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

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


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  1. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    NYC
    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
    NYC
    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
    NYC
    *UPDATE*

    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

    rockyjo

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

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    NYC
    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
    fullsizeoutput_149.jpeg

    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
    NYC
    *UPDATE II*

    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.
     
  8. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    NYC
    UPDATE III:

    Well, 4yrs later and I revisited Gruin (sp?) in Nashville last week. This time they had 2 new Martin BCPA4s on display.

    Having tried almost every ABG on the market as well as a few discontinued (vintage) models, playing the Martin was exactly what if been looking/waiting for. The tone, volume, and touch were just perfect. Tone like an acoustic guitar— NOT 'trying to be an upright'. Im sold. Next, Ive got to plan a day-trip to the factory in PA.

    Ive still got to get my hands on a vintage Guild B50 but the current cream of the crop:

    • Martin BCPA4
    • *Martin B-40, B-1, B-65 TBD
    • *Guild B50 - TBD, but I have high hopes!
    • Guild B140E

    ...all the rest
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
  9. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    I have most of those, and I'd put the Emerald Balor, the Marusczcyk Svoboda, and the venerable Ernie Ball Earthwood above the Martins in that list. That is, in terms of volume. The Martin sure does have a sweet tone and punches well above its weight class in terms of acoustic volume to physical size ratio, but the others beat it in absolute volume. FWIW. YMMV. Substantial penalties for early withdrawal. :woot::p
     
  10. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    NYC
    yeah but getting my hands on an Earthwood is like finding Sasquatch :)

    love to find a vintage instrument but getting a new(er) production model will most likely be the case.

    the "all the rest" comment was referring to the pile of "acoustic basses" in your local store that require the umbilical cord ;P
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
  11. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    NYC
    I havent seen the Balor, but not in US. I'd need to 'feel it' Im looking for a natural acoustic tone - won't be able to tell till its in my hands. AND Ive seen the Svoboda - just wish that Youtube clip illustrated the acoustic qualities; using the pickup wasn't helpful (irrelevant) for what I'm looking for. Both certainly look nice, probably quality build etc, just not for me.
     
    bholder likes this.
  12. bholder

    bholder Affable Sociopath Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2001
    Vestal, NY
    Received a gift from Sire* (see sig)
    Sure, no worries, good luck with the Martin, glad it does what you need!
     
    Karl Kaminski likes this.
  13. Karl Kaminski

    Karl Kaminski Supporting Member

    Aug 26, 2008
    NYC
    always appreciate extra eyes in a search :thumbsup:
     
  14. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
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