'59 DC-12 review by Danelectro

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.2 (9 votes)
Danelectro: '59 DC-12

Price paid: $ 433.71

Purchased from: www.thomann.de

Sound — 9
This is the best part. There's no way you can put the sound into words. It totally suits the british rock sound I was looking for, think The Byrds, The Who, The Beatles, it can easily stand up to the sound of the famous (and much more Expensive) Rickenbacker 360/12. It seems to sound great through any amp with a good clean channel. Don't use distortion with an electric 12. The single coil lipstick tubes can be noisy if placed next to a computer or a TV, but that doesn't get in the way of the rich chiming sound too much. It's very bright on the bridge pickup, and quite warm in the other 2 positions, so you can get a good underlining jangle for rhythm guitarists. The guitar isn't the most versatile electric 12 out there, but it does the job for people looking for a good Vintage 12-string jangle better than anything else in the price range.

Overall Impression — 10
I play classic rock, blues, new wave, punk etc. and this guitar is a good match for the purpose. I have been playing for about 8 years, and have various other guitars, including a Fender Strat and a Rickenbacker 4001 bass. This is my first real electric 12, prior to that I was using the Chime patch on my Line 6 Variax which mimics a Rickenbacker 12-string, but that doesn't compare to playing a real 12-string. If this guitar was stolen, I'd definitely get another. This guitar suits my hands better than a Rickenbacker. I just love the Vintage chime, the thick neck and overall feel of the guitar. When I first played it it was like I'd been playing it for years. All things considered, there is nothing I hate about it. A few minor niggles, but these are very minor. The guitar I had my eye on before was a Burns Double six, and though more versatile it doesn't compare to the Danelectro. I found the neck on the Burns to be too thin and wide (it was 5cm at the nut), and I just couldn't play it for too long without getting aches in my thumb, which is the reason I chose the cheaper Dano. The Burns was much more versatile but didn't have the Vintage tone. The Danelectro DC-12 is perfect as it is, no frills, just pure playability and sound. It has nothing more than what it needs, and that's probably what's so good about it. I don't wish for anything more. I'm glad I bought this guitar, because it's just perfect for me.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I've only had it 2 days so it's a bit early to tell how durable it is. It doesn't feel as solid as other 12-strings I've played, although it feels pretty strong. The harware needs to be good quality to handle the tension of 6 extra strings, and I don't expect to be having any problems with it. The danelectros from a few years ago had nasty plastic strap buttons, but they now have solid chrome buttons that will probably last. I'm a little suspicious of the finish on the pickguard, it looks like a very thin layer of white paint has been applied to the black material, I would imagine this can be scratched off leaving black scratch marks after some time. The limo black finish looks like it will last however.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
Factory setup was excellent. The intonation was as accurate as it can be, and the action was comfortably low. Perfect for me. The only flaw is that the top strap button is positioned awkwardly, it's placed at the top of the body where the neck is bolted on, making it difficult to fit a strap. That's only a minor fault, nothing that can lower the rating. Another one that comes to mind is a slightly noisy pickup select Switch, a few crackles when switching to and from the Bridge pickup.

Features — 7
My Dano is a korean made 2006 limo-black DC 12-string. It has 21-frets with a nice thick neck with a rosewood fretboard, which for me is perfect on a 12-string. I'd say it's a short scale length, although it could just be the fat neck playing tricks on me. The body, as with all danelectros is Masonite (Chipboard), but don't let that put you off the guitar. The neck is maple with a very chunky rosewood fretboard as I have mentioned, And the also chunky scratchplate seems to be made of some sort of rough acrylic. The body is the same as the 6-string DC (like the one Jimmy Page played with Led Zeppelin), A double cutaway symmetrical shape. The bridge is an interesting thing, it's a 6 saddle bridge, with an extra notch on each saddle to hold the extra strings. The regular strings are thru-body while the octave/paired strings are attached at the bottom of the bridge. The controls are simple, a 3-way switch, and single volume/tone knobs. The guitar has 2 Lipstick tube pickups, one very close to the bridge, the other near the neck, except more towards the middle position. The non-locking mini-tuners are un-branded although I think they are Gotohs, They are very small but that's to compensate for there being more of them, so the headstock isn't too oversized. It came with 2 allen keys for adjusting the saddles and the trussrod.

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    I too have a Korean made DC-12 circa 2004. Regarding durability, it's a no-frills guitar. The body is glued masonite & plywood which makes it rock solid, adding to the sound of the instrument. The outer rim is a stick-on laminate that doesn't hold well with age. 5 minutes and a hot glue gun and the guitar is as good as new. Aside from this one cosmetic gotcha, it's been a beautiful little guitar and has been a joy to play. Reliability & Durability: 8