Vintage Guitars Info's
DanElectro, Silvertone, Coral
Vintage Guitar Info.
Danelectro, Silvertone, Coral vintage guitars history and collecting.
Private vintage guitar collector. Pictures, history for
Danelectro, Silvertone, Coral vintage guitars.
Contact the Vintage Guitar Info Guy.
Eric Clapton with a psycho-painted "Standard" Dano
Note that much of information and pictures are courtesy of
Paul Bechtoldt and D. Tulloch's
book, Guitars From Neptune", 1995. Much of
this book is catalog reprints, but from it and American Guitars by
T. Wheeler, I was able to construct this information. Personally I've
never really actively looked for these guitars, so my knowledge base is
somewhat limited. But a lot of people buy these at garage sales, flea markets,
etc, and ask me about them. There doesn't seem to be a lot of information
out there. This is probably because Danelectros and Silvertones are
considered "low end" vintage guitars at best, and don't sell for a lot
of money. So I hope this page will be of some help in their identification.
If you are selling your Danelectro, please note I would be interested in
certain models. This would include
the Danelectro "U" models, Double Neck (Stan & Dan), all Longhorn models
(Guitarlin especially), and the Coral Sitar.
Before Nathan Daniel started the Danelectro company in 1947, he
made amplifiers for Epiphone from 1934 to 1946.
Epiphone wanted Daniel to make amps for them exclusively, but he preferred
to stay independent. Instead he
founded the Danelectro company in 1947 and started
making amplifiers for Montgomery Ward. By 1948 Daniel expanded and became
the exclusive guitar amplifier producer for Sears & Roebuck. At the same
time he was also supplying other jobbers such as Targ & Dinner of Chicago.
In the fall of 1954, Daniel started production of solidbody guitars for
Sears, under the Silvertone name. He also produced the same guitars
under the Danelectro name, sold to other jobbers. These early models
didn't have truss rods but had a 3/4" square aluminum tube beginning at
the peghead and through the body to the bridge. The bodies were
constructed of solid Poplar wood. The Silvertone models were covered with
a dark maroon vinyl covering, while the Danelectro models were covered in
a whitish tweed material. Both lines came with either 1 or 2 pickups,
concealed under a baked melamine pickguard. Concentric stacked tone and
volume knobs were used on the two pickup models only. Notably, when both
pickups were used together, the tone was much stronger. This was due to
wiring the pickups in series, instead of parallel like most other maker's
two pickup guitars.
1963 Dano catalog showing the "Stan & Dan"
double neck, and the long horn "Guitarlin".
By the fall of 1956, Daniel started making the Silvertone and Danelectro
lines using the standard Dano materials: a Poplar wood frame (that
comprised the sides, neck and bridge block of the guitar), stapled together
and covered with 3/8" thick masonite. The top and back was painted, but
the sides were covered in a vinyl material to hide the unpainted poplar
wood frame. Also the now infamous "Lipstick tube"
pickups were used. These pickups had an alnico bar magnet and coil
measuring 4.75k ohms wrapped in brown vinyl tape. The pickup guts were
placed inside surplus, chrome plated, lipstick tubes. These pickups were
actually the same as previously used and hidden beneath
the pickguard. Just now they were adorned in lipstick tubes and mounted
in cutouts in the masonite body. Construction
methods stayed this way for most models throughout Danelectro's history.
By 1966 Daniel sold Danelectro to MCA, but remained with the company. In
1967 the Coral line of guitars is introduced. At the time, Danelectro sold
about 85% of it's products to Sears. So MCA started the Coral line to sell
to other distributors. The difference was the Coral hollow bodies (only)
were manufactured in Japan. All other Coral parts were made in the New
Jersey Danelectro plant. Also all Silvertones and Danelectro instruments
were made entirely in the U.S.
1959 Dano Convertible.
In 1969 MCA closed the Danelectro plant. This was blamed on MCA's shift to
selling instruments to individual guitar stores instead of jobbers (such
as Sears). At this time, Dan Armstrong bought
most of the remaining parts, and continued manufacturing Danelectros
through Ampeg. These instruments had single cutaway bodies with one
humbucking pickup (not lipstick tube pickups), and no brand name on the
Ampeg was having problems with the production of the see-thru Dan Armstrong
guitars. In the interium, Armstrong sold the remaining Danelectros through
Ampeg until the Dan Armstrong guitars were fully available.
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1961 Dano Deluxes,
- 1954, 1955: used solid Poplar bodies, 11.25" wide. Known as "C" or peanut body.
- 1956 till 1957: all models used 3/8" thick masonite top and back.
