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Asher Guitars WD Music Products Amplified Parts Mod Kits DIY Nordstarnd Pickups Warmoth.com

Danelectro U1 "convertible" build

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by Tempest, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. Tempest

    Tempest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    36
    14
    Jul 22, 2016
    Greece
    Hey all!

    This is my first post regarding the building process of my first ever to build electric guitar. It is about Danelectro's U1 model. I chose this model since it is build with really cheap materials that I wouldn't cry over if things didn't turn the way I wanted.

    I used a fairly good picture I found online in order to trace the outline of the guitar using AutoCAD. I also took into consideration several information that I found online regarding the scale, original materials used, string action, neck width etc. From all these came the following result.

    The materials I used are the following.
    Guitar frame - Spruce. Danelectro was using mostly poplar or plywood.
    Neck - Sapele with movingui insert. Danelectro was using mostly alder. I also installed a double action trussrod. Danelectro was not using one in it's early models.
    Guitar top and back - mdf. Danelectro was using hdf (masonite). I was not able to find hdf in my region.
    Fretboard - Wenge. Usually fretboards were out of rosewood.
    The guitar is 25" scale.

    During the building I had the idea of changing a little bit the design so that to install a piezo in the guitar. I thought that only one magnet would be too little for a guitar, so I cut an "f hole" to the top. I also drilled 4 holes for the pots. I will use a blend pot, a volume a tone and an on/off switch to turn on and off the black ice mod.

    By the way, anyone having a suggestion on teh piezo please feel free to comment on the matter. I am thinking of installing a standard piezo under the bridge. However there is always the option of installing a piezo disc just inside the guitar under it's top

    Unfortunatelly I didn't keep pictures from all the steps this far. All that I have are the following.

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    DonM and Gunerius like this.

  2. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    776
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Looking really great!

    The original frames were made from pine with a poplar centreblock contacting the back but not the top. There's a larger pine block under the bridge that contacts both top and back. This is a 1959 Dano neck pocket showing the poplar block and pine sides.

    [​IMG]

    The frames on the originals are very crude, just scraps of pine bandsawed roughly to shape and glued and stapled into place with whatever grain orientation works. I can never bring myself to do them quite so crudely although I do use any scrap that is hanging round the workshop.

    The necks on the originals I worked on have always been poplar.

    The reissues have a plywood frame and way too much poly on the neck to have any idea what species is under it!

    I've made copies with both mdf and Masonite and I much prefer mdf. Masonite is kind of like cardboard to work with and it's a pain to glue - it gets wet from the glue and won't bond until it's thoroughly dry so clamping time is ridiculous. With mdf the frames come together really quickly.

    Here's one of my Dano style builds with a pair of originals in the background:

    [​IMG]
     
    Tempest and DonM like this.

  3. Tempest

    Tempest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    36
    14
    Jul 22, 2016
    Greece
    Glad to see other people's work with Danelectro guitars! I admit that even if my original thought was to build a "cheap" guitar, the whole project has turned out to be really challenging and fun!

    Do you have perhaps a proposal for the pvc binding? I am thinking of using faux leather even though it is not half as tough as pvc cloth.

    Ps. I forgot to mention that I also have installed a block of spruce glued both to top and back under the area the bridge rests. I just forgot to take some pictures!
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016

  4. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    776
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    I use vinyl for side tape - mine comes from a German manufacturer but I'm sure there would be plenty others out there. I've struggled to find material that looks like the original but there is a guy in the US that has a stock of original Dano binding and will cut it to size for you if you want something authentic. He's on Ebay so easy to find. The reissues use the same stuff I do which is an ostrich skin effect matt finish:

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  5. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    776
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Incidentally there are several of us who make this style of guitar who hang out in the home depot sub forum!
     

  6. Tempest

    Tempest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    36
    14
    Jul 22, 2016
    Greece
    Hey to all.

    Some progress has been made this week, although small I must say.

    The main work was to polish the neck and install the frets. However the frets are far from finished. Still leveling, edge timing, crowning etc remain to be done.

    The neck was spayed with several layers of acrylic based aerosol high gloss clear coat. That was not enough to fill the pores of sapele. I shoul have known better and should have used something else to fill thw pores at an earlier stage. No problem though, I like the way it looks. After spaying I used linseed oil to do some extra polishing and pore filling. I am not sure whether this is a good practise. The result is satisfying though not glossy enough.

    Here are some pictures of the fretwork. I will post some pictures of the polished neck as soon as I get back home this afternoon.

    * I am also posting some pictures of an earlier stage where I was filling, priming, wet sanding the guitar before the final color application.

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    Tonetele likes this.

  7. jayyj

    jayyj Tele-Holic

    776
    Jul 13, 2014
    Manchester, UK
    Looking good so far!
     

  8. Tempest

    Tempest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    36
    14
    Jul 22, 2016
    Greece
    Ok, it is not exaclty afternoon!

    Here are some pictures of the neck so far.

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    Gunerius and john kleeman like this.

  9. Tempest

    Tempest TDPRI Member

    Age:
    36
    14
    Jul 22, 2016
    Greece
    Finally, even though minor jobs are pending on this guitar, I managed to pull it off! This is my first build so please be kind, :)

    Sorry for the bad quality of the image. At first chance I will post a better one.

    BTW, anyone interested for this design feel free to contact me for the blueprints!

    [​IMG]
     
    Zepfan and Gunerius like this.

  10. Gunerius

    Gunerius Tele-Holic

    799
    Jan 10, 2013
    Norway

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