'59 DC-12 review by Danelectro

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

Price paid: € 400

Features — 8
- 2013 model
- Great Gotoh machine heads
- Telecaster style bridge, with the regular string going through the body and the high strings being top loaded.
- 20 frets
- Mine is black but there's also a burgundy finish
- Masonite hollow body (easy on the shoulder!) rosewood fingerboard.
- 2 passive, vintage voiced lipstick pickups, wired in series, controlled by a 3 way toggle switch, master volume and master tone.
- Came without a case or bag - be aware that it won't fit inside every case because of the tall headstock! I actually use a bass guitar gigbag for it.

Sound — 9
Great sounding guitar, the 3 position switch give it a nice array of sounds. The lipstick pickups are bright but the series wiring on the middle position fattens the sound. I actually like it better than a 12-string Rickenbacker I tried! Nothing to complain about for that price. I even manage to get some acoustic guitar sounding sound out of it (neck pickup, volume rolled back). It's sounds great through any of my amps and will have a nice presence in a mix without being overwhelmingly harsh or brittle.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Surprisingly good setup and quality parts for such a cheap guitar! The Gotoh machine heads are reliable and the bridge is solid. The guitar was properly setup when I got it and I never had to adjust the bridge or the trussrod - then again I suppose the shop had set it up before. Never had any tuning issues on stage - VERY important factor for a 12 string guitar. It had stood the test of time as far as I'm concerned. The finish is a bit raw and I'm not a fan of the tape on the side of the guitar, but the neck is very well finished.

Reliability & Durability — 8
My only complains are:
- The quality of the electronics: The toggle switch is really wanky and feels like it could break easily (never did after 2 years of playing, though) and the tone capacitor which just plainly sucks. Change it, it's a cheap mod.
- The strap button on the side of the neck, which prevents the player from raching high notes and requires a thin guitar strap.

Otherwise I've been gigging with it and never had any issues. I don't bring a backup for it, and in case of a string break, they can be replaced quickly.

Overall Impression — 10
Fantastic 12-string instrument! At first I was actually willing to bay 4 times the price for a Rickenbacker before actually settling for the Danelectro. I also tried 2 vintage Burns and Fender XII, and the Danelectro actually came only second behind the $4.000 Fender. It has that "love it or hate it" vintage vibe and plays and sounds great. Whether you play in a Beatles/Byrds tribute band, just need a 12-string guitar for a couple of songs or are looking to make your first 12-string purchase, this guitar is for you. How much of a 12-string are you going to play in a set or on a recording anyway? Get this one! It's affordable, sounds great, and is really reliable.

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