'59 DC-12 Review

manufacturer: Danelectro date: 08/10/2015 category: Electric Guitars
Danelectro: '59 DC-12
This 12-string features slick retro looks, a masonite/plywood body, 2 lipstick style single-coil pickups, die-cast tuners, painted maple bolt-on neck, rosewood fingerboard, and more!
 Sound: 7.7
 Overall Impression: 7.7
 Reliability & Durability: 6.3
 Action, Fit & Finish: 7.3
 Features: 7
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) pictures (2) 3 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.6
'59 DC-12 Reviewed by: Blompcube, on february 19, 2007
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 433.71

Purchased from: www.thomann.de

Features: 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. // 7

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 9

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 9
'59 DC-12 Reviewed by: Firewitch, on august 10, 2015
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 400

Features: - 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. // 8

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
overall: 4
'59 DC-12 Reviewed by: johnrollinson58, on october 30, 2014
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 329

Purchased from: GAK

Features: 2014 model, DC59BLK-12. Based on a 1959 design. Made in Korea. Maple bolt on neck with Rosewood fretboard. 21 frets, 25" scale length. Double acting truss rod. Nut width 1.65". Fretboard radius 14". 6-a-side sealed tuners. C shape neck. Masonite & plywood solid laminated body. Two Alnico powered lipstick pickups. Double cutaway body. 3 way toggle switch. One volume & one tone control. Aluminium nut. Nickel plated bridge. The original versions of this guitar were used by the likes of Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd's Syd Barrett. // 6

Sound: I didn't give this guitar as much of a sound test as I should have done. This was basically because the setup and finish were not to a good standard. I will go into this further below. Unplugged the guitar was very bright and after a few tune ups (not unexpected with a new guitar, especially a 12-string) it held it's tune well. Plugged in the sound was clear, although I only put it through a Vox transistor amp. The toggle switch was very noisy. To be fair the sound was great on all the review videos I found online. Through the right amp I'm sure this would have sounded great, unfortunately because of it's other failings I never had it long enough to find out. // 5

Action, Fit & Finish: The setup on this particular guitar was poor to say the least. The neck was at completely the wrong angle to the body and when I put a straight edge on the fretboard it bumped up against the neck pickup. To try to lower the strings to a sensible height would not have been possible without a neck reset. I tried adjusting the saddles but got to a point on both the high and low E strings where the screws were loose and the saddles were resting on the bridge plate. The stuck-on vinyl around the edge of the guitar looks cheap and I suspect it wouldn't last too long. Also is it really necessary? Surely the Masonite/plywood could be finished fairly smoothly and painted to match the top? The pickguard is not one colour all the way through. It is mostly black and the top layer is painted white. This had scratches in it prior to me opening the box and I can only see that it would soon pick up more in normal use. The knobs were like something off a cheap hifi. // 3

Reliability & Durability: Where do I start? The vinyl on the sides is going to peel off. The pickguard is going to scratch and mark up. The toggle switch is going to get nosier or stop working altogether. For me this would have been a home use guitar mostly. So I suppose with a bit of maintenance here and there it would probably have lasted. But for regular gig use I would not want to rely on one of these myself. I do a lot of work on my own and my friends guitars and the issues I've had with this one are mostly to be found on cheap/bottom end examples. I have read people comparing this model to a Rickenbacker 12-string and suggesting the Danelectro was better. I have played both and for me the Rickenbacker wins hands down. // 3

Overall Impression: I feel somewhat guilty posting this review as I have not found anything other than positive reviews of these guitars on the net so far. I bought this as a treat for myself as I've had a couple of 12-string acoustics but not an electric. It was a real disappointment. If this guitar cost about half of what I paid for it then I could forgive all it's faults. But, at over £300 I expect a better instrument than the one I got. I have a Squier Tele that cost less than £200 and it's a far better made guitar than this. I have never spent this sort of money on a guitar I haven't tried and I would be reluctant to do so again. GAK have been very understanding and I have returned the guitar to them for a refund.

I have been playing for over 30 years and play music by many artist including Paul Weller, Muse, Stereophonics, Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, The Who, Radiohead, Damian Rice... My other gear includes - Fender USA Strat, Yamaha AC3M Acoustic, Freshman modified 8-string acoustic, Squier Tele, Marshall Master Sound combo, Vox 15w practice amp, Vox acoustic amp. // 3

Was this review helpful to you? Yes / No
Post your comment
Only "https" links are allowed for pictures,
otherwise they won't appear