Sides, neck and bridge blocks were constructed of a Poplar frame,
stapled together. The unpainted sides were covered in a whitish vinyl
material. Single cutaway, 13.25" wide. Known as the "U" model body.
- 1958 to 1969: still used the masonite/poplar (or pine) frame,
but now double cutaway "shorthorn" style, 13.25" wide.
- 1959 to 1969: "longhorn" body introduced made with masonite/poplar
frame, double cutaway.
- 1967 to 1969: Slimline body. Much like a Fender Jaquar in shape with
a double cutaway body with the bass horn being the longest. Made using
the masonite/poplar body technique.
- 1967 to 1969 Coral Hollowbodies: made in Japan of conventional
materials and construction techniques.
- 1967 to 1969 electric sitars: Danelectro models had solid
Poplar body, Coral sitar has a semi-hollow Poplar body.
2 & 1 pickup models.
- 1954-1955: Peanut style bodies had bolt-on necks with an aluminum neck
rod that went from the peghead to the bridge. The rod was then screwed to
the body with 2 screws. No truss rod other than the aluminum neck rod.
- 1956-1969: Poplar bolt-on necks with Brazilian rosewood fingerboards.
Non-adjustable steel truss rod.
- 1954, 1955: Alnico bar magnets & copper wire wrapped in brown tape
and mounted beneath the pickguard.
- 1955 to 1969: Alnico bar magnets & copper wire wrapped in brown tape
and mounted in surplus, chrome plated, lipstick tubes. Measured 4.75k
ohms. These were mounted into the masonite top of the instrument.
First generation lipstick tube pickups have unchromed lipstick tubes.
- Post 1969: Dan Armstrong-made instruments (bearing no brand name,
single cutaway body) used humbucking pickups.
1963 Dano Pro 1.
All bridges had notches cut into the metal base to hold the string ends.
A small piece of rosewood was used as the saddle.
- First bridge bass made of aluminum.
- By 1956 bridge base used stainless steel bridges.
- By late 1960's bridge base used chrome plated steel.
- Vibrato models had a "S" shaped bridge plate that rocked.
- The Sitar model (Vinnie Bell model) used a "buzz" bridge to
attain the sitar effect.
- 1954 to 1957: Kluson Ideal G-132 tuners.
- 1958 to 1969: cheap, white plastic button tuners used on lower-end
models. Higher models used one-piece, stamped button, metal tuners (known
as "skate keys").
Volume & Tone Controls
- 2 separate volume and tone controls were used on all guitars from 1954
to 1956, regardless of the number of pickups.
- Starting with the "U2" and "U3" models in 1956,
2 pickup models used concentric type knobs. That is, each potentiometer
"stem" actually had two controls with separate knobs "hugging" each other.
- Black (or white) pointer knobs were first used on the Deluxes in
1958. The Longhorn bass and Guitarlin also used pointer knobs on
their concentric controls.
- Starting in 1957, 3 pickup guitar models started using 3
concentric pointer knobs.
- The "Dane" series used a 4 knob configuration, even on 3 pickup models.
These knobs usually had chrome tops.
- Most models without pointer knobs used round, white (or sometimes
black) knobs (except on the Dane series).
- Nut: made of aluminum on all models except some Coral and later Dano
models have plastic nuts. Also experimented with was "Oilite", an oil
impregnated bronze material.
- Frets: many early models have aluminum frets. Later models used
the industry standard nickel-silver frets.
- Strap Buttons: most models used aluminum strap buttons. Some Coral
and later Danos used chrome plated steel.
The following diagram is thanks to Paul & Doug (as are most of the
pictures). It shows the different peghead
shapes used on Danelectro, Silvertone and Coral models through much
of their history.
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All Danelectro, Silvertones, and Coral use basically the same serial number
scheme, with some exceptions. But for the most part you can date your
Danelectro from the serial number.
The serial number "1065" on the neck butt of a 1965 Stan & Dan model.
The usual serial number location is in the neck pocket. But occassionally
you'll find it hidden on other parts of the body along with other
Most Dano serial numbers are 3 or 4 digits, and decode like this:
- 1st, 2nd digit: week of the year. Note: if a 3 digit serial number
than only the 1st digit is the week (1-9).
- 3rd digit: unknown.
- 4th digit: last digit of the year.
The "10" is the 10th week, "6" is the unknown digit, "5" is the year (1965).
For example, a serial number of 4286 would be the 42nd week of either 1956
or 1966. Check the model to see when it was produced to figure out which
decade it is. A serial number of 576 would be the 5th week of 1956 or 1966.
The serial number "8027" on the neck butt of a 1967 Vinnie Bell model.
The "80" is the 8th week, "2" is the unknown digit, "7" is the year (1967).
