The Prodigal Danelectro

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Irene Idler
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The Prodigal Danelectro

Post by Irene Idler » Thu Dec 08, 2016 3:59 pm

In 1998, having gotten a great deal of attention for coming out with reissues of some of their classic 60s vintage guitars, Danelectro came out with the DC-3, a double cutaway design with a 7-position "Select-O-Matic" switch plus a "blow switch" that let you override any pickup. It was cute, sparkly, and cheap. I worked a block away from a guitar shop and had already impulse-bought a Larrivée parlor guitar during one lunch break; a few months later I played the Danelectro and fell in love. They had to special-order the silver glitter finish for me, because apparently the black and aqua models were more popular, but I was determined. Silver glitter it must be.

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Oh, that guitar was sweet. You'd never know it was so cheap. It felt great to play, it looked awesome, it could do more or less any 60s guitar sound you could ask for, and I wanted to start an all-girl Beatles cover band called "Eight Days a Month." I managed to audition a few people but didn't get enough interest (even though there were at least four Beatles cover bands already gigging regularly in the area and plenty of demand for more, and I knew because I knew and hung out with all of them except the Eggmen, who were all Korean and played venues I didn't like), and my sparkly guitar ended up being nothing more than a toy.

In 2006, after the tech market crashed and I'd been out of work for a couple of years, I couldn't afford to live in the San Francisco Bay Area anymore. I was flat broke and had to sell most of my stuff, including the Danelectro, to fund a move to Austin, where I'd been promised a great tech writing market and a free place to stay until I found work. The Dano went to a friend who wanted to learn to play. I missed it, but it's not like I could play lead, and Austin was the wrong kind of town for a 60s revival band, and besides, I had to focus on finding work in what turned out to be a horrible job market, especially after my "friends" threw me out before I had either money or a place to go. Thanks to the kindness of near-strangers, I was able to hang on and gain a tenuous toehold, but essentially the next eight years were a continuous downward spiral of underemployment, poverty, and increasingly unpleasant insect infestations (including ants, roaches, and eventually bedbugs).

Then I met Mr. Idler online, within two weeks we just KNEW we belonged together, and less than a year later I left it all behind to move to the UK. The Danelectro was the last thing on my mind. I'd forgotten all about it. Until last week, when my friend got in touch and asked if I wanted it back, because now it's his turn to make a cross-country move, and it's been sitting in storage since he bought it and he's realized he's never going to learn to play. After a brief negotiation we agreed on half its current market value plus shipping, and my sparkly toy will shortly be winging its way to me across the Atlantic, just in time for Xmas. Or possibly my birthday. Shipping from the US sometimes takes much longer than expected.

It looks just like this, and is still in virtually mint condition. And that's why I need to build a sparkly valve amp, which I posted about over in Everyone's Projects.

Ironically, I know another, even more amazing Prodigal Guitar story from many years earlier that tangentially involves the comedian Rich Hall, but I'll save that for another time.
"Hey, you know the rules, baby. If you wanna PLAY funky, you gotta SMELL funky." -- Mike Troutman

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Mike H
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Re: The Prodigal Danelectro

Post by Mike H » Thu Dec 08, 2016 5:06 pm

WOW!! :thumbright:
 
I never make the same mistake twice. Instead I prefer to fill my day with a variety of different mistakes

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Irene Idler
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Re: The Prodigal Danelectro

Post by Irene Idler » Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:07 pm

First, a burst of joy upon finding that the case still had hairs from my old cats stuck to it. Then a moment of concern upon finding the lock on the case is loose and has been broken (and the keys are missing).

...that sinking feeling upon realising that the guitar inside has some sort of residue on it, plus corrosion on one of the pickups, and it has a broken string, and I'm pretty sure they're the same strings that were on it when I sold it to my friend ten years ago. The bridge has for some reason been removed and then screwed back on with only one of its screws, and the corrosion comes from what appears to be vomit that has dripped down the front of the guitar and never been cleaned up.

He *told* me it had sat in its case in storage the whole time.

Applying tools now. Going to pull off the pickguard and check that nothing got inside. Will have to contemplate what exactly to say to my alleged friend about this.

:shock:
"Hey, you know the rules, baby. If you wanna PLAY funky, you gotta SMELL funky." -- Mike Troutman

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Irene Idler
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Re: The Prodigal Danelectro

Post by Irene Idler » Mon Apr 10, 2017 4:36 pm

Ah, one bit of good news -- the bridge wasn't meant to be screwed on in three places, the two upper screws are intended to be underneath it. So there's that. However, one of those two upper screws *was* intended to be the grounding point for a wire from the volume/tone pots, and I can't for the life of me figure out how I'm going to get it in there. I found a schematic for a similar model that shows the ground going to the bridge, and a blurb in a FAQ explaining that the wire needs to go to that screw, and managed with some contortions to use lighted tweezers and my phone (after removal from case) to take a photo of the screw via the slot in the top of the bridge block that provides access, but how I'm going to actually get anything in there to *attach* it is beyond me. There's just not enough room.

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"Hey, you know the rules, baby. If you wanna PLAY funky, you gotta SMELL funky." -- Mike Troutman

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