Danocaster Powerhouse Project

Discussion in 'Tech-Talk' started by jpmist, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    Clearly I have too much time on my hands so this seems like fun. I stumbled across a Danelectro on eBay for cheap and thought it might be cool to gut the electronics and replace the neck. It's a cool looking variant of a Strat.
    [​IMG]

    It has a similar shape, the same cutouts. The finish is nowhere near as thick as a Fender body and it probably weights a bit more. Many of Danelecto guitars are made out of chipboard, but this is actual solid wood, as far as I can tell, or maybe plywood.

    The interesting feature of this guitar is that it has effects inside, distortion, chorus and tremelo which is what all the buttons are for. I have no idea what the effects sounds like cause the battery was dead and I wasn't curious, but I did hate the ceramic pickups, I plan to replace everything but keep the pickguard.

    [​IMG]
    Looking inside there's plenty of room for a circuit board and the back has a 9v battery space routed out.
    [​IMG]
    So the plan is to cannabalize the electronics and picups from a PowerHouse Strat and install it on the same pickguard. Interestingly the knobs on the Dan will be accurate because the 2nd tone knob on the PH is an overdrive boost as opposed to a tone control. The buttons I'll leave alone, but they do look kinda cool.

    Also interesting is that the guitar has two output jacks. One with effects and one without. The mind boggles at what someone could do with a stacked humbucker, the 4th control knob, and all those buttons, but I'm no genuis at designing pickup setups so I'll be content to just copy the PowerHouse Strat.

    First problem is the bridge. I was so hoping for a drop in solution to put a wider spaced bridge, but the screws are way far off. I might be stuck with the bridge. Might could replace the saddles.

    The other dilemma is going to be installing a Telecaster neck. I'm picking a tele neck because I think the headstock shape will suit the body better, plus it has squared off corners at the base of the neck as does the Dan. But the screw holes don't even come close to matching up. The Dan holes are spaced wider and longer. The choice here is gonna be drilling new holes in the body vs ruining a good Tele neck.

    [​IMG]

    That's the plan so far. Am sure many of you are rolling your eyes, but I think I'll end up with a cool great sounding and playing DanoCaster. (or Stratelectro, can't decide;) )

    Any thoughts? Anyone try this? Any tips on drilling the neck screw holes in the body will be much appreciated. Thx.
     
  2. james thorpe

    james thorpe Strat-Talker

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    I think you will need to stick wooden dowels with glue in the neck bolt holes, and when dry redrill with the appropriate drill bit. I think one thing is very interesting-the string spacing on the dano looks like it is narrower than what your tele has-so your first and sixth strings won't be too close to the edges of the tele neck's fretboard. No strings flipping off the edges of the neck! But, if the pickups' polepieces are set for narrower string spacing, you may not be able to use fender pickups-your bridge spacing is narrower on the Dano. You could use rail-type pickups!
     
  3. james thorpe

    james thorpe Strat-Talker

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    Or is your Dano's neck the same width as a fender neck? If the tele neck is wider, you are going to need to take the project to someone who can widen the Dano's neck pocket for you. But whatever pops up, I'm sure you could conquer this. I've often done harebrained things like that even with the wrong tools and had a fun time.
     
  4. LeftyBlake

    LeftyBlake Most Honored Senior Member

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    I totally thought this thread was going to be about a Danocaster.

    DANOCASTER VINTAGE REPLICAS

    Cool project though. But one question... Why put all of this effort and money into a guitar with a cheap body?
     
  5. james thorpe

    james thorpe Strat-Talker

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    And don't forget to measure the Dano's scale length to make sure you can use the tele neck. Happy easter!
     
  6. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    Yeah, I was thinking dowels was going to be the only solution. Have never done it, so hardware dowels and white glue? What is going to be difficult is marking the holes in the body so that the neck fits the pocket exactly. . .

