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ABG: D'Angelico? BoulderCreek/Breedlove/Thunderchief/Aria

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Karl Kaminski, Sep 28, 2017.

  1. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    I'm looking for a ABG with a focus on its acoustic quality/volume. I've tried a bunch of ABGs having been disappointed by either vol/tone/build quility. The new Guild B140E has had the best projection of all the in-store I've tried (Fender/Ibanez/Dean/Ovation).

    Since getting a Martin or B50 is out of my price range, has anyone played the D'Angelico's yet- Excel or Premier Mott? I haven't seen any talk about it here on TB. I see little difference (only FB and Bridge material) between the two from their specsheet online. Im curious if theres any tonal difference. No one around here carries them in store.

    Love to hear D'ang comparisons with BoulderCreek, Breedlove, Thunderchief, and that Aria online everyone talkin' about.
  2. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Subbed for news on the D'Angelicos. :D
  3. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    I may pull the trigger and do a purchase and return if unhappy, but Id rather play it first and avoid all the hassle.

    Ill post if I can get my hands on one!
  4. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008

    Just got to play both the Premier and Excel Mott ABG. First for those in NYC there is a D'angelico head office/showroom on W 28th St with just about everyone of their guitars hanging up to play. The place is great with an event stage and cozy livingroom-like areas to play the instruments. Both Charile and Kim were very helpful and kind with their time and information.

    Now to the basses... It was great having 3-4 of each model to compare. As you would expect the consistency and build quality is great. And with all instruments; strings (type and age) and setup will affect your experience. A few instruments had newer strings than others and I was able to "guesstimate" tone and quality by playing about 2-3 of each model.

    As stated earlier I'm looking at each instrument's acoustic tone and quality. Both Excel and Premier were balanced across the instrument, and in general I found the what you'd expect with price; the upper level Mott (Excel) had more "depth" of tone, and a better lower end to the fundamental. The excel was definitely "punchier" while the Premier was brighter tone with more of that "acoustic guitar bass" sound. The Excel definitely had better body and thump to it, and the Primer sounded like what you'd expect from the $500 market ABG –though the Fit/Finish/Feel is much better that most.

    All three finishes were nice, I think the Tobacco Burst is not as dark in real life as the pics online. The Dark Smoke/gray tone really covers the wood grain. If I were going with the Excel, I'm not sure Id want to hind it behind all that color. "To each his own", but I digress...

    Build differences in the D'angelico models:
    Excel is all solid wood, gold hardware, brass bridge pins -which made a noticeable (albeit minimal) difference in weight, wonder if it has an affect on sustain?

    Premier has laminated sides/back, Sonokeline FB and Bridge, Bridge pins may be plastic (or Sonokeline?)

    Other notes: There's no fretless or 5 string option

    I didn't bother with the electronics and running thru an amp as that's the least of my concern and I can always bend and shape my tone with my gear as needed. I was happy I got to actually play these before trying to make a blind purchase online. Thanks again to the guys at D'angelico for a nice little hang!
    Outtaseezun and PkFloydLvr like this.
  5. rockyjo


    Jan 7, 2011
    Denver, CO
    So did you buy one/any you listed?
    If so, which and why? If not, what were they missing that you wanted?
  6. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    HI rockyjo
    No, I didn't pick up any of the basses mentioned (yet). Im still holding out to try a Martin and Guild B50 if I can find one (and save my pennies). Just from research I'm leaning towards the guild, but the proof'll be in the playing.

    To recap, Im looking for an acoustic instrument that plays well acoustically. While some want an ABG to emulate an upright, I want it to play/sound/resonate like an acoustic guitar (just 1 octave lower). So thats driving my search and criteria. To date, the Guild B140E is still the best acoustically sounding bass I've played. All the rest have been in the category of being from fair to "just ok" (and yes you can plug them in, but thats not my goal.)

    I did play this stunning custom ABG in Nashville this summer, but IMHO its voice didn't equal its price. YMMV

    In the meantime, I salvaged a Dean ABG on CL that was in awful shape as a fun project. That project is for another thread I guess, but for the cost of under $100 including the bass, new nut/saddle/pins/TI strings, a homemade PlateMate, some hide glue for the top braces, and fret work it was a lot of fun! Certainly worth the time and money, plays better than stock now. But the search is still on...
  7. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008

    The Sam Ash here on 34th St had a Breedlove (Solo single cut) on the shelf this week. I have to say it was nice, good projection, clean tone. But not sure if I'd place it as a front-runner above the Guild. That being said, it was a little more comfortable to play than the Guild. (The Guild just felt "long" in 1st position to me compared to the Breedlove.)

    Still waiting to get my hands on a BoulderCreek, Martin, vintage Thunderchief and Guild.

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