Danelectro Dano ’63 Long Scale Bass - Red Burst - 2008

Value:  approx. $250

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The Dano ’63 Long Scale Bass is part of a line of instruments based on the Silvertone 1457 guitar, which Danelectro produced for Sears-Roebuck in 1963. The same body and electronics are used for all of the Dano ’63s, with necks and bridges changing where appropriate. The new basses also feature a number of improvements over both the original instruments and Danelectro’s more recent reissues. The Dano ’63s will be available only through 2008.

Instead of Danelectro’s classic poplar frame with a Masonite top and back, the new basses utilize a plywood frame with a pressed-wood front and back, which Danelectro feels offers better tone. The non-contoured body is mostly hollow, making the Dano fairly light and comfortable while giving it a slight acoustic zing. The new Danos’ adjustable bridge is a big step in the right direction, but the intonation screws are directly under the strings, so you have to move the string aside to set the intonation. The upgraded tuners are an unequivocal improvement; they are sturdier and easier to use, even though they’re still guitar tuners.

Plugged in, the Dano ’63s sounded solid and rootsy, with earthy fundamentals and jangly highs. It has an impressively clear tone that is detailed, thick, and flexible. This is attributable, at least in part, to the unique lipstick-tube pickups, one of Danelectro’s gifts to the world. Designed by Danelectro founder Nathan Daniel, the pickups’ coils were originally fitted inside tubes sourced from a lipstick tube manufacturer. Besides looking extremely cool, the tubes provide some shielding. The new Dano single-coils no longer use actual lipstick tubes, but they’ve been redesigned to be closer in spec to the originals than the previous reissues.

On the soloed neck pickup, it has a meaty, rocking midrange sound that was something like a slightly hollowish version of a P-Bass. The soloed bridge pickup’s clear, detailed voice and throaty punch is good for parts requiring articulation and presence. Blended, the pickups made a sproingy mid-scoop that sounded especially fabulous with a pick and palm-muting, like the tic-tac-style bass lines Danelectro basses and baritones were used for on early-’60s Nashville hits.

TECH SPECS

Body Plywood frame w/pressed-wood top and back
Neck Maple
Fingerboard Rosewood
Pickups Danelectro single-coil lipstick
Controls Volume, tone
Nut Aluminum
Scale 34" (Long Scale); 30" (Short Scale)
Weight 6.5 lbs (Long Scale); 6.5 lbs (Short Scale)
Made in China

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