Take a look inside Fatdog's mind
as he walks you through a custom redesign
of classic Danelectro instruments....

Custom Danelectro Project in progress
using old Danelectro stuff

I'm building some custom guitars I thought I'd show you. These illustrate a
typical Subway process. There's alot of old, screwed up Danelectro convertibles
from the 50s and 60s -- caved in, bad custom work, whatever. In this scenario
we're taking two of these instruments and making a fancy Jimmy Page-style guitar.

First, we're replacing the masonite top with a thicker, bird'seye maple top.
Note the block glued into the body. That will be under the bridge. We're
making one right-handed and one left-handed.

These instruments will have two tube pickups with the Subway custom wiring --
which is a volume and tone with push-pull pots, one for series parallel mode and
one for in-phase or out-of-phase. These are the KILLER sounds that you get out
of classic Danelectros.

Now for the necks

Years ago, we bought thousands of unfinished parts that were the remains of
Danelectro's Neptune (New Jersey) facility. This was the stuff from the 50s
and 60s with Brazilian rosewood, slab fretboards and dual trussrods. The necks
are a bigger profile. From these blanks we've constructed hundreds of custom
instruments and have shaped them to the customer's hand.

You'll see four pieces. One had the peghead grafted on at Danelectro, probably
in the 50s. Then you'll see one with no peghead (peghead stub), which is the
way some of them came. We can put any shape we want on them and have made
even Vox-style and other peghead profile necks out of them.

Another one you'll see shows my coke-bottle peghead with a Brazilian rosewood veneer. In the 60s Danelectro used alot of Brazilian rosewood pegheads, and since I love the look of the wood, I do this just for my own traditional interest.

The last one shows the walnut veneer over the back of the peghead, for extra strength. What's interesting is you see the stripe down the center of the neck where the quarter-round router bit did the first shaping pass in the Danelectro factory. The rest we do by hand -- rasping and sanding.

On top of a thick rosewood fretboard, Danelectro used a really good jumbo fret wire, which we crown and polish.

The guitars are completed with upgraded appointments, such as a non-trem strat bridge and high-quality tuning gears, which allows the instrument to play in tune and STAY in tune. The sound block under the bridge cuts back on any feedback and gives it a great 335-style tone -- good for blues and funk.

Another interesting point is: working with these instruments for 34 years, every now and then people trade a piece in that I worked on, or Mike Stevens, or Lary Jamison worked on in the 60s. We just love the customizing of these guitars.

On the Danelectro Subway stop you'll see other Danelectro custom creations from the past years.

Subway Guitars
1800 Cedar Street
Berkeley, California 94703

Telephone: (510) 841-4106
noon til six, Monday thru Saturday
Pacific Time