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Old June 1st, 2012, 09:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Danelectro style Tele Build

My recent (ill-timed) attempt at the 2012 Build Challenge
(located here) was to be a hybrid of a Tele and several design elements of Danelectro guitars.

Ever since I played a copper colored Silvertone like this one



I have wanted to own one. The guy who had it flat refused to sell it, by the way.

So, using Dano the style of construction of a plywood frame capped top and back with hardboard, like these,







my intent is to make a light weight, very resonant, mojo loaded, retro style, bad-ass of a Tele.


Last edited by sjohnbruton; June 2nd, 2012 at 12:08 AM.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 09:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I want the hollow body, sound hole, and front pickup of the Convertible,



the pickguard of the 59,



and the dolphin nose of the U series.

It also will have a Fender style nut in aluminum (like a Dano). Throw in some wide vinyl edge banding and the finished product will look very similar to this:

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Old June 1st, 2012, 09:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The first step is the body.

Instead of using the cheapest available, I went "all-out" and bought a sheet of 1/2" Birch ply. I then cut this full sheet into fifteen 16x19 panels. Following the same process, I cut a sheet of 3/16" hardboard into the same size pieces.



Once I had these panels, I face glued three of them together to get an over all thickness of 1.5" Sadly, my inexperience shined brightly and the resulting blank was badly warped due to crappy cauls...

The second attempt was successful when I realized I could screw the panels together since the ply core was not going to be visible in the finished product. I ended up with this:



I then rough cut the blank to shape on my benchtop bandsaw.

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Old June 1st, 2012, 10:04 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I bought my then 14 year old son a Danelectro re-issue U-2, Les Paul shape two p/ups, in the early 90'2. I play it now as part of my colection and won't part with it. Love those "lipstick p/up". Apparently Dan Erlewine collects the old ones and his Brown U-2 is his personal favourite. I'd love to get a double cutaway Like Jimmy page used. Good choice for a build sjohnbruton!
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Old June 1st, 2012, 10:28 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Next up - pattern routing!

Since the blank is too thick for my 1" bit, I need to do two passes. First up is the top-bearing-that-really-is-a-bottom-bearing-when-its-in-the-router-table bit:



Then, flip and repeat with the opposite bit:



Since I want a soundhole, I can't use a center block that extends from the neck pocket to the bridge. I do, however, want a bit more rigidity than the "island" bridge block of the Convertible. So, I decided to attach the island block to the frame with a narrow strip running from the end pin to the bridge.

To cut the inner cavity of the body, I first used several sizes of Forstner bits to drill out the inner corners of the pattern.





I then played "connect the dots" with my jig saw.





Here is the rough cut body core:



I decided to leave enough material for a mild arm contour. Here she is after knocking off most of the interior saw marks with an 80 grit sanding drum.



Ready for hardboard!

FYI: I can totally see why Danelectro used these materials and construction methods. Even upgrading to birch ply, I spent a total of $60 for the plywood and hardboard combined. When cut to 16x19 and processed into blanks, I will get 5 finished bodies and still have hardboard left over. That's only $12 a body!! Gotta love that.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 10:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonetele View Post
I bought my then 14 year old son a Danelectro re-issue U-2, Les Paul shape two p/ups, in the early 90'2. I play it now as part of my colection and won't part with it. Love those "lipstick p/up". Apparently Dan Erlewine collects the old ones and his Brown U-2 is his personal favourite. I'd love to get a double cutaway Like Jimmy page used. Good choice for a build sjohnbruton!
Thanks, I hope it turns out half as cool as a real Dano! Those lipstick pups do sound great. For this one I'm sticking with Tele pups and electronics, though. Mostly because this is kind-of an experiment (prototype) and I already have the Tele setup. Oh, and I'm cheap, too!
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 12:17 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I love it. The convertible sound hole will be aces.

You're making me itch to start a hollow-body build before I'm done with my current (maiden) solid body effort.

Dig the ply method, too!
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 12:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Didn't Dano use pine instead of plywood for the center?
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 08:31 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Maybe you need one of these for extra mojo?

http://www.ebay.com/itm/1965-Dan-Ele...item1e63704f25
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 08:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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This will be a cool build to watch. I had intended to do a Dano-style build at some time but ended up forgoing the hardboard for plywood. Good luck on the rest of the build.

