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Dan Kent Armstrong was an expert guitar luthier and recording session musician. He was born October 7 1934 in Lakewood, Ohio. He started playing the guitar at age 11, and moved to New York City in the early 1960s in order to work as a studio musician and guitar repairman. In 1965 he opened his own guitar repair shop, "Dan Armstrong's Guitar Service," on West 48th Street.[1] The building was razed in 1968 to make room for the Rockefeller building, and Armstrong relocated his shop, renamed "Dan Armstrong Guitars," to Laguardia Place in Greenwich Villagemarker.

In 1968 the Ampeg Company of Linden, New Jerseymarker hired Dan as a consultant to improve their Grammer line of guitars. Dan asked "why are you interested in acoustic guitars instead of electric? You're in the amp business, so why not make an electric guitar to compliment your amplifiers?" He designed a new line of guitars and basses that were constructed of clear plexiglas. The Dan Armstrong line of guitars also became renowned for their excellent electronics , and interchangeable pickups designed by Bill Lawrence who shared the Greenwich Village shop with Dan, and eventually took it over when he moved back to London. The guitars also had very long sustain caused by the solid plexiglas body. The latter however made the guitars also quite heavy (around 10 lbs). Recently, the guitars have regained popularity with artists such as Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters utilizing the 90s reissue series during performances (playing it almost solely between early 2002 until end of 2003) and music videos (for the songs "All My Life" and the second video version of "Times Like These") . A second reissue of the Dan Armstrong guitar was launched in 2006 containing many upgrades that are widely believed to actually improve upon the original design.

Dan Armstrong moved to Londonmarker in the early 1970s where he developed a new line of electric instruments, amplifiers and effects boxes. The Dan Armstrong London instruments were made of solid Honduran mahogany with sliding low impedance pickups, available as a 6 string guitar, short scale & long scale guitars. Dan also marketed a line of tube guitar and bass amplifiers, the first amps available with graphic equalization and effects boxes, the Blue Clipper, Yellow Humper, Red Ranger, Purple Peaker, Green Ringer & Orange Squeezer.

In 1977 Dan and his wife, Vicki O' Casey, moved back to the United States, A licensing and manufacturing agreement was reached with Musitronics to re-release the effects boxes. Dan also developed a line of pickups for Schecter Guitar Research, a new amplifier for Fender. Dan and Vicki returned to Englandmarker, where they lived in Ashford, Kentmarker, in the late 1990s, but again moved back to America after several years. After a prolonged illness, Dan died in Los Angelesmarker on June 8, 2004.[1]

Dan Armstrong effects boxes continue to be made under licence from his son, Kent Armstrong, who is also a maker of guitar pick-ups.

List of notable artists who have used Dan Armstrong guitars


^1. "Dan Armstrong - The Man and His Guitars,"


Tony Bacon, The Ultimate Guitar Book, New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 1997.

Tony Bacon, Dave Burrluck, Paul Day, and Michael Wright, Electric Guitars: The Illustrated Encyclopedia, Thunder Bay Press, 2006.

Gregg Hopkins and Bill Moore, Ampeg: The Story Behind the Sound, Milwaukee, Hal Leonard, 1999.

Categories : Guitar makers | Musicians | Persons born in 1934


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