Originally the chief user of DeArmond pickups were guitar players looking to be heard above the sound of a big band. The other group of users were jazz guitarists seeking a clean sound and as well to be heard as well as a trumpet or drums.
The original DeArmonds came in two styles. The RH was detachable and could be fitted over the soundhole of a flattop guitar by use of springs.
The FH used a metal brace that attached to the strings beneath the bridge and tailpiece of an archtop guitar.
DeArmond guitars were based on older Guild electric guitars.
Guild opened its business in 1952 when Epiphone guitars went out of business. Many of the artisans that worked at Epiphone were hired by former employee Alfred Dronge and retailer George Mann. Originally located in Manhattan and then moved to larger facilities in Hoboken New Jersey.
In 1966 the company was acquired by Avnet and moved its manufacturing to Westbrook Rhode Island where it continued until 1995 when Guild was acquired by Fender.
|DeArmond Goldtone and 2K Alnicos|
The bass pickups were the DeArmond Turbo Jet Bass Single Coil and the DeArmond Gold Tone Bass Humbucking pickup.
|DeArmond Starfire Special|
In 2004 members of the Fender Forum were notified by FMIC there was a big discount being offered through Musicians Friend to clear out Fender Musical Instruments Company’s stock of DeArmond guitars. After that DeArmond guitars were no more.
They are bound on the top with plastic trim and the logo is inlaid. The wood is superior using maple for the tops and walnut for the backs or solid mahogany for some of the models. The necks are made of mahogany.
The block fret markers on these are made of PVC, the necks are bolt-on, the pickups on some of the budget models are not DeArmonds, the wood is agathis and the headstock logo is a decal.
The hollowbody models, the X155 and the 400 are excellent jazz instruments.
There are also two semi-hollow instruments manufactured. The Starfire features twin Gold Tone humbucking pickups and double cutaway, while the Starfire Special is equipped with two single coil 2K pickups a Florentine cutaway and a Bigsby style vibrato. Both instruments were based on the Guild Starfire guitars.
The budget guitars featured generic open humbucking pickups and bolt on necks while the nicer models featured either solid mahogany bodies or chambered bodies with walnut backs and maple tops. Some came with Gold Tone Humbuckers and some featured 2K single coils. The necks were set in, the bodies bound and the inlay was superior.
DeArmond also released a Gumby style solid guitar,
S series 12 string and the S67 seven string model.
There is an extra switch that turns on the middle pickup and reverses the polarity. So you can have the middle pickup in phase or out of phase with the neck and bridge pickups.
This unique instrument is still in production, however is sans the DeArmond brand and has gone back to just being the Ashbory bass.
My personal favorite is the DeArmond M-72 with twin Goldtone pickups.
This lasted for about one year until they were gone.