Dan­elec­tro ’66t & ’59Xt black

The retro spe­cial­ists hit Jimmy Page’s and Johnny Ra­mone’s favoured squeezes with a dou­ble whammy of old-school cool and mod­ern per­for­mance

Guitarist - - Contents - Words Ed Mitchell Pho­tog­ra­phy Olly Cur­tis

Back in Oc­to­ber 2017 we ran a re­view of the orig­i­nal Dan­elec­tro ’66. A hard­tail re­boot of the cult mid-60s Mos­rite Combo model, the semi-hol­low ’66 was a rad­i­cal move from a brand that is best known for pick­ing clean the bones of its own back cat­a­logue. Aside from the lip­stick-tube bridge pickup, alu­minium top nut, not to men­tion the logo on the head­stock, the ’66 is not your clas­sic Dano. It is, how­ever, very bloody good, so word of a new vari­ant was met with en­thu­si­asm ’round these parts.

At first glance, the new ’66T has the cool Johnny Ra­mone vibe of its pre­de­ces­sor, al­beit with a Wilkin­son vi­brato chis­elled into its top. Like the ’66, this new model fea­tures a semi-hol­low alder body with plenty of eye­candy in­clud­ing a f-hole, cream bind­ing and some beau­ti­ful Ger­man carv­ing around the edges. The bolt-on maple neck car­ries a

355mm (14in) ra­dius rose­wood fin­ger­board, 22 medium frets and vin­tage Klu­son-style tuners. The ’66T also comes with its older brother’s pick­ups and wiring loom. You get a lip­stick-tubed hum­bucker in the bridge po­si­tion and a fat-look­ing Mos­rite sin­gle coil at the neck. While both pups are wired through a mas­ter vol­ume, mas­ter tone and a three-way pickup tog­gle switch, the bridge ’bucker can also be split via a pull/push switch on the afore­men­tioned tone pot.

Okay, the ap­ple didn’t fall that far from the fam­ily tree when the ’66T was in devel­op­ment, but there are a cou­ple of im­por­tant changes that you might not pick up on right away. Take a closer look and you’ll see that the ’66T doesn’t pos­sess its pre­de­ces­sor’s zero fret or the clas­sic Dano alu­minium top nut. Both of these tweaks, the slip­pery graphite nut in par­tic­u­lar, are an ob­vi­ous at­tempt to re­duce string drag and al­low the Wilkin­son vi­brato to re­turn to pitch.

But the ’66 isn’t the only Dano to get a new sib­ling in 2018. The brand’s most iconic gui­tar, the DC59, is now avail­able with pretty much iden­ti­cal specs to the ’66T.

You’ll know the DC59 best as the dop­pel­ganger of the Badass-bridged ‘Coke­bot­tle head­stock’ gui­tar bran­dished by Jimmy Page with Led Zep­pelin. Our new ’59XT model casts the same shadow as Jimmy’s gui­tar, but here you get the same Wilkin­son whammy, slip­pery nut and elec­tron­ics fea­tured on the ’66T.

The ’59XT is ob­vi­ously way more ‘Dano’ than the ’66T. In its stan­dard DC59 form, it’s a per­fect lit­tle gui­tar. Back in the 50s, Dano founder Nathan Daniel turned cheap ma­te­ri­als into tonal gold when he jammed pickup gub­bins into lip­stick tubes and fash­ioned bod­ies out of the kind of stuff peo­ple were us­ing to re­model kitchens. Chaps such as Jimmy Page, proto-punk Link Wray, Eric Clap­ton and even Jimi Hen­drix availed them­selves of Mr Daniels’ wares and an af­ford­able icon was born. The ’59XT has the DNA of those orig­i­nal 50s gui­tars, yet it does carry more weight than we ex­pect from a dou­ble-cut Dano. On the scales, it’s closer to the heft of an alder-body Tele­caster. We gather the ex­tra poundage is the re­sult of sub­stan­tial cen­tre-block that of­fers the sup­port re­quired by the Wilkin­son WVS50 IIK vi­brato.

