I must disclose from the outset that this guitar was not sent to me for review. I bought it, fair and square, two weeks ago, for the street price plus shipping to Australia. Why? Well, a quick Youtube search for “Jimmy Page Danelectro” will result in a slew of videos showing Mr Page strumming, pummeling and generally loving his famous black Dano 59DC. This guitar is the sound of Kashmir, White Summer/Black Mountain Side and probably a few others that I don’t know about. I’m a long-time Jimmy Page fan and I just had to have one.
The D59M-NOS is Danelectro’s new take on the 59DC from days gone by. This new take (revision?) retains much of the oeuvre from the old while offering important improvements such as the Badass-style wraparound bridge which is cunningly recessed into the Masonite-poplar body, Kluson-style machines and an adjustable truss rod. The super-twangy-sounding Danelectro Lipstick pickups are said to be have been found after 15 years of being AWOL—abandoned in a warehouse or something – and are a big and welcome feature of these guitars. Thus, we have “M” for “modified” and “NOS” for “New Old Stock.”
These guitars are built in Korea and have few, if any, flaws. The comfortable C-shape, poplar, long scale, neck with rosewood fingerboard is dead straight. It features carefully dressed medium-jumbo frets. The action was set up out of the box exactly the way I like it—low with no buzz—with 10-46 strings. No complaints there either. The intonation was pretty much spot on thanks to the factory’s care and the very welcome new bridge. Danelectro’s 15-year-old Lipstick pickups sing in a clear and twangy voice with a fast attack and moderate output. To me, the general sound of this instrument is lies between an old Gretsch, a Telecaster and a Jazzmaster. “Twang” and “clarity” are the operative words here.
Separate volume and tone pots feature in a concentric configuration and look like cute toys from the ‘50s—little eggs or something similar. The only beef I had with them was that the neck pickup’s tone and volume knobs were a little too close together and were dragging each other when either one was moved. But slipping the knobs off the pot shaft and replacing them again with a little more space between each other remedied that quickly and easily. Other than that, I have no issues with this guitar.
I jacked the D59M-NOS into a variety of amps that I have here—HIWATT, Fender, Marshall and tons of simulations courtesy of an Axe-FX II. The D59M-NOS retained its clean and spanky charms with each and every one them.
This guitar has loads of character and I love that. I could employ it in pretty much any music style but I have to say that it particularly loves being in open tuning and having an 11/16-inch Sears Craftsman socket wrench (Lowell George slide) run up and down its neck whilst driving a Two-Rock sim. Just wow.
And did I mention the looks? The D59M-NOS gets the big win in that department, too.
These guitars will probably be limited due to the pickup quantities available. I have no issues with them and they represent some of the best value in today’s very varied guitar market.
Street price: $349.00 plus shipping from various online vendors.
What we like: It offers superior value for money that is up there with the J Mascis Squier and early Squier ’51. It sounds original and is built like a guitar that costs 2-3 times as much.
Concerns: You’ll need to buy a case or gig bag for it. Mine came without either and I will be gigging it.