1966 Danelectro-made Silvertone 1452 "Hornet" Electric Guitar

Danelectro-made instruments are still among my favorite electrics, even though I have plenty of access to painfully-good equipment all the time. This model, the 1452, is the slightly-restyled version of the 1450. It was introduced in '66 and the serial number in the neck pocket places this at first year of production. That's backed-up by the odd arrangement screws for the 3-bolt neck and lack of a neckplate.

These Silvertones are basically like a less-fancy version of Danelectro's own home-grown solidbody Hornet which itself was a take-off on a Fender Jazzmaster or Jaguar, with its long, offset-waist body and surfy looks. It even has a very basic, functional, bridge-mounted, proprietary whammy unit.

Sonically and feel-wise, though, these are clearly Danelectro products. They have their own sound. Those pickups somehow manage to be transparent yet at the same time full of vibe. They're clean and dirty, growly and bright, sparkly and chunky all in one go -- they'll map to just about any style of music as long as it's vaguely Americana. Metal -- definitely not! But, in a pinch, you can even score some decent jazzy sounds out of these if you hang on the neck pickup.

Work included: a fret level/dress, new studs and ground-wire to the bridge, compensation of the rosewood bridge saddle for standard 3-plain and 3-wound, general cleaning, and a good setup. The neck is straight, the frets have good height, and it plays spot-on with 1/16" overall action at the 12th fret. It's strung with standard 46w-10 lights.

Scale length: 24 7/8"
Nut width: 1 3/4"
String spacing at nut: 1 7/16"
String spacing at saddle: 2 1/16"
Body length: 19"
Lower bout width: 13"
Upper bout width: 11"
Side depth at endpin: 1 1/4"
Body wood: poplar(?)
Neck wood: poplar w/two non-adjustable steel beams
Fretboard: rosewood
Neck shape: 14" radius board with medium, C-shaped rear
Bridge: original, rosewood saddle
Nut: original aluminum

Condition notes: there's plenty of small nicks, a few small dings, and arm-wear on the lower bout as well as waist-wear to the sides. The pickguard shows discoloration and chip-out of its first layer around the screws and hardware. That's really typical for these pickguards. Hardware has average pitting/wear to it. The guitar is completely original save the added ground wire to the bridge and one tiny screw I added to the pickguard just north of the neck pickup. It's also missing the back coverplate for the whammy spring. Danelectro pickups are not "hot" but they do have around the same output, audio-wise, as your average vintage-style Strat pickups. The pickguard's wiring harness and shielding is all original and in good order. The selector switch is slightly noisy but I sprayed it out and it's getting better with each use.

It comes with: an oversized but functional gigbag.

Note that the saddle has "lightning-bolt" compensation to its leading edge so it actually plays in tune.

Here's a pic of what's under the bridge. Note my new ground wire to one of the adjustment studs for the bridge. Also note the two small dome-top screws on either side of the hole for the whammy's spring-mount bolt. These let the bridge come to rest in its "down" position on a stable foot. The original Danelectro design has the bridge of the base just come to rest on the top when the whammy's not in use but it always wobbles and is unstable that way, as it's pushing-around the ball-ends of the strings to do so.

This is a lot more accurate and -- oh, gods! -- it actually stays in tune pretty well. I wouldn't try dive-bombing all day on it, but for vintage warble -- no sweat!


old man taylor said…
That's great.I have the same guitar but I need the entire bridge and vibrato assembly.You don't have something like that in a box somewhere do you?
Jake Wildwood said…
Nope, sorry. I'd go simple -- if you don't need the whammy, use a shortened Tele or Strat hardtail bridge with topmount. My ultimate vision for one of these guits would be a Bigsby B5 behind one of the repro Dano bridges.
The Pittmans said…
I have one of these and I'm absolutely using that idea of the the two dome screws under the bridge that allow the bridge to stop better. What a great idea! Love this blog, keep it up.