When I started playing guitar long ago, yes, I’m seasoned; affordable guitars were undoubtedly cheap, but most were hot garbage. I recall purchasing a Takamine dreadnaught acoustic in the early ’90s for around $600; by today’s standards, that guitar was not very good. Affordability no longer means CHEAP and CRAPPY; guitars like the D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS prove this to be true. The Premier Gramercy is in good company as companies like Sire, PRS, Fender, and Gibson are all making outstanding guitars at this price point.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
While the D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS isn’t perfect, and it’s a ways away from being a guitar a seasoned player would play a gig with, it’s certainly better than guitars in this price range have ever been. Beginner and intermediate guitar players have many options now, which is exciting to see, and the D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS is one option worth buying.
Table of contents
The D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS has the following features and specifications:
- String Type: Steel
- Number of Strings: 6
- Body Shape: Premier Gramercy
- Left-/Right-handed: Right-handed
- Color: Aged Mahogany
- Finish: Satin
- Back & Sides Wood: Laminated Mahogany
- Body Bracing: Scalloped X-bracing
- Binding: 3-ply Black/White
- Neck Wood: Mahogany
- Neck Shape: C
- Radius: 16″
- Fingerboard Material: Torrefied Merbau
- Fingerboard Inlay: Acrylic Pearl Dots
- Number of Frets: 20, Medium Jumbo
- Scale Length: 25.5″
- Tuning Machines: Stairstep Wave
- Bridge Material: Torrefied Merbau
- Nut/Saddle Material: PPS/PPS
- Nut Width: 1.6875″
- Electronics: D’Angelico MG-30 with Tuner
- Strings: D’Addario, .012-.053
- Manufacturer Part Number: DAPLSG200AGDCP
What’s In The Box
- D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS
The aged Mahogany wood was the first thing to catch my eye on the D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS. Because this guitar is sub-$400, don’t expect solid Mahogany; this is all laminated. Still, it is beautiful, and the aged look helps keep your eye occupied enough not to notice there is no binding. I like a good binding on acoustic/electric guitars, but it’s not an issue here. However, the rosette binding around the sound hole is nice.
The neck is made of solid Mahogany, with a Torrefied Merbau fretboard laid over the top. That sounds fancy! Merbau is a hardwood from East Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Torrefied means “baked” and is used here to bring out the tone of the wood. The bridge on this guitar is also made of Torrefied Merbau. The fretboard inlays are basic pearl dots, and the frets are medium jumbo. The fretboard radius is 16″ with a C-shape neck; I found this combo very comfortable.
The nut and saddle are made of Polyphenylene Sulfide Plastic, which is not the best but expected at this price point. You could improve the sound and playability by replacing them with a bone nut and saddle. The bridge pins are also plastic, but I had mine replaced with Ebony ones. The scale length of the D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS is a familiar 25.5.”
D’Angelico uses a scalloped X-bracing for the guitar’s guts, giving it an excellent rigid feel and helping the tone. As for the electronics, the D’Angelico MG-30 with a tuner is used on the Premier Gramercy LS. The tuner is excellent! One of the best I’ve used on any acoustic/electric. The MG-30 electronics seem to work great, and I have had no issues with them.
The MG-30 has a volume knob and a three-band equalizer that work nicely and is an excellent value at this price.
Finally, the headstock. I love the art deco look of D’Angelico headstocks. It’s a bit larger than other brands, but the truss rod cover combined with the headstock and tuner design ties everything together. The tuning machines are D’Angelico’s “Stairstep Wave” design and look nice. They don’t feel like solid metal and are a little cheaper than the rest of the guitar. So far, no issues with tuning stability, so I’m not concerned.
Overall, this is truly a beautiful guitar that should cost more than it does. My old $600 Takamine from 1991 is not built as nicely as this.
Sweetwater Out Of Box Setup
My D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS acoustic/electric came from Sweetwater, where I now get all of my guitars and gear. Sweetwater already has an excellent 55-point inspection that they do with all of their instruments. I opted for the $99 setup on the D’Angelico, and that does get my action where I want it, new strings and any parts I want to be replaced (I had them replace the plastic bridge pins with D’Addario Ebony pins).
If you don’t opt for the pro setup, be assured that Sweetwater will perform its 55-point inspection, which consists of the following:
- 24-hour climate acclimation & professional handling
- Inspect case/gig bag interior & exterior
- Verify contents & accessories
- Cosmetic and Construction Inspection
- Inspect & polish body
- Fingerboard surface
- Neck & neck joint
- Plastic parts
- Hardware Check
- Motion/vibration test
- Tuning machines
- Strap buttons
- Truss rod cover
- Output jack
- Pickup screws & rings
- Neck joint screws/bolts
- String trees
- Battery compartment
- Locking nut
- Electronics Testing
- Output jack & plug fit
- Pickup switching
- Pickup splitting/tapping
- Onboard tuner & battery
- Electric pickups
- Acoustic pickups
- Onboard preamp
- Onboard effects
- 13-pin pickup
- Playability Check
- Check tuning machines & tune to pitch
- Stretch strings & tune to pitch
- String & saddle position
- Neck relief
- Action height
- Pickup height
- Tremolo system
- Play/test all notes on the fretboard
- Play/test a variety of half- & whole-step bends
- Play/test a variety of chords & styles
- Tune and Polish
- Tune to pitch
- Polish instrument
- Inspect/refresh packing material as needed
- Professional repack
- Store in a climate-controlled warehouse
- Double-box for shipping
Sweetwater does an excellent job of seeing that the setup is spot on, even if you don’t opt for any action adjustment. The D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS was perfect. Sweetwater also generally posts pics of the actual guitars they are selling.
According to the company, the D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS is supposed to have a balanced tone. I would expect that due to the body and neck being made of Mahogany and the fretboard Torrefied Merbau. But what I found was a thinner sound than I expected. I will concede that this may have something to do with the strings I asked Sweetwater to install, the Ernie Ball 2566 Aluminum Bronze acoustic strings.
I opted for something different than my normal Paul Reed Smith strings, and these may be causing the brighter and thinner tone. Still, even though the guitar is much brighter than expected, it contrasts the meatier tone of my PRS SE A60E Angelus. Even though I was not expecting the tone I got from this guitar, it still sounds amazing unplugged and plugged in.
The fretwork on the D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS was well done for a guitar at this price point. I am not lying to you when I tell you that a $350 guitar in the early ’90s would have shredded your hands with the sharp fret edges. This guitar had no major signs of fret sprout or sharp edges.
Overall, the sound and playability are off the charts for a guitar in this price range.
The D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS is priced at $349.99 on Sweetwater. As of this review, you can pick one up for $249.99. Prices will change as time goes on, but even at $349, this guitar is well worth every cent.
Today, guitar players have many more options for affordable guitars than ever before. I’m talking about honestly exceptional guitars for the money. These did not exist back in the ’80s and ’90s. The D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS is a no-brainer if you’re a beginner just getting into playing. Seasoned guitar players would do well with this guitar as a practice-on-the-couch guitar. I would recommend seasoned players get the Sweetwater setup because we are more critical having Sweetwater tweak it the way we want will give seasoned players a better experience.
The D’Angelico Premier Gramercy LS is worth the little money they’re asking for and makes a perfect gift for any beginner or seasoned player.