it may break up the blue but it adds comfort.

And if you’re coming to this from certain other electric models, you might well need it. Weighing in at a relatively hefty 8.4lbs, with a flatter 14” radius, this mahogany body beauty isn’t going to be the easiest guitar for beginners. Our first port of call is a truss rod check and a necessary adjustment (and it should be yours with a new guitar).

It needs a fair bit after what was likely a chilly shipping environment. We also double-check the vintage saddle heights with our radius gauge and all is well, though we notice a significant buzz that seems to be coming from the bridge on the D string when fretted. We try changing the string after failing to find any obvious cause elsewhere: bingo! Buzz eradicated.

D'Angelico Premier Bedford SH

(Image credit: Future / Phil Barker)

With the acoustic checks done – and like all good semis this certainly is enjoyable to play unplugged, too – it’s time to find out more about these pickups. All Duncan Designed, the neck and middle are Tele-style, while the bridge is a mini-humbucker. And what a combination they turn out to be.

The mini ’bucker has a chimey snarl that can take you into a lot of desirable tonal locales, including ragged Neil Young tones and sweeter crunch when the volume is dialled back. Its brightness pairs well with the single coils, and the second and fourth positions prove their worth for cleaner, mellower waters.

The neck TE-103 ticks all the right boxes: that hollow tonality with just the right dash of metallic edge for blues, and rolled back on the tone for jazzier fare. A six-point tremolo only adds to the fun.

Specs

  • BODY: Mahogany top back and sides
  • NECK: Maple
  • SCALE: 628.65mm (24.75”)
  • FINGERBOARD: Ovangkol, 14” radius
  • FRETS: 22
  • PICKUPS: Duncan Designed TE-103 neck and middle, Duncan Designed MH-102 bridge
  • CONTROLS: Volume, Tone, 5-way blade selector 
  • HARDWARE: Grover Super Rotomatic tuners, 6-point tremolo
  • LEFT-HANDED: No
  • GIG BAG: Included
  • FINISH: Sky Blue (reviewed), Oxblood and Black Flake available with tune-o-matic bridge
  • CONTACT: D'Angelico Guitars

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Rob is the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar, he worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including as Editor of Total Guitar. He's currently set aside any pipe dreams of getting anywhere with his own songs and is enjoying playing covers in function bands.