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DANELECTRO LONGHORN PLAYERS: I Need Your Modification Ideas

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by electracoyote, Apr 22, 2010.


  1. I just acquired a Danelectro Longhorn bass, I believe it is from the first reissue series in the 90s, purple burst. I love the sound and looks, but I can see several areas that I would like to improve upon.

    If you have any experience modifying or upgrading your Longhorn, please share those.

    My concerns:

    1. Rosewood Saddle/Bridge: I have heard the rosewood saddle contributes to the woody tone of the bass, and I'm not sure I want to change that. My current bridge is sagging in the middle. Should I consider the all-metal seperate intonable saddle version? Other options?

    2. Tuners: It looks like the Gotoh TK-0794 is a direct replacement. Any other good choices?

    3. Strap Buttons: The plastic buttons are not going to cut it, if I end up gigging this bass as hoped I will need strap locks, but it looks like there will be a large hole left behind once the stock buttons are removed. Is this a fill and re-drill situation? What works best? Also, I'm not happy with the placement of the button behind the neck, the strap rubs and gets caught on the upper horn. Other options for placement of that button?

    4. Neck Plate Absent: No neck plate? Has anyone ever fashioned a steel neck plate for this guitar? Does it improve neck-to-body contact, sustain, or stability?

    5. Pickups: Though I love the tone, the stock pickups are a tad weak in the output. Short of running through a preamp (which I could do), is there a good strong replacement for the lipstick pickups?

    All constructive comments are very much appreciated.
     
  2. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Those are fun basses. I don't know much about #1-4, but I do believe that Kent Armstrong has produced quality lipstick pickups.

    If the bass intonates fairly well, I would have the rosewood replaced, possibly with something harder, rather than replace the whole bridge. I know that Jerry Jones started using adjustable bridges for those Longhorns; maybe there are parts available....but not sure.

    Good luck.
     
  3. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Let me start with a pic of my "herd".
    longhorns013-1.

    1. One of mine that I purchased used, came with the sagging bridge plate, I replaced it with a new one. The sagging is caused by incorrect adjustment of the bridge, it should not be at to extreme an angle to the bass' top. These basses are so twangy already, adding an all-metal bridge will increase that somewhat but is not a bad idea, even tho' I've never had a problem intonating the wooden bridge.
    2. Can't help ya, never thought of replacing the tuners.
    3. Only one of mine has the cheesy plastic ones, have never had a problem with them. Never thought of straplocks so I guess I'm no help on this one either.
    4. Never been a problem not having a neck plate.
    5. There are a few lipstick replacements but I've never needed them so I don't have an opinion.

    Sorry, thought I would be of more help/informative.
     
    GotRoot? likes this.
  4. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    smperry, he's referring to the chrome bridge plate sagging, not the rosewood bridge itself.
     
  5. smperry

    smperry Administrator Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Ah, gotcha. Glad you found this thread so quickly...you're the guy.
     
  6. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    What happens is people screw the rear bridge screw down too far, then adjust the action with the front screws causing the bridge plate to be at an extreme angle to the bass' top. This causes there to be a lot of downforce on the bridge plate which is only supported at each end(not in the middle) and has a slot in the middle causing a weak point. This causes the metal plate to bend/sag in the middle. But, if the bridge is adjusted correctly, only slightly lower at the rear, this won't happen.
     
  7. Thanks for the input guys. I'll look into the Kent Armstrong. The guys over at GuitarFetish.com also offer a lipstick tube pickup, which I had installed in a baritone, and I was a little underwhelmed by those as well. It must be the nature of the beast.

    Bassman, nice collection there! Jerry Jones Longhorn bass and baritone!
     
  8. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Thanks! But it's a 6-string bass not a baritone.
     
  9. hdracer

    hdracer

    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    The Gotoh TK-0794 tuners are not a direct replacement. You will have to open the holes up to get them in.
     
  10. Ah ha, thanks for the heads-up.
     
  11. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Looks like you can change your signature now!
     
  12. Oops. I couldn't tell what string gauge you have in there.

    I have a Danelectro that can go back and forth with a different string gauge and appropriate set-up. It has two aluminum nuts, one for each gauge.
     
  13. Not yet, still shopping, I'd like one in a solid color. I'm accessorizing now. :D
     
  14. iamthebassman

    iamthebassman

    Feb 24, 2004
    Austin,Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Phantom Guitars, Eastwood Guitars
    Good answer! ;)
     
  15. Afternoon bump, searchin' for those skilled Dano experts out there.
     
  16. mongo2

    mongo2

    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Mine did that too and I just bent it so there was a bit of an arch in the baseplate so the downward pressure on the saddle would make it flat.

    Never felt the need to change the tuners on mine.

    The RI OEM plastic buttons suck, I filled and drilled for standard buttons. Never felt the need to change the position of the neck button.

    Don't need no neckplate. I've been playing Danos since the '60s and even my late '50s Dano hasn't needed a neckplate over 50 years, why start now?

    I never felt the need to replace the pickups. The pickups are one of the things that make Danos Danos. Turn up the amp.
     
  17. Morning bump.

    I really appreciate the input, especially from those of you who feel my pain and have constructive suggestions on how to correct some of these issues.
     
  18. Cutty

    Cutty

    Jun 25, 2006
    U.K.
    I own a 1st edition Dano pro re
    -issue,the Pro comes with the all metal adjustable bridge and uprated tuners,it'a a little"Peach"and i love it!!!i find enough output with my pickups,not sure if the Pro version has better pickups or not.
     
  19. Evening bump, still need some more experienced advice.
     
  20. I have the newer Longhorn, and honestly I think it's great the way it is. Mine has great sustain (no neckplate) and stays in tune. The intonations is a hair off, but I haven't gotten around to adjusting it yet.

    I say leave it be. Have you looked on the insides of these things? It's just a wooden "rib" sandwiched between two thin pieces of masonite. I think any excess handling for installing straplocks could damage the instrument, but I could be wrong. Also the tuners seem to work well on mine.

    Also: check out my kinda crappy video with my Longhorn ;).

     

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