DANELECTRO ORIGINAL FACTORY SPEC 1959 DC REISSUE 12 STRING ELECTRIC GUITAR
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If you are looking for an electric 12-string guitar, that has a very retro vibe in both appearance and in sound, then you might very well be interested in taking a look at the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar. The Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar has a list price tag of $499.00, but it can readily be found selling for a discounted price of $450.00, and I even saw it on a special sale in one location for as little as $399.00. Read on and see if you feel as I do, namely that this 12 string electric guitar is a real bargain for the money, and a possibly a real undiscovered gem.
Although most musicians are familiar with the brand name of Danelectro, very few know of the innovative contributions that the Danelectro company has made to the world of music and the music industry. For example, the engineers at Danelectro introduced the first Baritone guitar in the 1950's. A designer for Danelectro named Vincent Bell is also credited with inventing the Electric Sitar in 1967 for the Coral line of electric instruments. Mr. Bell is also credited with inventing a number of other electric guitar designs for Danelectro, including the first 12-String electric guitar. Think of the effect that the 12-String electric guitar had on the Rock sound of the 1960's, and how it influenced the sound of groups like the Beatles and the Byrds to name just a few. In this review, I shall be focusing on a guitar that is one of my favorite of the various Danelectro electric 12-String guitars that have ever been made, and which happens to now be available as a reissue, and that is the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String Electric Guitar.
With the exception of a few model models of Danelectro guitars (i.e. the Danoblaster series), most guitars made by Danelectro are constructed using some decidedly very unconventional materials for the body of a guitar. The body is made of a Plywood frame, with a Masonite covering, and as hard as it might be to believe, it sounds remarkably good. I know that these construction materials sound more like those that were used to make kitchen countertops in the 1950's and 1960's, and in fact they were. Yet, even unplugged, the sound of a Danelectro electric guitar that is made using these unconventional construction techniques is rich, vibrant, and resonant.
The neck on the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String Electric Guitar is made of more conventional materials, and it is made of very hard Maple, with a Rosewood fret board. The neck is bolted on to the body, similar to the way the neck on a Fender guitar is joined to the body, and the connection appeared to be very solid, which is of course one of the pre-requisites for a guitar to have a good ability to sustain. The double cutaway of the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar's body permits easy access to even the highest of notes on the 21 fret neck. Although the neck is large enough to accommodate 12 strings, the shape of the neck and the close grouping of the string pairs makes it easy to maneuver around the neck without any trouble. The Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String is available in the following colors: Black and Red. The original version was available in at least 6 different colors, but the red and the black were probably the two most popular colors, and subsequently those are the only two colors that one can currently choose from.
The overall weight of the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar is very light in weight, and it feels very well balanced when playing, either sitting or standing, and it is about 6.5 pounds, which is quite light for a 12-String Electric Guitar. The same could be said of the original DC-12, as well as several of the other incarnations of this guitar, one of which I own. The shape of the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String Electric Guitar is a double cutaway (thus the name DC), and it is similar in appearance and most other respects to the Danelectro 59-DC that Jimmy Page made popular in his live appearances with Led Zeppelin. Some of you who are Eric Clapton fans may recall a popular picture of the super group Bind Faith which features Eric Clapton playing a Danelectro 59-DC. In all major respects the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar DC-12 is merely a 12-String version of the original Danelectro 59-DC.
