Review: Danelectro ’59 Resonator Guitar
Danelectro offers many stellar reproductions of their iconic guitars, most notably, The ‘64, ’66 and 1959 guitars, which many hip musicians and garage rockers have adopted as their primary go-to guitars.
But if you ask me, a few of my favorite Danelectros are the specialty ones like their 12 String guitar and Baby Sitar that I’ve often used in serviceable roles for live performances and in the studio. These two instruments come complete with modern updates, captivating tones and solid intonation that make performing with them an upbeat experience.
Lately I’ve been playing a lot of slide guitar, which has put me on the hunt for an affordable resonator-style six-string with electronics. I didn’t have to look far because Danelectro released their brand-new ’59 Resonator, a bright-sounding resonator with powerful pickups that will certainly appeal to those of us who love the steel guitar tones found in Mississippi Delta blues music and bluegrass.
The ’59 Resonator looks similar to the Danelectro 1959 model with a double-cut shorthorn shaped hollow body that gives the guitar its total retro charm. The ’59 features a spun cone biscuit resonator, a perforated diamond plate cover, 25-inch scale length, 21 frets, clear satin maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, polished aluminum nut and vintage-style tuners.
The heart of the ’59 is its electronics that combine a Danelectro ’56 lipstick pickup in the neck position and a “special design” Schatten piezo pickup mounted inside the resonator cone. The guitar has three oversized knobs for volume and tone, and a blend control for either the lipstick or piezo. The blend knob has a center detent for a 50/50 mix of the two.
What’s immediately noticeable is the ’59 Resonator’s spot-on setup and easy playability. The action is set at a comfortable height to seamlessly switch between playing slide and fingerpicking, and the polished fretwork is some of the best I’ve seen for a budget-priced resonator. The slim neck profile combined with its bouncy string tension makes playing the ’59 a cakewalk.
Acoustically, the guitar is bright and raw sounding, but plugged in to an amp, the ’59 comes alive with raspy sparkle, especially when setting the blend control dead center for what I consider its ideal sweet spot. The higher output resonator pickup can easily mimic some electric banjo tones but needs the balance of its ballsy lipstick pickup that adds warmth and body in order to achieve its steel-cut resonator sound.
STREET PRICE: $599
MANUFACTURER: Danelectro, danelectro.com
• A “special design” Schatten piezo pickup mounted inside the cone offers bright resonator growl with incredible output.
• Its ’56 Danelectro lipstick pickup adds body to the ’59 Resonator’s metallic ring.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Danelectro ’59 Resonator is solidly built with a clean setup and punchy pickups for bluesy resonator tones that slice through.