THE SOUND OF THE SWAMP: THE GLORIOUS DANELECTRO

(I’m not going to lie to you, my love for Southern Culture on the Skids has everything to do with my love for John Fogerty and CCR.  That swampy guitar sound turns rock on it’s head for me.  I’d rather listen to swampy blues-influenced rock and roll than any of that bullshit hard rock crap made today.  Much of that sound has to do with the gear the bands play.  Here’s some info we gathered from the interweb about those wonderful, and really fucking cheap, guitars magicians like Fogerty and Rick Miller have made work so well. – FATS)

danelectro_59modified_frontbodyDanelectro was founded by Nathan “Nat” Daniel in 1947. Throughout the late 1940s, the company produced amplifiers for Sears, Roebuck and Company and Montgomery Ward. In 1954, Danelectro started producing the Danelectro lines of solidbody electric guitars and amplifiers. The company was also contracted to make guitars and amplifiers that were branded not with the Danelectro name, but with the names of various store brands, such as Silvertone and Airline. Later Danelectro manufactured hollow-bodied guitars, which were constructed out of Masonite and plywood to save costs and increase production speed, and which were distinguished by Silvertone’s maroon vinyl covering, and Danelectro’s light tweed covering. The concentric stacked tone/volume knobs were used on the two-pickup models of both series, as well as the “lipstick-tube” pickups, which placed the entire pick-up mechanism into spare lipstick tubes. All the while Danelectro’s goal was to produce no-frills guitars of reasonably good tone at low cost. In 1956, Danelectro introduced the six-string Baritone guitar. The baritone guitar never proved especially popular but found an enduring niche in Nashville as the instrument of choice for “Tic-tac” bass lines. In 1966, Danelectro was sold to MCA. A year later, the Coral line, known for its hollow-bodies and electric sitars, was introduced. In 1969, the Danelectro plant was closed, due to MCA’s attempt to market Danelectros to small guitar shops rather than large department stores.

In the late 1990s, the Evets Corporation started selling primarily copies of old Silvertone and Danelectro guitars, as well as newly designed effects pedals and small amplifiers. After initially selling well, guitar sales slowed to the point where Danelectro stopped selling guitars after 2001, opting to concentrate on effects pedals. In 2006, the new owners of Evets decided on a new marketing model for the guitars, selling a limited number of guitars each year.

originalToday, Danelectro primarily produces effect pedals. There are eight main runs of pedals: original effects, FAB effects, mini effects, vintage effects, Wasabi effects, Paisley effects, Cool Cat effects and other miscellaneous effects. All run on 9V batteries or power adapters. The original effects featured metal enclosures and FET switching. Cool Cat models are the most recent pedals, designed with metal enclosures and true-bypass switching. Danelectro has begun rolling out Cool Cat V2 pedals, featuring extra ‘under the hood’ features. Mini effects pedals are smaller, compact pedals with effects resembling those of the original effects and the FAB effects. Vintage effects include the large, rectangular Spring King and Reel Echo effect pedals. The discontinued Paisley series featured paisley-patterned drive effects in original style enclosures. The Wasabi series features large, futuristic-looking metal enclosures. FAB effects are the cheapest of the bunch, and feature plastic enclosures somewhat larger than the Mini effects series.

p8888b-cc932d3d90cb8e706ef7e1a3ded30b8dIn 2006, a carrying case was developed to hold up to five mini effects in it. When the player is ready to play, the top may be removed and the bottom acts as a pedals board. It has since been discontinued. Not long after, another carrying case was developed to fit five FAB or Cool Cat pedals, as well as serve in the pedal board function as well.

Despite the many advantages of the mini effects, FAB effects are the ones primarily seen today. The Mini effects are often praised for their high quality tones, but the plastic construction makes them fragile.

 

VOODOO CADILLAC by SOUTHERN CULTURE ON THE SKIDS