The hardware on the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String has a satin chrome platted finish. The bridge is metal, as are the saddles, and this both adds to the sustain, as well as giving the DC-12 a jangly chiming sound. I must confess that I was surprised by this, as the original 59 DC has a rosewood saddle that did not allow individual adjustment of each string. I asked the salesman in the store if indeed he had not accidentally given me a different version of the Danelectro 59 DC Reissue 12 String, and not the Original Factory Spec model. He was very clear that this was the original factory spec model. I asked him if we could go to his company's website and look up the guitar. Amazingly on his company's website the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String was listed as having a metal bridge that had fully adjustable saddles, which was the guitar that I was playing. However, on a competitors website this same guitar was listed as having a rosewood bridge. Well I was holding the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String in my hand, but the competitors website clearly described it as having a rosewood bridge. I know for certain that the real original 6-String 59 DC had a rosewood bridge, and if this guitar was supposed to be "Original Factory Spec" I was expecting it to have a rosewood saddle as well. Upon enlarging the picture on the competitors website, sure enough the picture of the bridge on the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String was with a metal bridge, and not with a rosewood bridge as was stated in the advertisement. Although this was certainly a desirable upgrade, it was also certainly not what I was expecting from a guitar that was listed as being "Original Factory Spec."
While we are discussing the bridge, I should like to describe some of its features in a bit more detail. The six primary strings are strung through the body, while the octave or secondary strings are attached to the bridge. Each string saddle is fully adjustable, which permits for a precise intonation setting. The nut is Aluminum, and was perfectly set into the neck. The metal nut, metal bridge, and hollow body with a Masonite top all adds to the clarity and chime like sound of the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12-String Electric Guitar. The tuning pegs are upscale sealed Gotoh Tuners, and they held the guitar in tune very well. Anyone who has ever tried to keep a 12-String in tune that has poor tuning pegs can attest to what a nightmare it is to try to play one. That is not the case with the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar.
I would now like to spend a bit of time discussing the electronics of the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar. Like most guitars made by Danelectro, the Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar is outfitted with two single coil Alnico V Lipstick Tube pickups. However, although these pickups look very much like the originals, they are in fact again not designed to be the same as the "Original Factory Spec" pickups that existed when the original Danelectro DC-12 was first incarnated. Allow me to elaborate. The newest versions of the Danelectro Lipstick Pickups are different than the originals. Whether they are better or worse is not the issue. The issue is that they are not "Original Factory Spec." The newer versions of the Lipstick Pickups have a few more turns of wire on their coil, and as a result they are a bit "hotter" than the originals, and they are also a bit less twangy and have more of a midrange accentuation to them. In all reality these newer pickups sound really quite good, but if you are a purist you might be disappointed because they are in fact different from the "Original Factory Spec" pickups.
As most of you who are reading this review probably already know, single coil pickups, like those that are on the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String will tend to be noisy, and more prone to feedback than wax potted humbucking pickups. However, the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar was quiet and bordered on being relatively noiseless for a guitar with single coil pickups, which makes this a great choice for recording situations. There is also a 3-way toggle switch pickup selector which permits you to select either the bridge pickup alone, both pickups together, or the neck pickup alone. There are also two separate dual concentric stacked Volume/Tone controls, or one for each pickup.
Well how does the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Guitar sound? Well for one, it sounds every bit as good to my ear as the one of the older incarnations of this guitar sounds, and I can vouch for this because I own one. Simply put, the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar sounds very good for a guitar in this price range. Depending on the pickup setting, this guitar is able to deliver a phenomenal jangling chime like sound, as well as a rich full almost electric acoustic like sound. I was able to get a sound out of this modern incarnation of the DC-12 that was very close to a Rickenbacker 360/12 for about a fifth of the price. That is actually saying quite a lot. Playing songs on this guitar from the 1960's era, right up to the modern era sounded really very good on this guitar.
Well who is the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String best suited for? The answer would be that any level guitarist who is looking for a guitar with the sonic palate of a good 12-String would be pleased with the Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric Guitar. If you think about what a good 12 string electric guitar is selling for, and then think that you can get this guitar for about $399 to $449 depending on where you find it, the deal seems even more compelling. The Danelectro Original Factory Spec 1959 DC Reissue 12 String Electric guitar is a good value for the money, and it sounds pretty good as well.
Well, I would like to thank you very much for taking the time to read my review, but now if you will please excuse me, I must get back to my practicing.
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