Original Danny Gatton Telecaster

Discussion in 'Telecaster Discussion Forum' started by XB70A, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. XB70A

    XB70A TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Metro DC
    Hello to all, my name is Rick,

    The title is not a misprint. I joined this website to find information on a Telecaster I have owned for 37 years and recently re-examined it after keeping it in controlled storage. Here is this Tele's tale.

    In 1979 I was approached by a co-worker where I worked who was in a local DC band, to buy a couple of guitars he wanted to sell so he could afford a 25th Anniversary Silver Stratocaster, that is how I remember the year. One was a Les Paul The Paul that my Brother bought. The other was this Blonde Telecaster. As a Bass player, I bought it because it was a killer deal on a name brand guitar, not because I could play it well and it has been just kind of stored away since then.

    Now, a description. The serial is in the 322,000 range so that puts it in 1971 from what I have found. It has been modified. The front vertical pickup appears to be original and the rear forward angled pickup may be, but I'm not sure. But, there is a third pickup obviously put in that looks like a big chrome rectangular one found on a Les Paul surrounded by a beige surround and the black pickguard was obviously cut to install this one. The front selector switch has five positions, don't know if this is original. Then, between the volume and tone knobs is a small, non-original, two position switch, I do not know what it does. There is wear on the fingerboard between the first four frets, also like what I have seen on other of Mr. Gatton's guitars.

    On the back scribed into the finish of the guitar is "Danny Gatton" with 1976 underneath. "Danny" is written in script and "Gatton" is written in letters. The 7 in"1976" has a slash through it, like some people do with the letter Z. After studying everything I can about Danny Gatton's signature, it appears to me to be his writing.

    I have kept this guitar completely original as I bought it, with only the strings changed about 20 years ago by a very good friend and a good player himself as the originals were shot. He played it and was impressed with it and said it had one of the straightest necks on a Fender he had ever seen. It still resides in it's original case, black on the outside and orange on the inside.

    I am trying to find out any thing I can about this guitar. I will do my best to post pictures soon but am a little gunshy after getting criticized on another forum by a moderator, not a guitar forum, about my failed attempt to post pics. I am a dinosaur in today's digital age but will do my best.

    Thanks in advance to any and all, Rick.
     
  2. BopT

    BopT Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,832
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2011
    Location:
    Chicago
    Photos?
     
  3. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    6,987
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    Near TELE-Town (Wash. DC)
    That's an excellent description, but yes, photos are a must. You can upload them directly from your computer. If you need help, just ask. I promise, we won't bite your head off. CS
     
    Doug 54 likes this.
  4. XB70A

    XB70A TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Metro DC
    Chris S, yes, I would very much appreciate your help as I have never used a photo uploading service outside of ebay successfully and do want to post pics of this guitar here. Like I said, I'm an analog dinosaur. I would also contemplate bringing this guitar to a store like GuitarCenter or Chuck Levine's in the near future for local Telecaster fans to try, if this is something one of these stores would allow. Thanks again
     
  5. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    53
    Posts:
    2,822
    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2016
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC
    If this was one of Danny's guitars, I'd feel like I could never do it justice playing it.
     
  6. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    6,987
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    Near TELE-Town (Wash. DC)
    It's very easy. Just below the white box where you type your text are three buttons: Post Reply, Upload a File, and More Options... Click on Upload a File, and choose the picture(s) you want to show. That's all there is to it. CS
     
  7. Iago

    Iago Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,036
    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    Location:
    Brazil
    Hmm regardless, I think you have a really nice guitar in hands, XB70A. Looking forward for the pictures.
     
  8. KDAD

    KDAD Tele-Meister Ad Free Member

    Posts:
    136
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Thornton, Colorado
    I am really looking forward to the pictures.

    I grew up in the D.C. area and saw Danny and the FatBoys (?) in Georgetown at one of the bars on M Street,
    Roy Buchanan at the Wax Museum (late in his career)
    and Nils Lofgren at the Bethesda Unitarian Church. I remember when Truth by Jeff Beck was released and the next week Nils could play it all.

    Those were the days.

    Thanks,

    Kevin
     
    Doug 54 and steve007 like this.
  9. brogh

    brogh Assistant Admin Staff Member

    Posts:
    4,559
    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2010
    Location:
    italy
    hi Welcome to the forum !

    I'm pretty curios to see this guitar too !
     
  10. XB70A

    XB70A TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Metro DC
    07262015 001.JPG 07262015 002.JPG 07262015 005.JPG Ok, here are some pics, the camera battery was running low. Ansel Adams I'm not.
     

