56-U2 review by Danelectro

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 5
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.4 Good
  • Users' score: 8 (29 votes)
Danelectro: 56-U2

Price paid: $ 300

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Sound — 9
I play a very wide range of musical styles. Thrash, punk, rockabilly, psychobilly, country/honkytonk, blues, and the occasional trip into reggae or jazz. My Dano can handle just about all of them, exept of course, thrash. Singlecoils just can't do that. Neither do I expect them to do so. I'm currently running her through a Mesa/Boogie Mark IV, and the tone is monstorous. If I put my amp on the highest gain setting (lead) it can pull of punk with ease. Put it on the clean channel, and you have all sorts of tonal possiblities. Although, there's not much diversity. The neck pickup is more bassy, but very bright. While the neck pickup is just plain bright. The middle position is the best for solos, you can get more punch with both pickups. But altogether, it isnt a very diverse guitar. She's raunchy and mean, and can even be sweet if you show her a good time. But she isnt a very diverse lady. Not to say I can't make this guitar do what I want. I'm just worried some of you might not like her tone.

Overall Impression — 8
This guitar matches everything I throw at it. Well, it does now that I've worked on it a bit. I've been playing around 3-4 years now, and it's one of my favorite guitars. I even sold my Fender Strat, after I got this. I also play a Gibson Les Paul, a Gibson Explorer and some sort of Alvarez acoustic/electric. My Bass is a Fender Precision Bass. Like I said up in whatever section it was, I run it through a Mesa/Boogie Mark IV, and occasionally my Fender Bassman25. If it were stolen, or lost, I probably wouldn't get another new one. but only because of so many issues with QC. I'd opt. for either one of the old double cuts, or a Telecaster. I Love how she sounds so raunchy, yes, Love with a capital "L". I compared it to a different model of Danelectro, (I forget which.) but I picked this one because it was cheaper, and it sounded more like me. One thing I wish had come with it was a case. I found a suitable gigbag, but it took forever to get one.

Reliability & Durability — 8
Even with her flaws, she's a tough bitch. Live playing, no problem! Her hardware is tough as nails. Although I do need to slap some straplocks on her. But I do that to all of my guitars. The finish is thick, I've dinged it on corners, and there's just a few small nicks. Since it didn't come with a case of any kind, I had to carry it on it's strap whenever I took it out'n'about. So naturally, there's a few scratches, and dings in the finish. But it's tough all the same. I wouldn't use it at a gig without a backup. But I never do that anyways. I use it mainly to play slide on. So it's my backup, either tuned to open G or open D. But if it was my main guitar, I'd probably use it with a backup anyways. It's never broken down on me, a very durable, and reliable guitar. Oh, another thing I almost forgot. The finish on the neck is very draggy, but I used some 300 gauge sandpaper on it, and it's smooth as silk now.

Action, Fit & Finish — 5
From the factory, she wasn't set up very well at all. The action was screwed up, and so there's been an ongoing battle to make it perfect. the bridge pickup was much, much too low. So I tried to raise it. Only thing is, it wouldn't go up high enough. A little electric tape on the underside of the pup fixed that though. Back to the action, it was screwy. Too low at the first fret, and too high at the 21st. I even had my guitar teacher work on it a bit. But it still wasn't quite right. Well, one day I thought to myself, "what if you put duct tape in the routing?" So, I tried that. Now she is perfect! The bridge was set up about as perfect as can be. I want to install a Bigsby vibrato system on it though. The tuners were shoddy as well, I replaced them with Ping tuners. They're working out perfectly. Oh, I almost forgot, the only flaw in the electronics is the selector Switch. it's a bit noisy.

Features — 7
This here is a Danelectro. Well, now I'm just being patronizing. Of course it's a Dano! Mine was made in 06, in Korea. Although, suprisingly enough, I got it in good enough condition. Despite buggered QC. Alright then, down to business. She's decked out with 21 jumbo frets. Maple neck, with a rosewood fingerboard, and some sort of plywood for the semi-hollow body. I got mine in a glossy cream finish, very beautiful. She has a gloss black finish on the neck/headstock. a single-cutaway body, with a clear plastic pickguard. She has a Danelectro brand HardTail bridge, and came with Dano tuners as well. Two Dano passive singlecoil lipstick pickups, in the neck and bridge positions. You can control them with a master volume and a master tone. Also, a three way Switch. Unfortunately, no accessories are included. Since the tuners are crappy, and there's only one volume and one tone knob, I'm only rating this at a 7.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    I just picked up a used 1998 model '56 U2 Reissue. It has the perfect tone for Rockabilly, blues, jazz and yes punk. This guitar has quickly become one of my favorites. I played for five minutes and realized this guitar was made to be played live. I played it on the retro settings on my Fender Mustang amp and the sound was unbelievable.