Dan Armstrong - circa 1973
In 1969 the Ampeg Company of Linden, N.J. released a new line of guitars & basses that truly defined the word
'electric'. No longer resembling anything even remotely similar to an acoustical guitar, they were made of clear
acrylic, and designed by guitar luthier and recording session musician Dan Armstrong.
These instruments were unlike anything seen or heard before and they soon became recognized throughout the rock
industry in the hands of guitar players like Keith Richards, Joe Walsh, Leslie West, Paul McCartney, Jack Bruce,
Geezer Butler, Bill Wyman and many others. In fact, nearly every rock musician has at one time or another played
a Dan Armstrong clear guitar or bass.
But beyond the name on the scratchplate, little is known about the designer of these instruments, and even less
about the various incarnations that the clear guitars underwent in the brief years of their production.
So in the spring of 1999 and again in the winter of 2000, I placed some calls to England, and spoke with a living
legend, Dan Armstrong himself - who was gracious enough to take my calls and answer an onslaught of my questions. The
result of my interviews culminated into this web site, and in the process, our relationship culminated into a good
Since his passing however, it occurred to me that the best way to get to know someone even better is often through the
eyes of others. To that end, and with a lot of help, I managed to interview friends, relatives, and past employees of
Dan. All coupled together, it sheds a great deal of light on an incredible individual who led an amazing life.
These pages are not an attempt to dispute factory literature, specifications, or Ampeg's story of events. Nor is it
meant to contradict any information that others may have about Dan Armstrong and/or his instruments. On the contrary,
it is my hope that the following pages will complement any information that is already out there. This was Dan's story
- and I let him tell it in his own way - often with his own words.
The following pages are dedicated to the memory of my friend Dan Armstrong, and all of the excellent, innovative
products that bear his name.