Another Craigslist gem of a find.
i wasnt really looking for another Mod 6, as ive already gotten a black one over a year ago, and modded it to a baritone (rethinking it now to bring it back to stock…). I got that one for relatively cheap, with its original tweed gig bag. Score!
But this one was special. A rare bird. Most likely the rarest of rare.
Danelectro Mod 6s and Mod 7s comes in a H-S-S configuration. A humbucker in the bridge position, in the form of twin single-coil lipstick tube pickups. By themselves Mod 6 and 7 guitars are hard to come by, and if they get sold, it fetches for a bit of money.
I got this for less than its going rate, and in the not so-often-found purple/eggplant/violet color. But thats NOT what made it SUPER special.
Its only got 3 lipstick pickups, in S-S-S configuration. NO humbucking lipstick pickup in the bridge – JUST ONE PICKUP!
There wasnt an actual picture of it when it was posted on CL, just a stock photo in comparison, saying it WAS a Mod 6, only 3 pickups. I thought it maybe was a DC-3, maybe it was one of those 3 lipstick pickup Danos mistaken for a Mod 6. Maybe it wasnt even a Danelectro, maybe a custom-made non-dano one-off guitar. But over the phone and via email, the dude assured me it IS a mod 6. He had called Danelectro to verify, and the company admitted that in the early production run a very few of these configurations escaped the factory.
It was an hour away. Traffic added another half. But the drive was worth it. The dude was gracious, and brought out a Danelectro softcase, not the traditional danelectro tweed cloth. This one was a soft, plushy vinyl. It even had with it a kitschy mini-amp in the case pocket! He said it doesnt work, but at least its there. I wont be using it, it was the guitar i wanted. This was a plus to have the original softcase AND mini-amp. He unzipped the bag…
And there it was!
It is INDEED a Mod 6. In iridescent light eggplant glow. with just THREE single coils lipsticks!!!
I can just see my own eyes light up and grow bigger in its hazy purple pearloid finish. Plugged in to his Line 6 combo, it sparkles cleanly with that unmistakeable Danelectro trademark chime. In a distorted setting, the lipsticks rasps and growls like a little angry cub. Its definitely a Dano!
The only flaw was a small chip on the upper bout. No big deal – its a war wound! Didnt even notice it til he pointed it out. Though i want the best out of anything, Im not a perfectionist. i dont prefer being a prick to anyone. 😛 A guitar can look beat-up, but Its the TONE im always after… this one has it!
As soon as i got home i plugged it in and started fiddling around with it. I found the switching odd It has a 6-way rotary switch – ALL the positions have hum! I didnt notice it when i demo’d it at the previous owner’s house. Even the in-between pickup combinations have hum. I dont remember the black Mod 6 having this “issue”. Even my favorite setting of Neck + Bridge sound isnt hum-canceling. Who know, maybe its the way its supposed to be. If so, then well… it sucks!
time to correct it. 😉
I opened the back and decided to swap around some wires. Really its just reversing the polarity of one of the pickup pair of wires. I decided at first to do the neck, as i thought the hum canceling effect will benefit the neck and middle more.
i was wrong – it sounded WAY too thin and totally unusable. And the neck+bridge sounded thin too. Blech! Back to the back, and this time put everything back to stock first, and then swapped around the bridge pickup wires.
This time the sound was stronger in the neck+bridge combo and more usable! The first rewire sounded nasal-y, more pronounced mids – seems like they were parallel in phase initially. With the second rewire, this ultimately canceled the hum between the neck and bridge combination – theyre series in phase now. The only combination that wasnt hum-canceling was the neck and middle, and the all-on blow switch mode. I have to say, the neck + middle combo, though not humcanceling, sounds full and stronger. Its now wired out of phase IN SERIES. very usable, gives a rounder, mellower tone.
(nerd alert off!)
After a few test strums, i closed the back, took off the strings, and replaced them with my own set, but not before scrubbing and wiping off the years of grime and dirt left on the fretboard. Yep, this baby had songs played on it – its got a history and its own character! Tuning was easy, though i thought the tuners can use a little tightening.
Other than the little wiring mod to get some hum-canceling options, i have NO other wishes to do anything else on this Dano. Its perfect the way it is, and the funny thing is: this was the color i was originally looking for! To have it in a rare 3-single coil configuration makes it all the more sweet and precious (just like its tone!).
Its right up there behind the ’88 Gibson SG Special, The Epiphone Oxblood (Jeff Beck), The Epiphone Riviera P93, and the ’95 Fender P-Bass Special “Cowpoke”. Each of them a unique model sprung out of their regular production line. Each of them a keeper!