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Danelectro Guitars - History & Popular Models

Updated on April 22, 2011

Danelectro guitars are known for their quality and style, and are a popular collectable among discerning guitarists. In this article we'll take a brief look at the history of Danelectro guitars, and list the most popular Danelectro guitar models.

Danelectro Guitar History

In 1947 the Danelectro company was founded by Nathan Daniel. To begin with, the firm manufactured amplifiers, but in 1954 the first Danelectro guitars were produced. These initial instruments were solid bodied electric guitars, although the company soon branched out into hollow-bodied guitars and basses as well. Some of the early Danelectro guitars were sold under various store labels such as Silvertone, which was sold by Sears.

The company was sold to MCA in 1966, who ended up closing the Danelectro plant in 1969.

Although Danelectro guitars were originally relatively cheap, their value has greatly increased, and today vintage Danelectros (or 'Danos', as they're sometimes referred to) that are in excellent condition can fetch thousands of dollars. Their great tone and distinctive retro look makes them very popular among guitar enthusiasts, as well as those who are nostalgic for their youth during the 50s and 60s.

Part of the reason for the popularity of Danelectro guitars is the use of the ‘lipstick tube’ single coil pickups, which originally contained the entire pickup mechanism within a lipstick tube. This was a cost-cutting measure on Daniel's part, but the result was a unique and attractive tone, which contributed greatly to the guitars’ appeal.

Production of new Danelectro guitars (with the same retro look) was resumed by the Evets Corporation in the late 90s, although this was fairly short lived, as sales slowed down. Today the Danelectro company mostly manufactures guitar amplifiers, although a limited number of new reproduction Danelectro guitars are made each year.

Danelectro Modified Factory Spec Model 59 "M" Electric Guitar


Reissued Danelectro Guitars

Although many guitar aficionados prefer to collect original Danelectro guitars, the reissued versions, which look just like the originals, are also popular. These can usually be bought for less than $400, making them much more affordable than their vintage counterparts. The reissued guitars are made from similar materials to their predecessors, including formica, masonite and vinyl, in addition to the more usual wood.

As well as the famous two tone short horn six string guitar, the reproductions include the distinctive-looking Danelectro longhorn bass guitar, and the vibrant looking handpainted Danelectro psychedelic guitar that was created as a limited edition in celebration of the company’s 50th anniversary.

Danelectro 1959 Reissued Guitars With Modified Specifications

Danelectro ‘Dead On’ 1967 Reissued Baritone Guitars

Danelectro 1959 Reissued Guitars With Original Specifications

Danelectro Reissued 12 String Guitars

Danelectro Dead On 1958 Longhorn Bass

Buying a Danelectro Guitar

As noted, original vintage Danelectro guitars are collector’s items, and may sell for thousands of dollars. Specialist guitar shops and sites dedicated to vintage guitars are good places to look for these, although you may occasionally find one on eBay too.

As for the reissued Danelectro guitars, you're likely to find the best selection and prices online, both on specialist guitar sites and sites such as Amazon (see links above), where guitar retailers will often sell through Amazon's marketplace at a lower price than they do elsewhere.


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      Vintage Bass Guitars 7 years ago

      You've gotta love the twangy sound of the Longhorn bass in Duane Eddy’s ‘Because They’re Young’ or Glen Campbell’s 'Wichita Linemen’. Check it out.

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      Howard Daniel 7 years ago

      Anyone interested in more information about this innovative company will probably want to read the tribute to Danelectro founder (and industry pioneer) Nathan I. Daniel, my father, at It has information available nowhere else on the Web.