6/27/2013

c.1956 Danelectro U2 Electric Guitar (Original, Non-Reissue)




Well, folks, this is the cleanest old U2 I've seen in person. Aside from yellowed finish and slight discoloration where the arm rests over the top, this is a dandy of a vintage Dano. It's extra-lightweight, chirps, chimes, and blueses the business, and feels absolutely lovely to play. It also has an exceedingly-rare original hard case and the serial number places it at the first year of production for U2 models.

This comes by way of the "Skanktone Collection" and I'm resisting the urge to play this because it hooks you right on in. The reissue Korean models of these guys are great guitars but there's nothing like an original... they're just alive.

This guitar would have originally been more of a surf green or aqua color but it's mellowed and yellowed out into a medium turquoise green color (which, personally, I like better!) that looks grand.


She's a beaut! ...and all-original.

My work included a fret level/dress, setup, slight compensation and bridge adjustments, and cleaning. It's setup with 10s at the moment and plays like butter with a good straight neck (thank the non-adjustable steel truss in there). There's a tiny hair of relief but it doesn't change the spot on action.


This has a "narrow" Dano headstock (later models and the reissues seem to have wider ones). The silver-paint Dano logo looks great. Three of the tuner ferrules are replacements from my parts bin of whatever types that were just "drop-in" fits.


Flat-profile rosewood board with plastic dots. This neck is excruciatingly fast and made from hard maple. The board itself was pretty dried out on arrival and a few dots of orange oil brought it right back to beauty.


See how clean that pickguard is? It's amazing that it's in such good shape (no paint loss on the D and stripe). As on most old Danos, the lipstick covers to the pickups aren't perfectly jointed-up but don't interfere with the strings.

These pups, by the way, sound excellent.


Here's the controls: three-way switch and stacked volume and tone knobs keep a clean and efficient look.

Update: Note: the three-way switch goes neck/series-wired both/bridge. This means that you get a very distinct tone in the middle position as well as a volume boost. I've been using this mid position almost like a boost volume pedal for lead work.


Note: I've compensated the G, B, and E slots for better intonation with unwound strings.


See the maroon-y brown sides? You only see that once in a while with old Danos. It looks so great in contrast with that green finish!





The original tuners work just fine.


Here you can see some playwear on the much-used maple neck. As far as I know, the two-tone finish (natural, colored) is original on the back of these necks.






Heart, be still! Is that an original hard Dano coffin case?


It is!


Check out that hardware!

This guitar was originally part of the Skanktone Guitars collection. Skanktone was run by Joe Schenkman of right-here-in-Rochester, Vermont, and specialized in fun, funky, wonky, and wild old guitars (among other things). He amassed a very cool personal collection that's been off-and-on stored for a number of years and now a fair number of the quirky and fun vintage items are being sold through Antebellum. Thanks for sharing the toys, Joe!

4 comments:

John Percy said...

I love the old Danos. I have a Dano 65 which I converted to Nashville stringing. Man does it ever gleam when it's strummed. If I fan strum it, it sounds like an autoharp, and run through a 60's fuzztone it is otherworldly.

Andy said...

I recently aquired this exact guitar, also in great condition with the original coffin case. Do you have any idea of how much this beauty is worth?

Anonymous said...

Hello jake,

Still lovin it.

Frank

Jamie Goddard said...

I love the coffin case that is so cool! I use DC59 for a 1960s show The Zoots shows. Everyone tells me how cool it looks. Long live Danelectro! Jamie Goddard, The Zoots