Squirrel cops a buzz [NGD]

Discussion in 'Other Guitars, other instruments' started by SecretSquirrel, Sep 14, 2021.

  1. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I've always wanted one of these Danelectro electric sitar guitars! The originals, made between 1968 and 1974, are sky-high now at around $4K and up, so when I saw that Danelectro was making "affordable" re-issues, I cashed in my acorns and pre-ordered one.

    That was about ten months ago! :eek:

    There's still a waiting list as back orders get filled, so if you want one, place the order now to a) get placed on the list, and b) lock in the current price. [No affiliation, I just learned this stuff in the process, and saved $100 by locking in an earlier price, plus they didn't charge my card until it shipped out of their warehouse.]

    The guitar came on Saturday, so I've had a couple of days to evaluate it, and overall I'm delighted!—while noting some minor issues.

    Playability was good out of the box, although the nut slots are higher then they should be, and I think the setup can be tweaked a little.

    I experimented with slightly adjusting the Gotoh "buzz bridge" when it seemed like the G string wasn't fully buzzing in the sitar-esque fashion; that yielded some improvement, but I'm very cautious about fiddling with the buzz bridge because I've always heard they're fussy with regards to getting a good buzz tone vs. good intonation. I don't want to mess up a good thing and not be able to get it back.

    (I had some experience with "buzz bridges" when I fashioned one of my own to drop onto old Teisco/Harmony bridge posts; one thing I learned was that it's hard to get even buzz & intonation across the whole fretboard. The Gotoh bridge can do this pretty well.)

    Meanwhile, I'm getting to know the instrument better before jumping into any major setup tweaks.

    Starting with the most critical info: the guitar weighs 6.6 pounds. ;) Now on to the minor details:

    The neck seems wide, with unusually ample space on either side of the strings. That feels odd, and at the first full setup/string change, I'll round the edges and smooth the fret ends, which are clean & consistent, but a little pointier than they could be.

    One corner of the "drone" strings' tailpiece pokes out under the pickguard, and it jabs into my arm—ouch! I'll probably affix some adhesive padding to that (not going to file it!). Or make a new, slightly larger pickguard.

    I think the six-string pickguard can probably go—it's level with the strings, which is awkward sometimes for picking, although I must say that resting my pinkie on it is comfortable. The high E string tends to ring out less, and picking harder is impeded by the pickguard blocking downward "follow through" motions of the pick.

    I can't agree with that headstock design, with the strings exiting the nut at such sharp angles.
    I love the body shape, I just think the headstock is just not right; that's one design aspect I would change.

    Here's something that bugs me. The very limited product info says each of the three pickups has a volume & tone control (there are no switches). But—if I turn the "drone" strings volume knob halfway down, the volume of the six-string pickups drops, too (a lot). If I turn the drone strings volume ALL the way down—or all the way up—the six-string pickups' volume jumps back to normal.

    So it's impossible to set the drone strings' volume independently of the six-string volume. I assume the wiring is correct, just not well planned? Or did I get a mistake? (There's no way I'm sending this back, I'll live with it if need be.)

    The "Drone" strings don't actually drone sympathetically. I tested that by turning off the 6-string pickups and diming the drone pickup; banging on the 6-strings produces no sound from the drone pickup. A better word might be "harp" strings, because it resembles a crude miniature harp or autoharp. Those 13 strings come tuned chromatically, or you can tune them to a scale etc. Either way, just dragging a pick across them produces a cool glissando, and I've seen some people picking the strings individually to make melodies & arpeggios and so on. We'll see how much I actually use them.

    Made in Korea. Fit & finish is very good, and I love the classic red crackle finish.

    Sweetwater pairs this guitar with a Gator Jaguar case, and I went ahead and added the case. Perfect fit!

    Any tips & pointers regarding these things would be appreciated! And now some pics:


    0 Danelectro SITAR 04.jpg


    0 Danelectro SITAR 01.jpg



    0 Danelectro SITAR 02.jpg
     
  2. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

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    Very cool!
    I’d love to have one of those.
    I’d teach myself the solos on Steely Dan’s Do It Again.
    Denny Dias swung.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021
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  3. Fretting out

    Fretting out Poster Extraordinaire

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    Cool!

    I didn’t know that were reissuing these

    What are the drone strings/gauges? And where do you get more if they break?
     
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  4. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    According to the story of that solo, someone at the studio found a beat-up Coral Sitar with rusted strings for cheap at a guitar shop, and showed it to Denny Dias, who asked to play it on a track. He says he played the "Do It Again" solo in one take, gave the sitar guitar back, and never saw or played another one.
     
  5. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I believe they're .0010's, and they have normal ball ends, so you could buy a 5-pack of .0010's for spares, and just trim them to length.
     
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  6. Happy Enchilada

    Happy Enchilada Tele-Holic

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    That's the coolest thing I've seen on this forum! My wife would freak, but where can I get one?
     
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  7. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    As featured on “Space: 1999”!!!

    Always wanted to try one.

    Congrats!
     
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  8. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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  9. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    I did not know that! I'll look for it.
     
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  10. Speedfish

    Speedfish Tele-Afflicted

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    Very cool! Congrats!
     
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  11. Midgetje94

    Midgetje94 Tele-Holic

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    Very cool!! Back a few years ago I worked for a mom and pop pawn shop. They had a Rouge branded one. Looked just like that one. I’d never seen or heard of it. We had $85 on it. I eventually got curious enough to bite. Got it for $60 even.

    it was cool to play with. But quickly got bored with it. Wish I kept it. But couldn’t find the rouge one online. I could only find one listed online at the time (forget the brand. But looked identical) it was listed at $800. So I was bored with it. Took it to a local corporate chain pawnshop where the employees know nothing about anything. You know the kinda shop. Ended up walking out with $350. I was happy with the sale.

    but like I said. Wish I kept it. Conversation piece, cool to mess around with, fun.
     
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  12. radiocaster

    radiocaster Poster Extraordinaire

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    I played a Danelectro Baby Sitar Interesting, but a sitar it is not. It's just a guitar with a bridge similar to one on some Indian instruments.

    Drone strings are not necessarily sympathetic on a sitar, you play the main ones but you don't fret them. There are also higher pitched strings you play but don't fret. You only really fret one string, and you can bend it much more than on a guitar.
     
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  13. Dan German

    Dan German Doctor of Teleocity

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    Season 1, Episode 22, The Troubled Spirit.

    Or so I hear. (Nerd Alert)
     
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  14. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Wow, that was a deal! I was just looking on eBay, and those used Rogue models are asking $1000! I was always unsure about the quality of the Rogues, never got to try one, but seems like they're okay.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2021
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  15. Midgetje94

    Midgetje94 Tele-Holic

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    Yea I had no real idea what it was (like I knew it was an electric Sitar. But that was it lol). Like I said. I definitely regret selling it. But it was cool for a while.

    It’s the only rogue guitar I’ve ever played. I don’t like their mandolin I’ve played. So I assume it’s like any other “student” brand. Have good and bad pieces.
     
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  16. Midgetje94

    Midgetje94 Tele-Holic

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    just looked. Have to be careful. There 2 rogue ones asking $1k. But only one listed as sold. And that was only $510. So anyone can ask any amount. But doesn’t mean that’s value. I’d bet money the danelectro plays circles around the rogue.
     
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  17. Tommy Biggs

    Tommy Biggs Friend of Leo's

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    I played with a drummer who was a primo bull hitter.
    He borrowed an original Coral that I played for a while, it was cool, but definitely a one trick pony for my teenage brain! He also used to find and borrow Ampeg Reverbrockets for me. I sure wish I had bought one of those!!!
     
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