DANELECTRO
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DANELECTRO
Instruments currently produced in Korea since 2012. Distributed by LPD Music International in Madison Heights, MI. Guitars were previously produced in Red Bank, NJ from 1953 to mid-1958, in Neptune, NJ between mid-1958 and 1969, overseas between the late 1990s and 2003 and in China by the Evets Corporation between 2005 and 2011. Between roughly 1956 and 1967, distribution was handled by the Danelectro Corporation of Neptune, NJ. However, the majority of instruments were sold or distributed through the Sears & Roebuck chain. From 1967 to 1969, distribution was handled by the MCA Corporation after they purchased Danelectro.
Nathan I. Daniels (1912-1994) was a New York electronics buff who began assembling amplifiers at home in 1934. In the mid-1930s, he was contracted by Epiphone (NYC) to build Electar amps, and successfully created a reputation and finances to start the Danelectro Corporation in 1948. Daniels' new company had offices and a factory in Red Bank, NJ.
By 1953, the first guitar was designed, and it was introduced in 1954. It has been hypothesized/assumed that Daniels had consulted his long time friend John D'Angelico for assistance in the fret spacing and bridge placement. While most people believe the body frame under the masonite is pine, Paul Bechtoldt confirmed that the body is poplar (and his source was Vinnie Bell!). In 1959 or 1960 the company moved to 207 West Sylvania Avenue in Neptune City, NJ, where it remained until its demise in 1968.
All models were assembled in the Neptune City factory, and the majority were sold to Sears, Roebuck under their Silvertone trademark. Many of the popular designs should be considered semi-hollowbodies, for they have a masonite top and back mounted on a pine frame. The renowned Lipstick Tube pickups are exactly that: Danelectro bought the lipstick casings from a manufacturer who serviced the cosmetics industry, and then sent them to another contractor for plating before the pickup was installed inside.
The company grew during the 1960s guitar boom from under 100 employees to a peak of 503. George Wooster, Danelectro's production manager, estimated that the company produced 150 to 200 guitars a day during peak periods.
In late 1967, MCA (the entertainment conglomerate) bought Danelectro. In the same year, they introduced the Coral line. While 85% of Danelectro's output (guitars and amps) was for Sears, the Coral line was Danelectro┬┤s catalog line. The bodies for the Coral series were built in Japan, but the parts and assembly were done in the New Jersey plant. After MCA purchased the company, they began to do business with individual music shops instead of the big distributors - which brought them into competition with Fender and Gibson. Rather than point out the problem with that corporate thinking, let history do the talking: MCA folded Danelectro in 1968.
William C. Herring bought Danelectro's factory from MCA for $20,000 in late 1968 or 1969. Herring met Dan Armstrong (ex-Ampeg) and the pair visited the empty facilities and found numerous partially completed guitars and machinery. Armstrong contracted to build Danelectros for Ampeg, but by then the amplifier company was in financial straits and couldn't pay for them. These models have the single cutaway bodies, and Dan Armstrong modified Danelectro on the pickguard.
In the late 1980s, the rights to the Danelectro name were acquired by Anthony Marks, who set about building "new" Danelectros with Asian-built bodies and NOS Danelectro necks. While the Blue Book of Electric Guitars has heard of this project, there have been no guitars witnessed to date. It is unknown how extensive this undertaking was.
The rights to license the Danelectro name were purchased by the Evets company in late 1995, and at the NAMM show in January 1997, Danelectro debuted three new effects pedals. Shortly thereafter, Danelectro released the first reissue in a series of new guitars to debut in the late 1990s. Most new Danelectros were reissues of their popular vintage models, but they did release a few new designs as well. This venture lasted until 2003 when Evets discontinued the entire line of Danelectro. In 2005, Danelectro reappeared once again with a new way to market their guitars - limited editions. Their new plan involves releasing a guitar and only producing it for a short time (typically around a year). As of 2011, LPD Music International in Madison Heights, MI is distributing Danelectro in the U.S., and in 2012 they announced that production was moving back to Korea. For more information, visit Danelectro's website or contact them directly. Source: Paul Bechtoldt and Doug Tulloch, Guitars From Neptune, Mark Wollerman, Wollerman Guitars, and Doug Tulloch.

From Blue Book Publications:


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