10/03/2017

1967 Danelectro-made Silvertone 1452 "Hornet" Electric Guitar





After repairing my friend Tom's Silvertone Hornet, I decided I really wanted one. The dollar-to-gear ratio did not match-up until recently and so I sprung for this one after doing some horse trading. It's pretty clean and came-in all-original save that someone had pressed a fretboard's worth of brand-new jumbo frets into it. Nice! They'd hadn't been seated 100% or leveled, but it was a nice extra upon unboxing it.

Today was really busy, but I had about an hour and a half left of "no-one's-time" and so I finished this off -- giving it a fret level/dress, adding a ground to the wiring harness, compensating the saddle, and setting it up for open D tuning. Just like the last Hornet, this one is rip-roaring fun in classic Danelectro style -- but the solidbody build and bizarro-world Jazzmaster offset body shape make it fit better for me than the usual U or U-doublecut shapes.


One thing I didn't know about this particular version of the model before is that the pickguard is actually just veneer on masonite. It's shielded on the back which makes this a very noise-free guitar, too. I have a severe temptation to sand down the white into the brown of the masonite and then polish it back up to a "satin coffee" look. Right, right...?


The "skate key" tuners and original aluminum nut are doing fine. This has a wide nut, too, at 1 3/4" width. The neck profile is a mild-medium C-shape, however, and the board is just lightly-radiused, so in the end it has a "retro-modern" feel.


The neck construction is a rosewood board over a poplar neck that's reinforced with two non-adjustable truss rods. That's what keeps Dano necks so straight over time despite having a "modern" depth.


I like the little rings around the lipstick pickups. This neck pickup sounds a little dark and I may have to check the wiring harness again to make sure I didn't miss a factory-installed tiny capacitor somewhere in there.


I removed the spring and bar-attachment gizmos to this bridge which would've originally made it "whammy-equipped." I then add a block in the "spring chamber" and bolt the thing down nice and pat so it's as secure as a Fender-style hardtail bridge. Final mods include cleaning-up the string path on the rosewood saddle and then compensating it for 3-plain and 3-wound stringing (see the notches on the front edge).


This has tone/volume for each pickup.




This number on the back of the headstock doesn't give a build date, but the Danelectro-style 4-digit number in the neck pocket pointed this to 1967.


The little hole below the bolt-on neck plate is for micro-tilt neck angle adjustments. It makes setup a breeze -- though purists will tell you that a wedge-shaped shim will make it resonate a lot better. I roll my eyes just slightly. I like practicality.


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