Exceptions: in the latter part of 1967, new models used a 3 digit serial
number where the first digit is the year, and the 2nd and 3rd digit was
the week. This was for new (Coral) models only. Original Dano models like
the Longhorns, Bellzouki, Guitarlin, Double-neck, and the Convertible
retain the older 4 (or sometimes 3) digit system.
Another exception: in 1968 the Dano Convertible received the new Dane peghead
and is offered in red, white, blue or natural. At this time the Convertible
changed to the newer 3 digit serial number system.
I don't have a ton of information on the different Danelectro, Silvertone,
and Coral models available. From the above mentioned books and a couple other
sources, I have tried my best to come up with a chronological order
1958 Dano U2 and original case.
- "1954" Model.
- 1954-1955: First Dano models have tweed covering, bell shaped peghead, 1 or 2
pickups under the baked melomine pickguard, solid Poplar wood single cutaway
body that is 11.25" wide ("peanut" body), 2 volume and tone knobs
(regardless of the number of pickups).
- Model "C".
- 1955-1956: has small single cutaway solid Poplar peanut body (11.25" wide)
and 1 or 2 exposed pickups in lipstick tubes. Most are painted ginger color.
1968 Coral & Dano Sitars.
- "U1" (1 pickup), "U2" (2 pickup) Models.
- 1956-1958: 1 or 2 pickups, single cutaway. 2 pickup models have concentric
controls. Starting in 1956, all Dano bodies were made of the famed 3/8"
thick Masonite with a poplar frame comprising the sides, neck and bridge
blocks, 13.25" wide.
Common colors include black, copper, royal blue, coral red, surf green.
- "U3" Model, 3 pickups.
- 1957-1958: 3 pickup version of the 1956 "U" models, with 3 concentric
- Standard Shorthorn models.
- 1958-1969: replaces the "U" models and now has a double cutaway body with
short horns. Masonite/poplar frame bodies, 13.25" wide.
Models numbers include the "Standard": 3011 (black
1 pickup), 3012 (bronze 1 pickup), 3021 (black 2 pickup), 3022 (bronze
2 pickup), 5025 (blond 2 pickup). The 3021 is considered THE Jimmy Page
model. "Seal" shaped pickguard and concentric knobs on 2 or 3 pickup models.
Round control knobs.
- Deluxe Shorthorn models.
- 1958-1969: Same as Standard Shorthorn models but pointed control knobs and different
colors and trim. Model 6026 (white 2 pickup), 6027 (dark walnut 2 pickup),
6028 (honey walnut 2 pickup), 6036 (white 3 pickup), 6037 (dark walnut 3
pickup), 6038 (honey walnut 3 pickup). Smaller normal shaped pickguard,
pointed concentric knobs.
- Vibrato Shorthorn models.
- 1958-1969: Basically a Standard Shorthorn model with vibrato. Model 4011 (black
1 pickup), 4021 (black 2 pickup). Concentric controls on the 2 pickup
model. "Duck Foot" peghead and a sculpted pickguard.
- Double Neck (Stan & Dan) model 3923.
- 1959-1969: Six string guitar and 4 string bass, single pickup for
each neck, white to brown sunburst, concentric knobs.
Bass and Guitarlin models.
- Longhorn Bass models.
- 1959-1969: Bronze sunburst, 4 string model 4423. Also made
a 6 string model 4623. Both 2 pickup with concentric knobs.
- Convertible models.
- 1959-1969: Double cutaway shorthorn body with a round soundhole to be used either
acoustically or electrically. No pickup, blond, model 5005. One pickup,
blond, model 5015.
- Bellzouki 12 String models.
- 1961-1969: Single pickup model 7010 with a tear-drop shaped body,
white to brown sunburst, 12 strings. Also made a 2 pickup model 7020 with
a four point, tear-drop, sculptured body.
1967 Dano Hawk.
- Pro 1 model.
- 1963-1969: Brown with gold flecks, 1 pickup model with "Tilt Neck" design.
Body shape a unique "bow tie" shape.
- Guitarlin longhorn model 4123.
- 1963-1969: 31 fret, longhorn guitar with extended fingerboard to simulate a mandolin
sound. White to bronze sunburst, 2 pickup, concentric pointer knobs.
- Slimline guitar models.
- 1967-1969: Slimline 2N, 2V, 3N, 3V, 2N12. All have Fender Jaquar body
style (longer bass horn). The "3" Slimlines have 3 pickups, the "V"
Slimlines have a vibrato, the 2N12 has 2 pickups and 12 strings. Full
- 1967-1969: Slimline type body, different colors and pickup
configurations, short scale student model guitar.
- Dane A, B, C, D, E series.
