Danelectro U2

Danelectro U2
A 1956 Danelectro U2

The Danelectro U2 is a dual-pickup hollow bodied guitar made of Masonite and shaped similar to a Les Paul model guitar.

It was originally made from the years 1956 to 1958 but was re-issued in the late 90s, in 2006 in a slightly modified form as the '56 Pro, and again in 2010 as the '56 Single Cutaway.

The sound of a U2 is distinctive of the Danelectro guitar, coming from its lipstick pickups which when both selected are wired in series rather than the more standard parallel used today by most big brands.

Construction materials used by Danelectro in this period are quite unusual for guitar making. The U2's body is made of a poplar wood frame with Masonite used for both the top and back, with the side of the body being bound with creme coloured vinyl.[1]

A single-pickup version, the U1, was manufactured and sold alongside the U2. The U1 and U2 were reissued from 1998 to 2001, along with a new version, the U3 with three pickups and a six-position switch which would allow the player to select bridge, middle, neck, bridge and neck, bridge and middle, middle and neck, or with the "blow" switch, all three pickups at once.[2]

The 56 Pro was a Limited Edition re-issue of the U2. Although a re-issue, the Danelectro 56 Pro has some distinctive changes from the original models, these changes include:

  • The headstock shape, It has a slight cut out on the 56 Pro.
  • No vinyl which bound the sides of the guitar on the originals.
  • Master Tone & Volume, rather than the Danelectro trademark concentric "Stacked" pots.
  • An upgraded bridge with adjustments for intonation.
  • Higher output lipstick pickups than the originals and the first reissues.
  • Metal strap buttons to replace the plastic ones of previous models (also, top button is now on the upper bout of the body rather than its original position on the treble side of the neck)
  • Black necks rather than the matched neck and body colour of the originals and first reissues.
  • Reshaped pickguard (longer and wider than the original design). Also lacks the silk-screened outline and 'D' logo
  • Modern "Schaller" style tuners

Vintage Guitar Magazine reviewed the 56 Pro in their June 2005 issue, saying "In all, the 56 Pro is a very cool retro axe with a quality fit and finish, easy playability and that unmistakable Danelectro tone and vibe." [3]

The 2010 reissue comes in four versions: two lipstick pickups with a either a bottle-shaped, bell-shaped, or dolphin-shaped headstock, and a three lipstick pickup version with two of the pickups side-by-side to create a humbucker, paired with a dolphin-shaped headstock. It is also available as a bass with the dolphin headstock.


External links

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