Crawls Backward (When Alarmed)

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Modded Daddy-O-Yellow Danelectro DC-2 Completed

Got the Daddy-O-Yellow Danelectro DC-2 up and running - aka off the workbench - this weekend.

I'm not going to document it, but I did the usual fret level and crown. Then put it together with the neck shim and the tune-o-matic bridge support on it.

It played ok, but with the shim at its original thickness, and with the thumbscrew on the support in place, there was too much space between the strings and the pickups, and I couldn't adjust the pickups high enough.

I tried it with the shim out and the support out, but the neck angle was not good - it was tilting downward and the action above the 7th fret or so was awful.

Long story short, with a bit of trial and error, I got it playing well.

I sanded the shim down until it was about .040 of a inch on the wide end. It's rather thin and fragile at this point, but it works great. The shim started life at about .090 thickness, so I took a lot of material off.

With the revised shim in place, I didn't need all of the height that the tune-o-matic insert provided, so I took it out and just used the bushing to support the bridge and raise it up just a bit. You can see this in the picture on the left.

Now it plays very well, and I can adjust the pickups properly. The action on the low E is right around 4/64ths at the 12th fret, and it's a touch above 3/64ths on the high E.

I find that I can't have my action much lower than that, since I can't get my finger 'under' the strings for controlled bends.

You need to make sure the height of the saddles is set to follow the radius of the fretboard. On this guitar, the radius is 16 inches.

I set all of the saddles high to start. Then I set the two outside E strings to their approximate string heights at the 12th fret. I set the low E to about 5/64ths and the high E to 4/64ths. They may go lower, but this is a starting point.

Then with the radius gauge touching the two outside strings, lower the other 4 saddles until those strings just touch the top of the gauge. That way you'll get a 'curve' which matches the radius.

You can fine tune string heights from there.

And I generally adjust necks to have as little relief as possible.

None of this is brain science. It's easy to do. If your guitar is set up properly and to your liking you will be free to concentrate on playing rather than fighting a hard-to-play instrument. Most guitars coming out of the box are not set up well at all. They are cranked out by a factory and given the most cursory set up.  Even most sold by stores are not set up well, since it takes time. There is an expectation that since the instrument is adjustable, the player will set it up to their liking.

I play a lot of instruments that are in use by players which have awful setups. I don't know why people put up with this - my best guess is they don't know any better. Especially in the case of beginners, who often struggle with a poorly set up guitar, which discourages them from practicing. I see this especially on acoustic guitars, (which can be a bit more work to set up) which generally have heavier strings which compound the hard-to-play equation. These days, even cheap guitars for the most part can be made to play well - as an example, this is an inexpensive guitar but it plays nicely now.

Here's an analogy. When you go to buy a car (or a bicycle) and you get in it, do you leave the seat and mirrors as they were adjusted from the factory? Of course not! You adjust it to your liking. It might be difficult and uncomfortable to drive otherwise. Same with a guitar! It's meant to be adjusted as needed.

Ok, off the soapbox.

This Danelectro bridge is finicky to adjust. The design is problematic. In order to adjust the intonation, you have to slacken the string length screw which sits under each string! Which means the string has to be detuned in order to lift it up to get at the screw.

The screw also has to be loosened a turn or so to raise the saddles. If it's tight, the saddles not only can't move forward or back, but they will be limited in how far they can be raised.

What I did was loosen each screw a bit first, tuned it up to pitch, and then set the intonation. Then I slackened the string I was working with just enough to pull it up and tighten the screw in place.

The saddles tend to tilt and wobble when they're loose, so you might lose your exact intonation point. After having that happen, I made a reference mark with a felt-tip pen. That helped me get the saddle in the desired spot.

The bridge is also really cheaply made. The guitar plays in tune perfectly now which was the reason I converted to the six-saddle bridge, but the quality is a step above abysmal. It's a far cry from the beautifully made CJ Tooling bridge I put on the Cancer Killer. But it is functional at least.

Here's the finished guitar on the bench.

I like the yellow - you don't see a lot of them.

The third knob to the right of the bridge pickup tone and volume stack is the push-pull switch and gain control for the Strato Danoblaster. And the series/parallel pickup switch is just beyond that.

I like have both series and parallel options. Both are useful. Lots of tonal variety on this guitar now.

As for the Blaster...holy smokes it has a lot of clean gain! I'm finding I use it about halfway up most of the time. It's nice to have the boost onboard.

 
 
 
 

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