In choosing to buy this guitar, i had about a $1000 NZ to play with, so I looked at mexican strats, epiphone les pauls and ibanez widdly guitars. I'm confident i got the best deal in the shop, and I'll keep this guitar til the day i die. The only thing i didn't like about this instrument was a horrid clear perspex pickgaurd that jutted out, and with my "play it like you're trying to kill it" style of playing, i kept catching my fingers on it. But it was easily removed, my fingers didn't catch anymore, and as a bonus the removal of this horrid peice of perspex made the guitar look *even* sexier. To anyone considering buying one, this instrument will serve you in style with a great sound and for a LONG time.
Model Year: 1999
Price: $900.00 New Zealand (new)
Where Obtained: Begg's MusicWorks
The De Armond M-70 Bluesbird (I hope i got the model number right) Is an Indonesian Made Les Paul style 6-string guitar. The body of this instrument is Mahogany, the neck, maple, with a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets. It is equipped with two tone controls and two volume controls, my personal favourite choice for controlling the two humbucker setup which this guitar comes with. A three-way selector switch is supplied just above the neck pickup, just like a les paul. The pickups in this instrument are the excellent DeArmond passive pickups, the main reason i bought this instrument. Shorlty after I bought this one, the company was purchased by Fender Squier and both the pickups and construction materials changed. This particular bluesbird is a highly unattractive turqoise color, but what can I say, I got it cheap for that reason, and I know NOBODY'S got one THIS color :) The bridge unit is a standard tune-o-matic style a la gibson's les paul. It is a single cutaway guitar with average gotoh type tuners.
From the moment I picked this guitar up in the shop, I knew I wanted to take it home. It plays like a dream. It was easy to set it up how I like it, with a moderate action. The neck is a reasonably chunky affair, but that's how I like my instruments. Thin necks have always felt a little flimsy under my gorilla-like fingers. The Width is similar to a Leas Paul (I DO seem to be drawing a lot of gibson comparisons). The neck construction, as with the rest of the instrument, is flawless.
Now, to the most important part of the guitar...... How it sounds! I've played this guitar through a wide range of amplifiers (Fender Princeton, Mesa DC-3, an assortment of Peavey Amps, a friends Fender DeVille and more) and effects (whammy pedal, Boss chorus, flanger, delay units, multi effects, in fact, just about every effect you can think of) and the sound has always been LOVELY. The inherent tone of the instrument is so nice, I have been known to D.I. it for recording occasionally. Initially The neck pickup was a little too dark and muddy for my tastes, but as i have owned it longer i have only grown to love it. The bridge pickup produces mid-range-rich tone, perfect for leads and noisome riffage. This guitar was bought as my main gigging axe and has served me admirably on stage and in studio from day one. As a gigging rock guitarist, I need a huge variety of tones available, and this axe is capable of any humbucker sound i've needed so far. The only mod I've ever considered doing to this instrument is a coil tap on the neck pickup (there really is no substitute for that single-coil neck pickup sound), but the middle switch position has done reasonably well thus far at sounding similar. Distorted tones are fat and thick at the neck, tight and precise at the bridge, But the real pleasure of this guitar for me is when i get it it home from the road. The jazz tones one can obtain from this guitar are superlative! between these two pickups and their tone controls, theres not many jazz guitar sounds it can't emulate. with the tone controls on full theres a ballady clean sound in the neck and a country twang at the bridge, if you like that sort of thing....
The Bluesbird has had a hard life in the few short years I have owned it. Constant gigging and touring in a covers act really takes a toll on the beloved guitar. This Particular guitar has been sweated on, spat at, kicked, thrown, dropped, had beer spilt on it, travelled about 100,000 miles and been in a hundred smokey bars and the only work its ever needed has been one volume pot change, and its just starting to need the intonation and truss-rod adjusted now.