Danelectro has offered an impressive variety of guitars since Evets Corporation resurrected the Danelectro name in the late Nineties.
Most of these models were inspired by various Danelectro or associated brand models (like Silvertone, Coral, etc.), although a few examples had a distinctive offset body shape similar to a Mosrite, albeit with the relatively straightforward construction attributes of other Danelectro models.
This year Danelectro completely broke the mold with the introduction of the Danelectro 64, which offers many of the more sophisticated details of an original Mosrite, including the German carved top, offset large single-coil pickup, zero fret, Bigsby tremolo and more.
In some ways, the original Danelectro guitars with their Masonite and Formica body materials were almost polar opposites from the more labor-intensive Mosrite models, which were built from more traditional tone woods. Danelectro doesn’t specify what materials are used to build the neck and body, but both feel quite solid and substantial like a traditional guitar should. The bolt-on neck boasts a rosewood fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets, dot inlays, a zero fret and 25-inch scale, and the profile is relatively wide and flat (unlike the painfully skinny width of many vintage Mosrites).
The hardware and electronics are also a cut above. Pickups consist of a dual-lipstick tube humbucker at the bridge and the aforementioned large single-coil at the neck. The master volume and tone controls have die-cast “hat” knobs similar to the original Mosrite design, and the tone knob can be pulled up to split the bridge pickup’s coils for genuine single-coil lipstick tube pickup tone. The Bigsby-licensed tremolo tailpiece stays in tune thanks to the bridge’s individually adjustable roller saddles.
Like its overall construction, the Danelectro 64’s tones are a class above and attention getting. The dual-lipstick humbucker isn’t overly hot, but through a Marshall or Friedman it delivers growling, gnarly rhythm tones with more crunch than Frito-Lay. Splitting the coil produces genuine single-coil tones (not the usual wimped out humbucker compromise) with tantalizing twang ideal for country, surf, rockabilly or blues. The neck pickup sounds bigger and fatter, quite similar to a Gretsch Dynasonic with punchy bite and robust bass bounce.
With the exception of the much more player-friendly neck, Mosrite enthusiasts would have trouble telling this from the original thing. In fact, the superior playability of this example’s neck makes it a better option, while it’s insanely low price makes it a no-brainer must-buy.
STREET PRICE $799
MANUFACTURER Danelectro, danelectro.com
• The dual-lipstick tube bridge pickup produces crisp, growling humbucking tones with absolutely no noise as well as twangy single-coil tones when the coils are split.
• The bridge’s roller saddles keep the strings perfectly in tune even when subjecting them to extreme whammy abuse with the Bigsby tremolo.
THE BOTTOM LINE
With its sophisticated construction features, Bigsby tremolo and versatile pickups, the Danelectro 64 is by far the coolest and most satisfyingly playable model that Danelectro has produced to date.