1963 Danelectro Pro 1

CRAVE Guitars says…

Thumbs up: Very cool and relatively scarce, lightweight and resonant, great all‑original condition, fantastic fun to play and sounds fantastic, vintage values

Thumbs down: Divisive and antithetical design concept that either appeals or not, impractical ergonomics, not a ‘classic’, non‑original case

Decree: Surely one of the grooviest and weirdest (even for Danelectro!) production guitar designs ever; great for the mavericks out there wanting to make a bold and unambiguous statement. Awesomely goofy and unlike anything else out there! Pure joy for the true aficionado.

Model Description:

The original ¾‑sized, single pickup Danelectro Pro 1 was only manufactured for a short time during 1963 and 1964, making it one of the rarest of vintage Danelectro models out there. Despite its short production period, it shares many design features with other Danelectro (and Silvertone) models of the late 1950s and early 1960s, particularly the Masonite (a.k.a. hardboard in the UK) front and back over a poplar frame with textured vinyl tape bound around the body, open‑gear strip tuners, fixed bent‑steel bridge, aluminium nut, short scale neck, etc. Danelectro’s ubiquitous brown sparkle finish appears to be the only one used by the company for the original Pro 1. The non‑cutaway body, with its unique square‑ish ‘bow tie’ shape and its angular scratchplate, gives it a peculiarly anachronistic futuristic/retro image. Despite the unorthodox construction methods, Danelectro knew how to make ‘budget’ guitars and understood where the use of quality materials mattered, while also able to keep overall production costs to a minimum. The Danelectro Pro 1’s unique style and relative scarcity are making it increasingly attractive in the ‘affordable’ vintage market, particularly with the current popularity of offset body designs. It may not be highly valued by collectors in the same way as the Danelectro 3021, as used famously by Jimmy Page, although there are understandably many similarities in playability and sound. Danelectro recognised the appeal for contemporary musicians and felt inclined to reissue the Pro 1 for the 21st Century with better ergonomics and higher production standards. The reissues have brought one of Danelectro’s most idiosyncratic designs back to the attention of a new generation who may be unfamiliar with the scarce originals. The undeniably quirky Danelectro Pro 1 is gradually increasing in value on the vintage guitar market, as more of the famous ‘golden era’ classics from the likes of Gibson and Fender are becoming increasingly unaffordable for the vast majority of vintage guitar enthusiasts.

Guitar Description:

Isn’t this great little 1963 Danelectro Pro 1, presented in quaint brown sparkle finish, just one of the funkiest and coolest guitars you’ve ever seen? It is also a pretty rare animal, having been in production for only 2 years at the most. Many self‑appointed critics will have an aversion to the Pro 1 from the outset, citing the model’s offset roughly trapezoidal slab hollow body, sole ‘lipstick’ single coil pickup with a short scale neck and only 13 frets clear of the body as objectionable. It is, however, incredibly light and remarkably resonant both acoustically and amplified, which is what is important after all. If you want to be like everyone else, then buy a mainstream guitar from one of the industry giants, however if you want to strike a different pose, what better than this rather odd, “kinda funny lookin’”, conflicted anti‑hero? The Pro 1 is fantastic fun to play and sounds great, which is good enough reason for owning one, if you can actually find a good one. This particular example is in very good all‑original condition with only one notable finish scratch on the front and a few other minor nicks and bumps – all part of its long life making music. It even has its original ‘Totally Shielded’ sticker on the headstock. The lovely (?) original brown and gold sparkle finish is quite pronounced compared to some and still looks great. As you may know from other CRAVE guitars, the purity and simplicity of ‘crude’ single pickup guitars have considerable appeal. The Danelectro’s playability and incomparable tone allows one to focus on the thrill of playing, rather than ‘controlling’. The pickup’s middle position allows for a variety of available tones. The Pro 1’s singular approach is ideal for blues, garage, indie, alternative, rock ‘n’ roll and jangle pop. It’s also particularly well suited for bottleneck/slide with a relatively high action. Just don’t expect to venture beyond the 12th fret! Let’s be honest, as adorable as the Pro 1 is, it probably isn’t going to be a guitarist’s #1 performance tool, however it can still deliver something unconventional as part of a larger, more diverse arsenal. For CRAVE Guitars, the 1963 Danelectro Pro 1 epitomises its core raison d’étre as a just‑about‑affordable ‘cool and rare American vintage electric guitar’. If the diminutive Pro 1 excites your musical imagination and creativity, what else really matters?


  • Made by Danelectro in Neptune, New Jersey, U.S.A. in 1963
  • Non‑adjustable steel-reinforced bolt‑on C‑shaped maple neck with ‘tilt-neck’ facility
  • Original Waverly offset three‑a‑side nickel‑plated open‑gear strip tuners with white plastic buttons
  • Silver silk‑screened vertical Danelectro logo on the asymmetric ‘Gumby’‑style headstock
  • Original small ‘Danelectro – Totally Shielded’ sticker is retained directly above the nut
  • Original aluminium nut. Width: 1-5/8” (41.8mm)
  • Unbound Brazilian rosewood fingerboard with white dot fret markers
  • 18 medium‑jumbo nickel/silver frets
  • Scale length: 23½” (597mm)
  • Fingerboard radius: 14” (355.6mm)
  • Masonite front and back over a poplar frame hollow body with a solid centre block
  • Square‑ish offset‑waist non‑cutaway body shape
  • Original brown sparkle nitrocellulose finish
  • Original chrome hardware
  • Original single‑ply angular white baked Melamine pickguard
  • Original white vinyl body edge binding tape
  • Original chromed one‑piece stamped steel hard tail bridge/tailpiece
  • Original sole chrome ‘lipstick’ single coil pickup in the middle position
  • Pickup DC Resistance measured at output: 3.27Kohms
  • Original white plastic barrel volume and tone control knobs
  • Original aluminium strap buttons
  • Weight: 5lb 5oz (2.4kg)
  • Non‑original vintage hard shell case


  • Beck
  • Mark Oliver Everett (Eels)


Vintage Danelectro guitars are often recognisable for their headstock shape. The asymmetric 3-a-side ‘Gumby’ design used for the Pro 1 is unique and not used by any other model produced by the brand.

Unusually, the Pro 1 does not have fret markers on the side of the neck, only the customary dots on the front of the fingerboard.

Whether intentional or not, some suggest that the contrasting scratchplate appears like an arrow pointing upward toward the guitarist when played standing up. Great for boosting a musician’s ego and stage presence.

More than 40 years after the originals were discontinued due to lacklustre sales, Danelectro re‑issued the Pro 1, first in 2007 and again in 2012. The modern day incarnation of the Pro 1 is built in the Far East and marketed by Danelectro as the Dano Pro, with more traditional appointments including a longer scale neck, dual pickups and a fully adjustable bridge, available in a wide variety of hip colours (but not in brown sparkle!). Ironically, the reissues proved more popular and commercially more successful than the originals, perhaps demonstrating another case of a guitar design that was ‘ahead of its time’.

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