We’re in the home stretch with the mods on this. When this bass came in, it had a cracked nut, a broken 3 way switch, a warped backplate, a missing knob, no shielding, some interior wiring done with twist nuts….(yikes)…you get the idea. Good intentions, poor execution.
A previous owner pulled the original pups and dropped in Jackson. Matt, my student and the new owner of this bass, decided the Jackson pups were keepers to maintain the vintage vibe. Fair.
The bass is now all cleaned up with cavity shielding, a new nut to accommodate B E A D tuning, new wiring, 3 new 500k Bourns pots, Mullard caps wired as treble bleeds on the two volume pots, a Sprague orange drop cap on the tone, active/passive switch, and a properly fitted backplate with shielding. Still have some work to do on this; setup, intonation for the new tuning, and the like. But we’re close to the end.
Matt watched me carve a nut for standard tuning, and then he took a turn with my tools to carve the B E A D nut. Over the course of this project, he’s become a lot more comfortable with soldering, shielding, and small power tools like a Dremel. He’s considering some other projects for the future.
He came in with another nice find recently; a 1994 Fender Cowpoke.
His first bass is a well loved Aria Pro II. Pretty cool watching him build such an interesting bass collection…and he’s not old enough to drive yet.
For folks not in the know (because I sure wasn’t “in the know”, here’s some facts I pulled together about D’Agostino from various sources across the web:
Jedistar writes; “D’Agostino acoustic guitars imported to USA from Japan in 1976 and solid bodies guitars originally by EKO custom shop in 1977. From 1982 solid bodies made in Japan. From 1984 manufacture in Korea. Importer was PMS Music, New York.”
From this article on ten great non Gibson Les Paul builds at Spinditty. Hmm, perhaps a timely find considering Gibson just filed for Chapter 11….
Just kidding folks…onward….
“D’Agostino guitars are very difficult to find information on. They were produced from the years 1977 to 1992. Apparently their place of production or country of origin changed several times over those years. As a rule of thumb, it is good to know that any guitar made in Japan is going to be thought of as a much better guitar than one made in Korea.
There are absolutely D’Agostino guitars made in both Japan and Korea. Pat D’agostino, was an American who had been employed with Gibson. He wanted his own guitar company though, and so he got himself one. The D’Agostino Benchmark series guitars were the cream of the crop, and those were built in Italy.
D’Agostino guitars as a company produced copies of many popular guitar forms, and of course, they produced Les Paul copies as well. Some of these were set neck Les Paul copies, others were bolt neck Les Paul copies. Again, some were built in Japan, some were built in Korea. The Japanese guitars are always going to have a higher asking price. D’Agostino kept production numbers low so as to maintain the quality of guitars bearing his name.
D’Agostino Les Paul copies are known to be of great quality, and also very heavy. These guitars are not chambered, and could weigh as much as ten pounds. So they’ve got a very late 50s Gibson vintage vibe to them.”
There’s also this Reddit with old price lists, literature, and lots of owner pics of these guitars.