1963 Danelectro 3011 Shorthorn
THE GUITARCHIVE – A collector’s grade all original 1963 Danelectro 3011 that plays this great is a rare find indeed. Despite its age, this guitar is in near-perfect condition with all-original parts and hardware. It has a couple of small nicks at the end of the headstock, but other than that it may as well have sat in its case for 6 decades. We had this guitar in our Rock Hill, SC showroom, but it sold because of course it did.
It’s truly unusual and amazing to find a vintage Danelectro in such good shape! It plays great, with no dead frets or anything. It wouldn’t be hard to believe if we were told it hadn’t been played at all since it was originally purchased. Plus, it has that unmistakable Dano tone. This is one of the most beloved guitars in rock because nothing else sounds like a Danelectro. They are made with a chambered/hollow body, which makes for a wonderfully unique tone. They’re also just plain cool-looking with the lipstick pickups. If you’re looking for one (as a player or collector) this is just about the best you can get.
Danelectro was founded in New Jersey in 1947. They’re known for their iconic guitars with “lipstick-tube” pickups and chambered/hollow bodies. Both of these features lead to a truly unique sound that Danelectro has been utilizing since the ’50s. The company was founded by Nathan “Nat” Daniel (hence “Danelectro”) in 1947. For the first few years they manufactured amplifiers for Sears, Montgomery Ward, and other department stores under the Silvertone and Airline brands.
Later on, Danelectro added hollow-body guitars to their line-up. They constructed them out of Masonite and poplar so they could save money and increase production speed. The resulting guitars had no frills and a one-of-a-kind tone. These guitars were branded as either Danelectro or Silvertone (if they were going to be sold at Sears). Another feature that stood out were Danelectro’s signature “lipstick-tube” pickups, which contained the pickup components inside metal tubes.
In 1956, Danelectro introduced the first ever 6-string bass guitar. While it was never the most popular, it found a lasting cult following in Nashville for “tic-tac” bass lines. In 1966, Danelectro was sold to the “Music Corporation of America” (MCA). Just 3 years later, in 1969, Danelectro went out of business due to MCA’s attempt to market them to small guitar shops rather than the large department stores where they had gained their fame. In the late ’90s, the Danelectro brand name was purchased by The Evets Corporation, which continues to make faithful recreations of classic Danelectro guitars in limited numbers each year as well as a line of fantastic effects pedals and amps.
About the Danelectro Shorthorn
The Shorthorn model was introduced in 1959, meaning this guitar was created in the first year of Shorthorn production. It is distinguished by its dual cutaway body and hollow-body construction. It also has the classic “Coke Bottle Style” headstock. Many different variations of the Shorthorn were made, including 1, 2, and 3-pickup models. The Danelectro Convertible was created in the ’60s based on the design of the Shorthorn. The Convertible, however, was a hollow-body acoustic/electric that had a sound hole with a lipstick pickup mounted across it.
The Shorthorn was manufactured from 1959 to 1969 (the year Danelectro closed their doors), but it was brought back in the late ’90s. Some faithful recreations are manufactured in Korea currently and are a great option for people who can’t find (or afford) a vintage model.
The Danelectro Shorthorn owes much of its popularity to the musicians who played it. Most notably, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin recorded 4 of their albums with this guitar as well as playing it live. Other notable players include Syd Barrett of Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton when he was with Blind Faith, Peter Cetera, Christopher Wolstenholme of Muse, and many more. In 1960, Jimi Hendrix’s father bought him a Silvertone Danelectro which Jimi named “Betty Jean” after his high school girlfriend.
Danelectro guitars are timeless, and the Shorthorn is one of the most iconic. This 1959 Danelectro Shorthorn DC-1 is the guitar that comes to mind for most people when the name “Danelectro” is mentioned, so we’re happy to have it in our studio, if only for a little while.