’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.

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