    That's a good point about the neck being narrower that the pole pieces, but then on my 50's Classic strats the E strings are way outside the pole pieces so there must be a fairly wide tolerance, I'm guessing. . . I've eyeballed the pickups and the Dan's seem to be the same width as my Fender's
     
  7. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    I have another Strat neck lying loose and it fits the neck pocket perfectly. One thing positive I have to say about the Dano's is that their necks are in very snug.

    Where I may have to tapdance a bit is fitting the Powerhouse circuit board below the pots. I'll have to double check that before I get started.
     
  8. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    Wow, good catch with the link, wish I could see more of those guitars. One of them looked like the body I have.

    Why? Does anyone really need a good reason?;)

    I guess partly because the guitar will be unique. Another reason is that I have a Red PH Strat I love the sound of but I hate the color. It verges on burgandy instead of fire-engine. I just want to see if I can pull it off.

    The body is wood, not Dano's chipboard, and it has some weight to it, so it's not going to fall apart or break apart at the neck. Also, I think that given all you can do with amp modeling, the type of wood used for the body is a lot smaller factor for a guitar's final tone than most people would argue.
     
  9. RonGH

    RonGH Strat-Talk Member

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    Marking the neck pocket so that the neck screw holes are exact should really be no problem. There have been other threads about this before, but I'll recap. Find a nail size that snugly fits the screw holes in the neck. Cut the tip of the nails long enough so that just the tip protrudes from the neck when inserted. Then, carefully place the neck into the pocket, and when you are sure of its position, press down firmly, which will mark the screw placement precisely. Drill the holes (preferrably with a drill press) from the top side, and you're done.

    Good Luck!

    Ron
     
  10. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    Ah, perfect! That oughta work, thanks!
     
  11. parkwood

    parkwood Strat-Talk Member

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    Oh, God, are you serious? I know you did not ask me, but just let me mention (after 10 years working as a studio guitar player/arranger) that NO amp-modeling plugin or pedal can do it. Seriously! IMHO crappy wood body guitar (agathis, lacewood etc.) is great for the style like heavy metal. Where the guitar is just a controller you using for your distortion pedal to make certain note of a certain lenght. The less wood affects the pups, the better! A peice of a plywood with a maple/rosewood neck (which I believe your Danelectro is) sure left it's mark in a history, I just would not expect some plugin will make it sound as a ash, alder or mahogany guitar. Cheers)))
     
  12. jpmist

    jpmist Strat-O-Master Gold Supporting Member

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    I'll happily defer to your expertise, but I'm just a living room hacker playing thru headphone cause I live in a condo. I've tried Am bodies, MIM bodies, Squire bodies, Std Strat, PHouse, TexMex, TexSpecial and various MIM delux pickups and I honestly can't track the difference in tone to any particular body. Quite possible my ears haven't learned the difference. I have Line6's Pod amp modeling stuff and that plus Garageband and the degree that tone can be tweaked via software is mindblowing to me and I'm using amateur stuff.

    As far as the project, it's history. I'll likely replace the Dano's pickups to help it sell, but unless I pick up a cheap eBay neck it'll go with the original neck. Fickle I am <grin>
     
  13. Carlsoti

    Carlsoti Senior Stratmaster

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    In regards to the "no modeler can model woods" comment, I can only say this:

    Line6 Variax 700 solidbody
     
  14. parkwood

    parkwood Strat-Talk Member

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    Hey
    If it's ok with you, I'm happy for you. Who am I to judge? It's just not me to believe that some DSP algorithm can magically turn alder to mahogany or singles to humbuckers. When you turn your knob, your ears notice the difference. Wow! But really - is it the same when playing a tele after a LP? EQ, compressor and a reverb - that's what basically they put inside to create different "guitars". The algorithms are more or less sophisticated, but it's still the same process. I guess the wish to have multi-purpose guitar is an age-related issue. The older you're getting, the more guitars you have. You're learning to use and appreciate each in its own way. And that's really great!

    On Line6 solidbody I have really nothing to answer. Never touched it. We have their bass in a studio, though. Never really use it. Other two basses - mahogany body and ash - give us much more, in fact. Cheers!)