59-DC review by Danelectro

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (35 votes)
Danelectro: 59-DC
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Price paid: £ 250

Purchased from: Wunjo Guitars

Sound — 9
I use it with my Vox VT15 which is pretty decent, and on the clean channels it sounds incredible. However you can only put the tiniest bit of overdrive on it before it just sounds like a horrible cheap guitar rather than the very cool one it really is. A tiny bit of Drive works very nicely, but there is something like a cracking point where it suddenly turns bad, so that is worth considering: it is for this reason that I don't need the AC/DC frets because you just can't really play and AC/DC solo with this tone anyway. Something you really can play is Stevie Ray Vaughan (well, in theory, if you're good enough). I won't profess to being able to play a full song of his, but I have a couple of his licks at my disposal and it sounds really great on this guitar. The other thing, of course, is that Jimmy Page used it very effectively in "White Summer," "In My Time of Dying," "Kashmir" and a couple of other things live (I'm gonna assume everybody knows that was with Led Zeppelin). As such it sounds really good when playing this kind of thing, and for some reason it seems to be almost better in alternate tunings (I love the brightness of the sound which works really well for "White Summer"). It's also very nice for jamming along to blues players like BB King etc. I would recommend using it with 11s because it's very light and when I first put 9s on it it didn't work out at all. In conclusion, give the sound a chance because while I was at first disappointed that it basically didn't have overdrive, the clean and slightly driven sounds are so worth it and I have grown very fond of it's tone. It doesn't have the most diverse range of sounds but it would work for many genres such as rock, country, jazz, blues and probably more.

Overall Impression — 8
Overall I would certainly say it matches well with certain areas of my music: sounds great for Creedence, quite a bit of Led Zeppelin stuff (songs played on Jimmy's tele particularly), BB King, Chuck Berry and a load of other stuff. OH MY God I forgot to mention how it is with a slide in the sound section. Well I can't be bothered to amend that but I'll move it up to a 9 so that tells you how good it is. I wish I had known what it was gonna sound like with overdrive before buying it, I wish I'd known not to waste a set of Super Slinkies on it and I wish I'd known not to ask the store not to switch it to left-handed and done it myself. If it were stolen or lost, I don't think I would buy it again because I feel slightly guilty about how many guitars I have relative to how good I am. In short it's a great guitar for anyone who doesn't need to be hitting the high notes all the time and likes a good clean(ish) sound.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I think it would easily hold up when playing live, and given the number of people who have done so with it I think the fact that I haven't actually played it live doesn't really matter when rating this aspect. The hardware should last easily as it's mainly plastic and all the wires are well protected inside. I've had it, as I say, for 8 months and nothing bad has happened. The strap buttons are solid, but I wouldn't use it to gig without a backup for two reasons: firstly because I would just never gig without a backup and secondly because if I were playing a gig I would want to have more of a range of sounds available than this can realistically offer. However regarding reliability, it has never caused me any problems while playing it (strings never snap off etc). The finish does scratch pretty easily, and seeing as I play left handed and there is no pickguard it is pretty scratched there, but it doesn't really matter.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
When I got it it was reasonably well set up (although I had to change it to left-handed which caused some problems but lets not go into that: if anyone's doing the same thing it works fine but make sure you switch the nut before switching the strings because the people in the store kind of ruined the nut for me). I haven't actually bothered to look at what the top is made of: you can find out for yourself pretty easily, but it's fair to say that proper bookmatching isn't really required. I would say that I was overall very surprised with the condition and build quality that the guitar had when I got it because it's cheap and had travelled a long way (I think it was made in China). The strings it came with were horrible and it needed a clean but other than that it was pretty good.

Features — 8
*The first thing I want to say is that I might be wrong about that price as I bought it about 8 months ago, I don't want to make it seem like wunjo have suddenly whacked up the prices.* For a cheap guitar, I would say the features are pretty decent: you have separate tone and volume knobs for each pickup, and, as you probably know, the pickups are those awesome lipstick pickups. That said, these things do feel fairly cheap, particularly the tone and volume knobs, but then again I think you have to accept that with Danelectros as that's almost part of the point of them. I like the look of the body and the white strap round the edge makes it look even better. One slight problem I do have is that it only has 21 frets, and the top ones really aren't that accessible: this has meant that it's basically impossible to play anything like AC/DC on it because pretty much all of the solos use the 22nd frets or something very nearby. However in the sound section I'll explain why this doesn't really matter. Came with a gig bag and cheap-feeling strap, by the way.

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