    Attached Files:

    bacongrease, steve007 and Iago like this.
  11. XB70A

    XB70A TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Metro DC
    By the way, I have never cleaned this guitar. It probably needs it, but I'm not going to screw it up because I don't know how to do it right. And, like Mr. Gatton, I'm a hot rodder at heart and the most important lesson I learned was, Know When To Stop! So I haven't done anything, so nothing wrong.

    Many Thanks to CS. I can post more when I have better light and a charged battery. Thanks to all, Rick.
     
  12. XB70A

    XB70A TDPRI Member

    Posts:
    7
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2012
    Location:
    Metro DC
    Two more.
     

    Attached Files:

    bacongrease and Iago like this.
  13. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    6,987
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    Near TELE-Town (Wash. DC)
    Here's what Danny's signature looks like on his Custom Shop model.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Tony Done

    Tony Done Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    74
    Posts:
    4,970
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
    Location:
    Toowoomba, Australia
    A question for the experts. Does that fretboard wear look like it could have been done by Danny?
     
  15. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

    Posts:
    10,628
    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2011
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Good question, Tony. I don't consider myself an expert, but one thing that stood out to me seeing Danny Gatton play? It looked like his entire fretboard had been worn to a frazzle - no part left unplayed. It would seem unusual for a guitar played by Danny Gatton to have a wear pattern down in the first position and nowhere else.

    Interesting set of pickups. Wonder what they are.
     
  16. jpjr50

    jpjr50 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    950
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2015
    Location:
    South Florida
    Don't clean it.

    Contact Joe Bonamassa's people if you ever want to sell it. He'd be all over it for sure. He loves buying guitars that have a story.

    I watched a YouTube video of Joe when he was a teenager playing with Danny.
     
  17. bo

    bo Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    5,027
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Milly.JPG [​IMG]

    I think I have one of that guitar's cousins. Check the cover of Billy Hancock's "Shakin' That Rockabilly Fever". Tex Rubinowitz, sometimes along with Danny, made several partscasters in the mid-70s. I note the "placebo switch" on yours that I removed on mine when I did the plate flip. It looks like your guard might also be one of the home made ones as well. Mine has a genuine Dakaware switch tip and the finish removed from the knobs-making the knurl sharper. According to Billy Hancock and another source there were nine guitars built like mine that were initially to sell the idea of a pickup Danny and Tex Rubinowitz were making of what was thought to be a Charlie Christian pickup they found at a local music store (probably Zavarella's). It turns out it was a Gibson B9 lap steel pickup. The business tanked. The two pickups didn't really "play well together" until I removed the tone control from the neck pickup. From the age on the surround on my pickup I think mine might be the original one. Check under the pick guard and control plate to see if there isn't some poor chiseled routing work and sloppy soldering. The bridge on mine is a 70s Fender six saddle modded to a three saddle. There's an ancient thread somewhere around here where a guy tracked down I think 7 of the nine guitars. Almost all were modded to something else later on because they had no real value. I know Peter Bonta had one at one point. Mine, like the custom shop models, has no finish on the neck and the string trees flat on the headstock. Billy said Tex was the prime mover of those guitars. Check the dates on the parts if they weren't sanded off. Mine's a 69 neck and 73 body. A friend of mine also has a Tex P bass with a less than amazing burst finish. Oh, mine also has a rewound pickup that was wrapped in electrician's tape too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2016
    bacongrease and steve007 like this.
  18. DrASATele

    DrASATele Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    6,211
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2012
    Location:
    North of Boston
    Even if it isn't Gatton's it's still a very nice piece of history.
     
  19. Radspin

    Radspin Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    3,589
    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2008
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Wow!

    The pickguard isn't original...an original 1979 would be an 8-hole, 3-ply black.

    I can't explain why only the first few frets are worn like that.

    Also, I think 1979 Teles had a three-saddle bridge but I couldn't swear to it...will have to check out an old catalog I have.

    Nice guitar no matter what the provenance.
     
  20. Chris S.

    Chris S. Asst. Admin

    Age:
    64
    Posts:
    6,987
    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2005
    Location:
    Near TELE-Town (Wash. DC)
    I had one of the original Tex Rubinowitz Teles, also with a Charlie Christian pickup. It was a cool guitar, but as you say its value was primarily sentimental, and I foolishly let it go before I moved to Austin, TX in 1979. I've always wondered where it wound up -- who knows? Maybe it's yours! ;-) CS
     
    bacongrease and steve007 like this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.