- 1967-1969: Slimline body style. As the letter goes from A to E, models
get slightly fancier. Full scale length.
- Danelectro Sitar.
- 1967-1969: not as fancy as the Coral version of the electric sitar.
One pickup, round body shape, bulb peghead, no drone strings. The lack
of drone strings make this a far less desirable electric sitar. Solidbody
Poplar body construction.
1968 Coral Longhorn.
- Vinnie Bell Coral Sitar.
- 1967-1969: about the coolest guitar Danelectro ever produced. Has 13
drone strings that move from the vibration of the usual 6 strings. Three
pickups, 2 for the 6 stings and 1 for the drone strings. Crinkle burgundy
finish, 3 point body shape. Has a "buzz" bridge which similate the
sitar sound. The resonation from the buzz bridge vibrates the top of
the body and the drone strings. Clear pickguards protecting the drone strings
and Vinnie's name on the lower 6 string clear pickguard. Body is made
entirely from Poplar, with a semi-hollow construction.
- Coral Hornet, Scorpion, Wasp models.
- 1967-1969: Much like the Danelectro Dane series. Hornet available
with either 2 or 3 pickups, with or without vibrato. A Vinnie Bell
signature design. The Scorpion is the
12 string version, the Wasp is the bass version.
1958 Silvertone model 1305.
- Coral Firefly.
- 1967-1969: Hollowbody (made in Japan) body, much like a Gibson ES-330.
- Coral Longhorn.
- 1967-1969: Hollowbody (made in Japan) body, thick body style, conventional
hollowbody design, "F" holes.
- Model 1375 (1 pickup) & Model 1377 (2 pickup).
- Fall 1954: both models have 2 volume and tone
knobs, $39.95 and $59.95 respectively.
The single cutaway bodies were made of solid Poplar wood, and are
known as the "peanut" body shape at 11.25" wide. Then used a solid
aluminum bar running from the peghead to the bridge for strength.
"Coke bottle" pegheads are
used that are 5/8" wider across the two "E" tuners than the later
"Coke bottle" peghead shape. This model was also available under the
Silvertone brand name with the "lightening bolt" peghead.
- Standard model 1357 (1 pickup) & 1359 (2 pickup).
- Fall 1955: these were the first models with the
"lipstick tube" pickups, 2 knobs (regardless of the number of
pickups), solid Poplar "peanut" (11.25" wide) body,
tan colored vinyl with ginger sides.
1963 Silvertone Amp in Case model 1448.
- Standard model 1358 (1 pickup) & 1360 (2 pickup).
- Fall 1955: these models were the same as the
above 1357 and 1359, but in painted enamel colors. This included
flame red with black sides, yellow with black sides, bronze with
mint green sides, coral red with white sides.
- Model 1317 (1 pickup), 1319 (2 pickup).
- Fall 1957: these models used the new Dano
masonite/Poplar (or pine) wood frame, 13.25" wide, single cutaway, body style.
Available in black enamel color.
- Model 1321 (1 pickup), 1323 (2 pickup).
- Fall 1957: these models were the same as the
above 1317 and 1319, but in a bronze enamel paint.
- Model 1300 (1 pickup, bronze), 1301 (2 pickup, bronze),
1302 (1 pickup, black), 1303 (2 pickup, black), 1305 (3 pickup, black).
- Fall 1958: single cutaway body and lipstick tube pickups.
- Model 1417 (1 pickup bronze), Model 1419 (1 pickup black).
- Fall 1959: many Silvertone models replaced by Kay and
Harmony models. New Dolphin style peghead.
- Model 1415 (1 pickup bronze), Model 1416 (1 pickup black).
- Fall 1961: the above models 1417 and 1419 were renumbered.
- Amp in Case model 1448 (1 pickup).
- Fall 1962: the famous red sunburst with white side
"amp in case" model introduced. The amp is an amazing 3 watts with a 6"
speaker. Easy to identify this model from just the case:
the 1 pickup amp in case model does not have chrome trim around the speaker
cut out in the outside of the case.
- Amp in Case model 1457 (2 pickup).
- Fall 1963: same as model 1448 but with 2 pickups.
Also the amp was 5 watts and had an 8" speaker.
Easy to identify this model from just the case: the 2 pickup
amp in case model has chrome trim around the speaker cut out
in the outside of the case.
- Amp in Case models.
- 1967-1969: All "amp in case" models now sport the Hornet body shape.
- 1967: New body shape much like a Fender Jaquar. Used on models 1442
(1 pickup) bass and 1444 (2 pickup) bass.
Again, thanks to P. Bechtoldt and D. Tulloch for their information.
Contact the vintage guitar info guy
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