Phil Maneri’s

This Article Was Originally Published On: June 3rd, 2015 #Issue 16.

D’Angelico guitars are some of the most desired instruments in guitar history. They command high prices and high praise, both now and from the day they began. As is often the case in American business, the name was purchased and attached to a more moderate quality (and priced) instrument. In this particular case, they did retain some of the styling of the namesake.

These hollow-body electrics have Art Deco or Streamline Moderne era design cues that are carried into this version from the venerable line. They are very cool-looking and a hipster trend dujour. The short scale works nicely in the Les Paul-themed aesthetic. This instrument design blends the Les Paul and the Deco in a very pleasing way.

This instrument does not have the same high level of precise detail associated with the original D’Angelico’s, but it’s not priced near that level, either. These instruments are Korean-manufactured hollow bodies, and have flamed plywood top, back and sides, with a two-piece hard maple neck separated by a walnut stringer. The quality of the plywood seems good, and the joinery of the neck looks great. The gold-plated hardware follows a Les Paul styling. The bass has a very beautiful sunburst finish that is well executed, even though it is very thick polyurethane. The thickness is typical of finishes seen on most Korean imports, regardless of the price point.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id="103621"]

The electronics are the typical Korean wiring harnesses we’ve seen on other imports. One of the wire runs escaped its double-stick tape harness, and the pickup selector pickup was intermittently failing in the neck position. As is typical in a hollow-body instrument, no shielding was applied. Even so, this bass was better than average in terms of noise. Most of the construction lines seem straight and clean. The frets and nut seem a little rough, but are certainly a cut above the usual Korean factory style. The truss rod is typical of Korean instruments. It is a dual-action truss rod that was found adjusted to add back bow, rather than tensioned to adjust for varied levels of relief under string tension. With no string tension, and the rod sitting at center point where there is no forward or backward tension, the neck is back bowed. When under full string tension, with the truss rod remaining at the neutral center point, the neck is just flat. While the instrument plays okay for some as it sits, you cannot adjust the neck into relief without significantly higher tension strings (which is why D’Angelico does not recommend light gauge strings with these basses).

I have played a fretless version of this instrument which I liked a lot, and which I slightly prefer over the fretted model. The EX-Bass is a great-looking instrument with a fantastic aesthetic that is both modern and vintage. It is a bit on the expensive side, but it does offer a unique look, feel and tone, and it’s certainly a good instrument.

bass test
D'Angelico EX-Bass

D’Angelico EX-Bass


Style:Single cutaway
Overall Length:47”
Body Dimension:19" long x 15" wide at lower bout
Body Contouring: Minimal
Weight:7.12 lbs


Scale length:32.25”
Neck width at nut:1.725"
Neck width at 12th fret:2.279"
Neck width at joint:2.413"
Neck thickness at nut:.86"
Neck thickness at 1st fret:.872"
Neck thickness at 12th fret: .960"
Neck thickness at joint:1.980"
String spacing at nut:.440"
String spacing at saddle:740"
Fingerboard radius:14”
Descriptor for neck shape:C shape
Peghead break angle:13deg
Bridge break angle:17 deg
Afterlength at nut:2.64" to 5.162"
Afterlength at saddle:1.975"
Attachment:Set neck
Pocket gap:n/a
Truss rod type/access:Dual-action / peghead end
Fret count:22


Pickups:Proprietary dual-coils
Pickup location(s):8 3/8” and 13”
Controls:Volume, tone, pickup selector
Preamp circuit voltage:Passive


Body Woods:Laminated flamed maple
Neck WoodsHard maple (walnut stringer)
Fingerboard:Indian rosewood
Body Finish:Polyurethane
Neck Finish:Polyurethane


Strings:GHS Boomers
Gauge:.122, .102, .082, .062, .042
Attachment:At bridge
Bridge/color:Tune-O-Matic / gold
Tuners/color:Sealed / gold
Knobs/color:Wood / ebony
Control cavity cover:n/a


Company:D'Angelico Guitars
141 West 28th Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (646)346-1062
County of origin:South Korea (setup in USA)
Warranty:1 Year
Price:$2,469.99 (list), $1,629.00 (street)
Options:Lefty, fretless
Accessories:Deluxe contoured hard shell case
Available colors:Black, White, Cherry, Vintage Sunburst, Natural, Blue Burst, Grey Black
Acquired from:D'Angelico Guitars
Dates:October 2014 to January 2015
Locals:California (in-hand review), Ohio (technical review)
Test gear:GK MB Fusion 500, Ampeg 410HLF, Sadowsky MV4HPJ


1-5 (unacceptable to impeccable)


Features: 3.5
Tonal Flexibility:3.5
Ease of Use: 5
Ergonomics: 3.5
Tone: 4

In-hand Score 4.07average

On-bench Score 3.06average


Overall construction3
Wood choice3
Materials choice3
Fit and Finish of adornments4
Quality of finish work4
Ease of repair 3
Potential range of setup3
Balance on knee3
Balance on strap3
Overall electronic quality2
Solder joints, wire runs2
Quality for Price Range2


Low: Vintage, warm, round, and fat
Mids: Vintage, strong, thick-focused punch
Highs: Subdued brightness fingerstyle / more detailed with a pick


This bass would be more applicable to blues and/or vintage rock styles of music. Not really suited for modern rock music. If you’re a dedicated classic rock player and want to be noticed and not just heard, this bass is for you.

Eastwood Bass