Just picked up a black 12-string Danelectro 12SDC electric guitar on one of those big sale days at Musician’s Friend. I couldn’t resist the low price. Ever since I was dumb enough to sell my Rickenbacker 370/12 RM Roger McGuinn 12-string I have missed that sound. As I do have a desire to buy another Rickenbacker they are pretty pricy for a guitar I would not play everyday.
I was actually looking for Danelectro Baritone that I have always wanted, but I found no stock for these on the sale day. But I had read a bunch of reviews on the 12-string so I bought one. Baritone will have to wait.
The Dano 12-string should be able to reproduce much of the jangly sounds of the ’60s, especially since I am going to run it through a Janglebox compressor. The Roger McGuinn Rickenbacker 370/12 has a built-in compressor that is run by a 9-volt battery. Using a bright sound and a compressor is pretty essential to recreate the tone of the early Bryds and Beatles records that featured an electric 12-string. Roger McGuinn and George Harrison are the godfathers of the modern electric 12-string.
Weighs in a tad over 6-lbs 14-ozs which is very reasonable.
This is not my first Danelectro guitar. In fact one of my first electric guitars was a Silvertone sold by Sears, roebuck and made by Danelectro. I have had another one since then, now sold. Hope to pickup a Baritone soon. They have always been budget priced guitars made from laminated “mystery” wood which is likely masonite. Danelectros have a sound all their own. The 12-String Danelectro 12SDC features two “lipstick” pickups and is modeled after the classic 59DC used by Jimmy Page with the classic textured tape binding on the sides. Nathan “Nat” Daniel Danelectro founder was actually quite the innovator.
Danelectro was founded by Nathan “Nat” Daniel in 1947. Throughout the late 1940s, the company produced amplifiers for Sears, Roebuck and Company and Montgomery Ward. In 1954, Danelectro started producing the Danelectro lines of solidbody electric guitars and amplifiers. The company was also contracted to make guitars and amplifiers that were branded not with the Danelectro name, but with the names of various store brands, such as Silvertone and Airline. Later hollow-bodied guitars (constructed out of Masonite and plywood to save costs and increase production speed), distinguished by Silvertone’s maroon vinyl covering, Danelectro’s light tweed covering, the concentric stacked tone/volume knobs used on the two-pickup models of both series, and the “lipstick-tube” pickups—invented by placing the entire mechanism into spare lipstick tubes—aimed to produce no-frills guitars of reasonably good tone at low cost. In 1956, Danelectro introduced the six-string Baritone guitar. The baritone guitar never proved especially popular but found an enduring niche in Nashville as the instrument of choice for “Tic-tac” bass lines. In 1966, Danelectro was sold to MCA. A year later, the Coral line, known for its hollow-bodies and electric sitars, was introduced. In 1969, the Danelectro plant was closed, due to MCA’s attempt to market Danelectros to small guitar shops rather than large department stores.
Let’s not forget the small tube amps built into the guitar case… my first amp! Plain and simple Danelectro guitars are cool as well as a bit quirky. Amazing for the price point, but don’t expect perfection. Many of the new ones will need some setup. They are not know for their high quality control. These guitars are built as economy guitars in Korea.
The neck on this Dano 12-string is wider and easier to play than the classic Rickenbackers which have notoriously thin narrow necks. Most players including Roger McGuinn complain that they have had to adjust to play chords on them. The wider neck makes the Danelectro 12 string easy to play. Danelectro has added an improved fixed bridge that is fully adjustable. So here you have a budget priced 12-string with a little tweaking and a compressor can yield sounds that can be used to emulate those cool 60s sounds.
- ’59 style double-cutaway body made of laminated wood
- Vintage textured tape binding on the side
- Maple bolt-on neck with Rosewood fretboard and Dot markers
- Elongated “bottle” headstock with Gotoh tuners
- Lipstick tube pickups
- Dual/concentric “stacked” master volume and tone controls with 3-way toggle switch
- Black Matte finish
- Nut width: 1-3/4″
- Scale length: 25″ (635mm)
- Fully adjustable bridge
I ordered some new strings that I know will help. Pyramid Gold Chrome Pure Nickel Flat Wound Round Extra Light 10-42. These are the same style string McGuinn and Harrison used in the old days. A big part of that sound were the flat wound strings. I will put them on when I do a setup on the new Dano 12-string.
The guitar setup will need some adjustment. It was fairly decent from factory, but intonation is a bit out. I will do this when I change the strings to the flat wounds. The neck is pretty nicely shaped making it easy to play. The fret work is pretty decent especially for a guitar at this price point. The vinyl binding needs a drop of glue at the bottom strap button. No big deal.
Bottomline is it sounds sweet especially through the Janglebox pedal and is easier to play than a Rick due to the neck width. With a little tweaking with the right pedal and amp it can easily sound as good as the Rick for those 60s sounds. Sounds better to my ears than my Line 6 JTV-59 12 string electric modeling. Best part is cost less than eighth of a new Rickenbacker 12 string. Fits the need for most players and studios that need what a 12 string electric every now ann then. Which is the case for most players. I like the look of the Dano as well.
This guitar did not come with a hard case or gig bag. So I was able to pick up a nice old stock Dano gig bag off eBay.
Mooseboy does a good review on this guitar