Guitar World// July 17th, 2021
The name D’Angelico instantly conjures images of archtop hollowbody guitars as well as semi-hollow models for many who have paid casual attention to the company’s recent offerings.
However, for the past seven years D’Angelico has also offered a fascinating range of solidbody models that are worthy of attention, especially by players who are looking for something different than the standardized iterations that make up maybe 90 percent of the market’s offerings.
D’Angelico’s latest Deluxe Atlantic and Deluxe Brighton models are great examples of how a few “little” changes can make big differences in tone. We’re talking about details like the tonewood/scale length pairings, fretwire dimensions and even the pickup magnets.
While the D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic and Deluxe Brighton may look similar to classic solidbody models, these guitars offer bold, distinctive voices that stray from the same old “been there, done that” standards.
With their enticing combination of classy looks and unique tones, the D’Angelico Deluxe Atlantic and Deluxe Brighton are suitable for players who want to stand out from the crowd rather than blend in.
The Deluxe Atlantic and Deluxe Brighton models deliver an abundance of eye candy, including D’Angelico’s signature oversized head-stock, Grover Super Rotomatic locking tuners with stairstep buttons, aluminum skyscraper truss rod cover, mother of pearl/abalone split-block fret-board inlays, ebony control knobs and an oversized, ornately curved five-ply pickguard.
Both also feature three-piece, 22-fret maple necks with a 24.75-inch scale length, dual full-size humbuckers, a Tune-O-Matic bridge with stopbar tailpiece and separate volume and tone/push-pull coil split controls for each pickup.
However, each model varies from more com-mon iterations of the dual-humbucker solidbody. Both models are available with three different finish options with different body materials – Vintage Sunburst/swamp ash with flame maple top, Desert Gold/alder and Matte Walnut/alder.
The Atlantic features a single-cutaway body while the Brighton boasts double-cutaway design, with the swamp ash/flame maple cap version of either weighing less than the alder versions. Both bodies measure a slim 1.625 inches thick – the same as an SG.
The pickups on both models are a pair of Seymour Duncan Seth Lover humbuckers, but they are equipped with A4 magnets instead of the usual A2. The frets are Jescar 47104s, which measure just a skosh more width and height than Vintage Jumbo Dunlop 6150/6155 frets.
Set thru-neck construction provides a smooth, heel-free neck-to-body transition for unrestricted playing comfort. With its slim C-shape profile, flat 14-inch radius and silky smooth ebony fingerboard, both models offer the fast playability of a modern shred guitar along with the luxurious feel of a handmade boutique instrument.
Like I typically do when first receiving guitars for review, I just plugged in the Matte Walnut/alder Deluxe Atlantic and Vintage Sunburst/swamp ash Deluxe Brighton without looking up the specs in advance. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that both possess very distinctive yet attractive voices completely unlike any of the 10,000 or so dual-humbucker solidbodies I’ve played during my lifetime.
The Deluxe Brighton is cheekily named as I immediately ID’d it as the “bright one”. Its swamp ash body delivered tight, punchy attack with an aggressive upper midrange that is enhanced by the crisp detail of the Duncan Seth Lovers’ A4 magnets.
The overall character is like the kick and bite of a Tele but with a bigger, fuller voice thanks to the humbuckers and a smoother transition from attack to sustain thanks to the 24.75-inch scale.
With its alder body, the Deluxe Atlantic I tested had a slightly warmer character that fell in between the tones of a Strat and an SG. It too has an aggressive attack, but its tone is more balanced, thanks to more prominent midrange. The A4 magnets in the Lover humbuckers work wonders with individual note def-inition, treble sparkle and gut-punching bass.
The construction of both models is meticulous. Belly contours and the smooth satin finish on the necks provide outstanding playing comfort, and the maple neck construction provides excellent stability even though the profile is quite seductively slim. The dimensions of the Jescar 47104 frets are just right for a player like me who learned on vintage frets but honed my craft on modern jumbos.