In 1947, Danelectro was founded by New Yorker, Nathan ‘Nat’ Daniel (1912-1994), born of Lithuanian parents who emigrated to America in 1911. The Danelectro name comes from an early enterprise, ‘Daniel Electrical Laboratories’. Having produced amplifiers for Epiphone, he started manufacturing amplifiers in New Jersey, USA for department store chains such as Sears & Roebuck (Silvertone brand) and Montgomery Ward (Airline brand). Daniel introduced new innovations such as tremolo and reverb on amplifiers. Like Leo Fender, Nat Daniel was an electronics experimenter and innovator, and couldn’t actually play guitar. However, a master luthier, John D’Angelico was a personal friend and mentor, as was session guitarist Vincent Bell.

By 1954, Danelectro began producing guitars and amplifiers under their own name, using innovative materials and construction techniques, which not only gave guitars, baritones and basses a distinctive look and sound but also enabled the company to produce no-frills instruments at competitive prices. The semi-hollow guitar bodies were made from poplar or plywood frames faced with Masonite front and back. The characteristic ‘lipstick’ pickups were just that, guitar single coil pickups placed in cool-looking chrome lipstick tubes purchased from a cosmetics manufacturer. The ‘coke bottle’ headstock shape and vinyl tape body binding are also familiar characteristics. Danelectro instruments proved ideal affordable, entry‑level instruments for beginners. As such, they have undoubtedly let to many famous guitarists learning and then plying their musical trade.

In 1966, Daniel sold Danelectro to the giant MCA company. Instruments under the Coral brand were introduced with bodies made in Japan before being finally assembled in the US. Following a slump in the industry (CBS bought Fender, Norlin bought Gibson), the Danelectro manufacturing plant in New Jersey was closed in 1969. Remaining stock was bought by Dan Armstrong and assembled by Ampeg. In 1974, Daniel moved to Hawaii to focus on boat building and no longer played a part in guitar development. The Danelectric brand was resurrected in the 1990s by the Evets Corporation which effectively produced copies of past Silvertone and Denalectro instruments. After initial interest, take up was slow and they stopped making instruments from 2001, choosing to focus on a range of affordable effects pedals. Limited release guitars and basses were reintroduced from 2006. Danelectro, now a private company, has its head office in Camarillo, California, USA.

Many professional musicians continue to appreciate the look and sounds of these idiosyncratic instruments. Despite their back-to-basics manufacturing and low price, Danelectro/Silvertone guitars and basses have proved enduringly influential and popular over the decades.

Original USA-built Danelectro and Silvertone models are now eagerly and deservedly sought after by musicians, collectors and aficionados alike. As a result, prices for key guitars and basses are increasing.

1964 Silvertone 1449 Amp in Case

Danelectro’s official website is…

Check out the Danelectro page on Wikipedia…

Famous Danelectro instruments include… Model 1954, Danelectro C, U1/U2/U3, Shorthorn, Longhorn, Guitarlin, Doubleneck, Convertible, Baritone, Amp-In-Box, 1449, Coral Electric Sitar, Bellzouki, Dano Pro, Hodad

Some famous Danelectro guitar players include… Syd Barrett (Pink Floyd), Beck, Billy Bragg, Jack Bruce (Cream), R.L. Burnside, J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton, Ry Cooder, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle (Bruce Springsteen), Dave Edmunds, John Entwhistle (The Who), John Foggerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival), John Frusciante (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Rory Gallagher, Jimi Hendrix, Josh Homme (Queens Of The Stone Age), John Lee Hooker, Steve Howe (Yes), Mick Jagger (The Rolling Stones), Mark Knopfler, Alvin Lee, Alex Lifeson (Rush), Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Dave Navarro (Jane’s Addiction), Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), Joe Perry (Aerosmith), Dee Dee Ramone (The Ramones), Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Bruce Springsteen, Pete Townshend (The Who), Ike Turner, Jimmie Vaughan, Tom Verlaine (Television), Brian Wilson (The Beach Boys), Ronny Wood (The Rolling Stones), Link Wray, Thom Yorke (Radiohead), Frank Zappa

© 2015 CRAVE Guitars – Love Vintage Guitars

← Return to ‘Brands’ page

Like it? Why not share it?