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Digital Subscriptions > Guitar Magazine > Nov-18 > DAN ARMSTRONG


At different points in Dan Armstrong’s career he was a session player, a respected tech, a guitar designer, a pedal and amp builder, and a pickup manufacturer. Yet in each endeavour, he made his mark. Huw Price profiles a polymath…



Keith Richards playing one of Dan’s famous ‘Plexi’ guitars on stage with The Rolling Stones
© Getty Images

Dan Armstrong was born in Pittsburgh on 7 October 1934. He began playing guitar aged 11 and later played double bass in his school orchestra. By the time he left school, Dan was already gigging and he eventually made the decision to move to New York to become a professional jazz guitarist. Struggling to find consistent work in the Big Apple, Dan started using his self-taught engineering and electronics skills to take on setup and wiring work for guitar retailer Eddie Bell. He also enjoyed jamming and having met a number of pro players that way, Dan finally started to get studio and touring work. For this work, Dan would often rent equipment from a store called Carroll’s, and after a while the owner noticed that his instruments were returning in better playing condition than when they left. This led to more setup work, and with guitar music all the rage, Dan opened ‘Dan Armstrong’s Guitar Service’ on 48th Street, where his customers included John Sebastian, Jack Bruce, Wes Montgomery and Jimi Hendrix.

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