In the early '50s, Nathan Daniel began experimenting with Danelectro electric guitar designs, and his intention was mainly to secure the contract to provide electrics for the Sears catalog. By saving costs and increasing production speed, the goal was to produce no-frills instruments with good tone at affordable prices. But perhaps unintentionally—with their masonite hollow-body construction and lipstick pickups—the Danelectro guitars bring something entirely new to the table. With their retro stylings, vintage Danelectros capture a tone and feel entirely their own.
This late-'50s Silverstone-branded 1303 is a great example of the 1958-spec Danelectro U-2. Its pots date to the 45th week of '58, so we believe this one didn't roll off the line until 1959 (even though it's got all the '58 specs). Classic Masonite hollow body, coke-bottle headstock, two lipstick pickups, and the look, sound, and feel only a Danelectro can provide.
This circa-1959 U-2 features the classic single-cutaway 1958 Danelectro body that is slightly largely than the original '56 design. It sports its original lipstick pickups, and all of the wiring/electronic components are original and 100% fully functional, too. Someone swapped the original steel nut for a bone nut, and the original tuners keep things in order nicely. The original bridge was cleverly converted to a six-saddle design, which allows you to adjust individual string height more easily and also set the intonation precisely. It makes this guitar easier to use with a band and in the studio Somewhere along the way, the neck was also refretted, so it plays clean and true all the way down the fingerboard.
Overall, this old U-2 is an endearing vintage relic with a lot to offer—both in terms of tone and also playability. There is nothing like the classic Danelectro sound, and this one supplies it in spades. The original Brazilian Rosewood fingerboard shows some cool grain, and the neck finish is worn to show some gorgeous maple grain. It also feels right in your hands—like worn-in jeans. This Silvertone-branded Danelectro U-2 is a true player's guitar that has plenty of miles left in the tank.