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Double Trouble

But twice as nice.

I acquired this last year from a chap in kent and took the train down there. It was a bit like one of those spy exchanges on the bridge meeting in the tunnel under the rails . "i'll put the guitar case down and walk away" he said as the zither got louder and I handed over the cash.

Got it home on the train rather than via Checkpoint Charlie. I had never actually played a double neck before but always wanted one for some reason, and had a few tunes I was dying to try out on the 12 String. As an upside down lefty you never really get the chance to try these things out, and it turned out to have all the same problems as playing a right handed Telecaster - All of the bits were very nice but everything was in the wrong place - upside down, a low slung 12 string is impossible to play.

So I set about converting this Righty into a Lefty. Easy I thought - the necks just bolt on, I'll just swap them round, will only take a couple of hours. A while later having got this while thing in pieces, I began to realise what I was taking on. Of course the neck pockets were different sizes, the bridge geometry was actually different and of course the controls were in just the wrong place in that tucked up playing position. I had also decided that, since I already had a Dano six string, which I'll mention in a the next post, I wanted a different sound out of that half of the guitar to play the tunes that I wanted to play on it and I had that big box of humbuckers in the shed....

So out with the router and some very careful work around what was now going to be the lower neck pocket opened it up so that the 12 string neck fitted, and some very careful shimming in the over sized pocket made the other neck a snug fit. To get around the bridge geometry, i re-sited the existing 12 string bridge and drilled new string thrus for it and then ordered up a new (larger) bridge plate from CJ Tooling the US that would take nice brass telecaster saddles.

Now the Dano has a hollow body and the pots and switches mount directly through the masonite material of the body and there is a cover plate on the back. So the logical thing to do was to just move them over. I sent the original plate up to Jack in Manchester to make a matched pair which he duly did out of black anodised Aluminium, and then I cut the same matched hole on the back to accommodate the new control position. Mount the pots move the wires, or so I thought.

Now the Danelectro has a curious wiring scheme, using curious dual concentric pots, and even curiouser switches. Now of course changing out the six to humbuckers changed the dynamic of the whole scheme and I have had a very confusing few months sorting it out - still experimenting with it now to get the pots right, since I am trying to get a left handed law on the pots - i did think of custom building them (ie butchering old stuff) but discretion got the better of me, but that part is still a work in progress.

What to do with the old control holes was a challenge, and the solution I came up with was to polish up some ally coach bolts and drop them in the holes, It sort of looks like a mirrrored pattern and it sort of works - am toying with the idea of extending the pattern - be unusual but the whole guitar is unusual

Then onto stinging it up - everything on this guitar takes forever 18 strings, 9 of which you can't fit a string winder on, as it wont fit between the two heads - so then I got to thinking that it might just be possible to engineer up something to do the job out of an old egg whisk, hmmmmm


Copyright 2018_Steve Flood

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