Dan Armstrong also produced his own custom sets of guitar & bass strings called Dan Armstrong Superstrings.
Like the advertizement seen at left, virtually every piece of literature sports the 'Distributed Exclusively By Ampeg'
slogan, along with the Ampeg 'a' logo which would seem to portray Dan as producing these string sets during the years
he was with Ampeg.
But nothing could be further from the truth. Long before his dealings with Ampeg, Dan had been providing much
of his cliental with custom select sets of strings obtained in a day and an age when such things were fairly uncommon.
Dan once said to me "I had some guitars in the shop strung up with some really light guages that I kinda
threw together and everyone absolutely loved playing them when they came in. It seemed like people were playing
on them all the time, mostly because they could finally do some string bending. At the time there really wasn't
any extra light sets available on the market - yet I wanted my customers to enjoy the benefits of lighter guage strings
so I decided to create my own custom set."
To make this custom set Dan would aquire strings from Milton Wolfe, in Chicago, then he would throw away
the low E string and shift all the remaining strings up one - then he added a high A banjo string. Together, this made
for a nice slinky set of strings his customers loved. By the time Dan had signed on with Ampeg he figured that they
would have a much broader distribution base than his own, and given how many of his customers raved about his custom
sets, Dan felt it was a profitable venture. At about the same time, Dan discovered that Milton Wolfe stings were
actually made by E&O Mari - makers of La-Bella strings.
So Dan just contracted them to make Dan Armstrong Superstrings for him as well. In this way he no longer had to throw
away any strings, as he could specify the guages that he wanted.
As seen upper left in blue is the electric guitar set. Advertizing brochures show a total of six packaged
sets that were available. UL-207, XL-209, LL-210, L-211, M-212, & H-213 ranging in price from $3.00 to $4.00 a set.
According to Dan "this got moved down to five packaged sets as the H-213 set was removed from the lineup."
In addition, the sets now sported new names where the numbers now preceeded the guage letters. After the changes the
strings would become known as the 207-UL, 209-XL, 210-L, 211-M, & 212-H. The selling price had also changed as it was
moved up to $4.50.
Seen above middle in yellow is the electric bass set 90-L, a light guage set. The bass strings are the only sets that
did not see a name change, for the 1969 literature already listed them with the numbers preceeding the letters. The
Amber colored package seen at upper right is also a bass set, though a medium guage set number 90MX. The scale length
on these strings is longer however 34½" vs. the 30½" used on the short scale version
and provides the extra length needed for long scale basses &/or basses with scroll type headstocks.
Literature dated on June 30th 1969 shows six packaged sets of bass strings that were available. 90-L, 90-M,
and 90-H were all regular scale length strings available in light, medium and heavy guages. The remaining three sets,
the 90-LX, 90-MX, and 90-HX were the extra length scale strings (represented by the letter X) and again available in light,
medium, and heavy guages (represented by the letters L - M & H). All bass strings were priced at $15.00 in 1969.
The acoustic guitar strings came in light, medium and heavy guage sets as well. Literature lists them as the L-310,
the M-312 and the H-314 respectively. Like the blue packaged electric guitar strings these string sets would get
renamed as well. Whereas Dan's original acoustic string set names had the guage letters preceeding the numbers, the
name change would reverse this trend and so the acoustic string sets were now called the 310-L, the 312-M and the
The acoustic strings came in a green color package. As seen above left, a 312-M medium guage set sold in 1969
for $3.00 as per literature. However, by 1970 the same package had taken on a new look as well as a new price. This
was likely due not only to inflation, but to the fact that Dan had brought Ampeg in with him. Although Ampeg's
advertizing and marketing departments could reach the masses far more easily than Dan could ever hope to, the overhead
was higher as a result. As can be seen at upper middle - notice the newer look of the packaging,
and in particular the bottom of the package, which features larger lettering, as well as a price change as the sets
now sold for $3.50. At upper right, notice the various Ampeg markings on the back cover of the packaging.
As the 1960's gave way to the 1970's other string manufacturers would soon follow suit and mass produce a slinky string
set of their own. Today, these Dan Armstrong Superstrings are considered collectors items by many, and serve as a
reminder of Dan's pioneering vision, for it reveals just how far ahead of his time he truly was.
Names and images are TMand © Dan Armstrong / Ampeg. All rights reserved.
All other names and images are TMand © of their respective owners. All rights reserved.