Guitarbuilder: that is some mojo right there!
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 08:53 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I did one of these last year with a polycarbonate cutting board instead of a top layer of hardboard; they're a blast to make, and I'll echo what everyone else has said about the lipstick pup. It's my favorite pickup. The GFS low-output versions sound great, especially wired in series.

I hadn't thought of stacking plywood; I just pieced together offcuts of poplar, plus some mahogany (for the bridge island). Since they were all pieces I just had lying around, the body cost something like $28.

Nice build!
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 09:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doc Rorick View Post
I love it. The convertible sound hole will be aces.

You're making me itch to start a hollow-body build before I'm done with my current (maiden) solid body effort.

Dig the ply method, too!
Thanks. I'm hoping it works out like I imagine...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Simpson View Post
Didn't Dano use pine instead of plywood for the center?
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure. Best I could figure out (without too much research), is that some were pine ply and some were pieces of solid pine. Truth is I don't really know.

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Originally Posted by guitarbuilder View Post
Maybe you need one of these for extra mojo?
Cool! That would be pretty slick... I'm not sure about a 23.5" scale though. I've never heard of a Dano that short. Of course, what do I know?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg M View Post
This will be a cool build to watch. I had intended to do a Dano-style build at some time but ended up forgoing the hardboard for plywood. Good luck on the rest of the build.

Guitarbuilder: that is some mojo right there!
Thanks, I'm gonna need the luck! And all the extra time I can find laying around. Too bad you can't but that on ebay...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Picton View Post
I did one of these last year with a polycarbonate cutting board instead of a top layer of hardboard; they're a blast to make, and I'll echo what everyone else has said about the lipstick pup. It's my favorite pickup. The GFS low-output versions sound great, especially wired in series.

I hadn't thought of stacking plywood; I just pieced together offcuts of poplar, plus some mahogany (for the bridge island). Since they were all pieces I just had lying around, the body cost something like $28.

Nice build!
Thanks. Sweet build, BTW. I love using out of the ordinary materials for stuff like this. What did you use for the edge banding? I think I saw you mention wallpaper? I've decided to go with vinyl shelf liner...

I'm definitely going lipstick on the next one. They are one of my faves, too!
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 09:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Yeah, I just cut some wallpaper into strips. I found a sample that matched the off-white of the back; it had a nifty texture, too. Yellow glue and a coating of epoxy took care of it.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 10:49 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Love it so far.
I have had an similar idea, but you'rs better so i'll rip it, if thats OK with you.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 11:04 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Picton View Post
Yeah, I just cut some wallpaper into strips. I found a sample that matched the off-white of the back; it had a nifty texture, too. Yellow glue and a coating of epoxy took care of it.
Nice idea. I'm hoping the vinyl won't require any top coat.

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Love it so far.
I have had an similar idea, but you'rs better so i'll rip it, if thats OK with you.
I heard a quote once that went like this: "If you steal from me, you're stealing twice!" - No worries.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 02:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Cool project! As far as I know, the reissues are/were ply core, the originals several pieces of solid wood.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 03:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Simpson View Post
Didn't Dano use pine instead of plywood for the center?
I think they used Poplar...

I love this build. Very cool.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 04:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sjohnbruton View Post
Cool! That would be pretty slick... I'm not sure about a 23.5" scale though. I've never heard of a Dano that short. Of course, what do I know?
If that's accurate, not many were. Most were 25" scale (Danelectro built) except for the original Pro, which was 21". FWIW, 23.5" is very playable and sounds cool with modern pups, but seeing your pup selection, 25.5 or 25 would be better. For those that have never tried one, a 25" scale is very versatile, just play a PRS sometime

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I'm definitely going lipstick on the next one. They are one of my faves, too!
Here ya' go LINK, the humbuckers are a gas. I wired them in series with a shorting switch for single-coil, then a single coil tube in the neck position for a friend's Squier 51.................I've been trying to buy it from him ever since
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 05:06 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Loving this build!!
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 05:10 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I have lipsticks and pots lol!
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