DeArmond S73-12 Reviews
I bought this guitar at a music store in Ft. Myers, FL after searching for about two years for one. I had gotten one of the 6-string S73's when Musician's Friend was liquidating their stock of them. I wanted the 12-string as well, but they were long gone. I paid $350 for the guitar, which is certainly a good deal.
As far as 12-string electrics go, most people tend to prefer a semi-hollowbody design. However, after plugging in one of these, one realises that a solidbody 12 possesses some real versatility of tone. In the bridge position, one can get the chimey, Roger McGuinn-type of sound, whereas in the middle position (my preference) the tone opens up nicely. It is a really airy sound akin to that of John McLaughin's on the Mahavishnu Orchestra recordings. The neck pickup has its usefulness, but can be a bit muddy with some amplifiers. Through my JC-120, the neck pickup has an almost acoustic tone.
Some may not like the fact that the pickups are not height-adjustable. Otherwise, there is little bad that could ever be said about this wonderful guitar.
The chrome hardware is excellent in quality. The guitar stays in tune very well, which is a MUST for a twelve-string. The cosmetics are visually stunning, with the block inlays and neck binding, the beautiful mahogany shining through the glossy finish, and that classic shape, which is similar to an SG but more accurately like a Guild G-series, like the one Kim Thayil used to play with Soundgarden. It has a set neck. The pickups are single-coil, with individual polepieces. They are remakes of the classic 200-series pickups of the 1960's.
Sadly, the DeArmond line is no more, but these great bang-for-the-buck guitars are still available on the used market. If you are looking for a high-quality 12-string electric but don't have the bankroll for a Rickenbacker, look for an S73-12. You will not be disappointed in the least. And I should know. I have the six- and twelve-string versions as my main axes, and they have never let me down. The quality of tone, build, functionality, and looks of these top-of-the-line DeArmond guitars far exceeds the price you'll likely pay for them. I'd endorse them in a heartbeat if they were still being made!MooT BooXLe
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