Dan Armstrong (London) serial numbers

Sometime in 1976-77, I decided that my second hand Strat was just too thin sounding to produce the range of sounds that I wanted. I sold it (yup, a 1966 Strat) for £180 and approached a London based guitar maker called Stephen Delft to build me the ultimate guitar - something between a Gibson and a Fender.

Dan Armstrong (London)As it happened, Stephen Delft had just acquired a bunch of Dan Armstrong (London) guitars because the business had closed down and I was persuaded to part with £250 for one of them. It was my main guitar for many years and was the one I used exclusively on the Caedmon 1978 album.

I've got a guitar, let’s devalue it!

Of course, being me, I promptly customised it, shaving away a rib cage contour on the back and re-varnishing the whole thing in polyurethane, including the brazilian rosewood fingerboard. What can I say, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Over the years, the brutal refinishing in a freezing cold Edinburgh flat started to show itself. Blotchy white blooms appeared under the varnish. With the advent of a new Caedmon album and the discovery of an experimental Dan Armstrong finish in white (nice!) I decided it was time to revive the faithful old bugger.

Over the last week, I've stripped away the old polyurethane varnish using Nitromors ‘Craftsman’ Polyurethane stripper. Rather naively, I expected the stripper to remove my polyurethane and leave the original epoxy resin finish intact. When that proved not to be the case, I just attacked the whole guitar with gusto. And that's when I discovered the serial numbers.

Step back

Dan Armstrong serial under truss rod coverUnderneath the truss rod cover of a Dan Armstrong (London) is written the serial number, 4459 in my case. it was also written in the control cavity, although it's always possible that was me, 30 odd years ago. This means that it was the 59th guitar built in the 4th quarter of 1974. This is a tiny bit weird because I bought it as a brand new guitar at least two years later - well, if my memory serves me right <cough>.

And forward again

But as I stripped away all the gubbins from my previous foray into guitar tech, I discovered the original stamped serial number in the control cavity. Does that look like 4459 to you? And if not, what does it look like?

Dan Armstrong stamped serial number