The Danelectro 56U2
- Saturday, January 01, 2000
Vintage Danelectro Is Back!
The long awaited Danelectro 56U2! A huge demand from dealers at the NAMM show had clogged up the flow of delivery of these cool guitars until recently. Now acquired by Michael Campion of EVETS Corporation, the Danelectro name has been resurrected from a near 30-year rest. It's a wonder, since the new appreciation of vintage guitars started in the '80s, that it took so long for a company to offer a new Danelectro guitar. The result is an incredible guitar with great attention to the original.
Just like a Les Paul, Fender Telecaster or Stratocaster, the 56U2 utilizes a simple design of the '50s that worked right the first time. There's no reason to reinvent the wheel here. The control layout is simple: a volume & tone control (concentric) for each pickup and a 3-way switch. Finding the tones you're looking for is beautifully simple.
The original vibe has been faithfully recreated in the "looks" department. These guitars are beautiful! In addition to the limited colors of the original, some great retro colors are available in the new line. In fact, as I opened the first box out of our first batch, I was taken by a color that we didn't even order. One look and I had to have it.
Many things fascinate us about Danelectro guitars. Everything from our first guitar from Sears to the unique look and construction have made them a classic example of Americana. But tone is really what has given longevity to the design. Exotic tone woods are not the secret to this guitar's sound. Masonite (you know, pegboard without the holes) makes up the top and back of the body. Plywood has replaced the solid pine center blocks of the original without sacrificing the warm, bell-like tone. Even the "lipstick tube" pickups have that distinct snappy clean thing going on. In distortion mode, they drive quite nicely without feedback, even at high gain volumes.
In my profession, I see lots of old Danos come and go, and love every one of them. But with a list price of $299, the new 56U2 reissue can't be beat. Hats off to the R & D team, these guys got everything right. Whether you need a beginner's guitar, a professional tool or an incredible slide guitar, you've got to hear and play one for yourself. Pick your favorite color and have fun!
Joe Riggio owns Inservice Guitars and sells new, used and vintage instruments for Guitar Maniacs in Tacoma, Washington.
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