Sounds & Feel

The ’59XT shares the same slim C neck pro­file with the ’66T. Al­though it has one less fret to play with, the ’59XT makes up the num­bers with an ex­tra half inch in its scale length. It’s worth not­ing Dano cuts its gui­tars with a 355mm (14in) fin­ger­board ra­dius. That puts these things in su­per­strat ter­ri­tory with a pro­file that’s a lot flat­ter than a Strat or Les Paul. The up­side is you ben­e­fit from a su­per-low ac­tion. Both these gui­tars have the kind of string height only a par­tic­u­larly flex­i­ble aphid could limbo un­der, yet there’s no chok­ing or buzzing to put you off. The down­side to the flat­ter ra­dius is that it’s harder to dig in when

The ’59XT has the DNa of those orig­i­nal 50s gui­tars, yet it car­ries more weight than we’d ex­pect

you’re noodling above the twelfth fret. That might steer all you blues heads away from these gui­tars, but the tone on of­fer will re­ward your per­se­ver­ance.

Ton­ally, a Dano sits some­where be­tween a Tele­caster and a Rick­en­backer 330. Any way you slice that, you get bags of sparkle and pres­ence that re­sponds beau­ti­fully to com­pres­sion and light over­drive, par­tic­u­larly on the coil-split set­ting. As we dis­cov­ered on the old ’66, the knobs are fid­dly, so en­gag­ing the coil split on both new Danos takes the edge of a pick or a fin­ger­nail. It’s worth the ef­fort. You get a great Tele-like twang with the bonus of the springy vi­brato.

Run­ning the ’bucker on full power al­lows both gui­tars to find a clas­sic rock or even metal voice. Add in the warmth that the neck P-90 brings in and you’ve got a fan­tas­tic tonal pal­ette to work with.

Ver­dict

When we put the hard­tail ’66 through its paces it be­haved it­self im­pec­ca­bly, at least un­til it re­ceived a clip ’round the ear­hole when we spot­ted the price tag. A year on,

The ver­sa­til­ity, build qual­ity and tonal charms of the ’66 make it worth the money

we’ve made our peace with the RRPs. Face it, you’re go­ing to get a deal on a ’66T any­way and, be­sides, the ver­sa­til­ity, build qual­ity and tonal charms of this gui­tar make it worth the money. We’d still have liked a case though.

Of the two gui­tars, we ac­tu­ally pre­fer the more af­ford­able ’59XT. There’s some­thing about the looks of a dou­ble-cut elec­tric gui­tar that makes you want to hang it low and beat the hell out of the strings. The ’59XT has that ap­peal, yet it’s pack­ing enough equip­ment to cover any mu­si­cal genre you’re into this week.

If you still re­gard Dano gui­tars as retro, one-trick ponies, the ’59XT and ’66T’s dou­ble whammy of rock-star good looks and mod­ern per­for­mance will set you straight once and for all.

As the beau­ti­fully bound f-hole sug­gests, the ’66T is semi-solid. Like the ’59XT, this gui­tar fea­tures a Wilkin­son vi­brato with ul­tra-sta­ble tun­ing While we like the retro Mos­rite-style knobs, they make it hard to ac­ti­vate the coil split. You’ll need a de­cent size nail for the job

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Both gui­tars ap­ply an iconic smear of Dano lip­stick to your sig­nal chain via a split­table dou­ble-tube bridge ’bucker… 3

4 While the ’59XT comes with 21 medium frets, the ’66T goes one bet­ter. Both mod­els share a slim C pro­file neck and flat 355mm (14”) fin­ger­boards

The wide dou­ble cut­away de­sign per­mits very good up­per-fret ac­cess The an­gled P-90 style pickup in the 59XT’s neck po­si­tion adds sonic clout and ver­sa­til­ity to the gui­tar’s tonal equa­tion Dano has spec’d these new mod­els with graphite top nuts and vin­tage style nickel tuners. The ’59XT has the clas­sic ’Coke bot­tle’ head­stock 7

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8 While it’s not quite as ob­vi­ous as the ’66T’s car­cass, the ’59XT is also semi-solid with a cen­tre-block to pro­vide sup­port for the pick­ups and bridge

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