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Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by macbikes, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. macbikes


    Apr 29, 2015
    I wanted to inquire as to whether anyone on here ever effected a bridge conversion on a Danelectro Longhorn Bass; first re-issue (Korean made)?

    I thought I’d go on one of these forums & ask to see if anyone has a definitive answer. It may be likely, as the biggest complaint about these Danelectros is that primitive bridge.

    I'm wanting to upgrade to something other than the stock, wood-wedge-on-metal-plate (rather Hagstrom-esque) crap they supplied OEM. Additionally, I'm intending to do a through-body ferrule stringing upgrade @ same time!

    That said, my concern was to consult someone who'd already effected just such an upgrade on one, in order to determine what the interior construction @ the point of bridge attachment is like on those bodies. With the "built-up over plywood slab" nature of construction, I wanted to make sure that there were not any voids in that "butt" area @ the bridge, which would result in cavitating & collapsing a body :~((( !?!?!?

    I used an LED borescope to look into the body cavity from the rear pot cover, but sadly I can't access/tell a thing in that bridge area.

    With the small sizing of the OEM bridge, there isn't much latitude between it, & the very butt @ the strap button. For that reason, there is only a minimum of material for setting the ferrule holes away from bridge to reduce any overly tight radiusing of the strings-to-bridge where they come through the body (main reason for my not using the 1" tall sized ferrules, ANYMORE). I just did a friend's Epiphone EB-0 (newer Asian crapper) with the 1" ferrules & had to bush the strings to move the buttons back toward the rear of the bass (in order to keep the stiff silk area from restricting the bend exiting the body's face). I'll use the 5/8" ferrules in the future, to avoid that issue.

    Granted, that Danelectro is not equal to any of my "Ric", Gibson, nor other high $ value basses; but it's a fun-2-play, super light-weight, shorty that's only lacking a better bridge & precision flatwounds!

    Any expertise you're able to shed on this issue would be greatly appreciated? And if you've not dealt with one, any referral, to one who has, would help immensely.

    I recently upgraded an old Hagstrom solid body bass with same OEM style wood-wedge bridge (a rough builder; which didn't diminish collectable value). I used a 2-post tune-o-matic copy with thru-body ferrules. The narrow (finger width) nature of that bridge (versus a large, flat plate like a Schaller or Gotoh), allowed me to set the ferrule drillings about an inch away from the bridge toward the "butt" (for above captioned safe radiusing of the strings). I'm thinking that same method would allow the such to be done on the Danelectro?

    I have a friend who got overzealous & wouldn't wait till I had the time to help him; he ruined a nice Hagstrom hollow bodied bass by attempting a similar upgrade. He didn't realize there was no support/resonance blocking under that bridge; but rather just locating pins for the bridge perch's position. As such, he cavitated both the front & rear of that body; I now own it for parts :~(((

  2. I converted some Dano basses into baritone guitars and one Dano guitar into an electric sitar, adding new bridges in the process. The first one was quite the experiment precisely for the reason you outlined: Will the body support drilling and screwing in a new bridge?

    Much to the surprise of my tech and me, yes, that part of the body is indeed solid enough for the conversion. Upon reflection, the crude original Danelectro bridge is also anchored with screws, but I understand and shared your concern.

    Big disclaimer here: ON THESE BASSES, WITH THESE BRIDGES, IT WORKED. I'm not going to take responsibility if your body or bridges are different from mine. I have no idea how wide you're going or how you could test that area. If you are keeping your new bridge within the same central area of the body, your best bet would be to drill into the body under the existing bridge with a very narrow bit to see what happens. The worst that can happen is a pin hole under the bridge where no one will ever see it. If you're trying to drill well outside that central area, good luck; I have no idea what to expect.

    Here are a few of my conversions; a sitar buzz bridge, a Bigsby, and a standard Fender style 6-saddle bridge:



    Last edited: Apr 29, 2015
  3. macbikes


    Apr 29, 2015
    I had one guy who referred me to: Danelectro Adjustable Bass Bridge | Allparts.com it's basically a bolt-on replacement for the Dan, but with adj saddles. Does not address my actual dilemma; BUT, YOU DID!

    The type bridge I'm intending to use is like EBAY item #151314126330. That way I'd be in same profile & coverage area as orig bridge, plus it'll still allow me to set the ferrule drillings back an inch toward "the butt" (strap button area).

    I'd already resolved myself to do as you're suggesting, a test hole drilling; then use some rigid wire to probe the area around the new hole. The butt-most hole of the 3 on orig bridge should give me an area to wire probe in almost same spot the ferrule holes will be drilled.

    As a lifelong wrench turner with a degree in product/structural design engineering, I fully understand I take none of this as gospel (unless the guy who assembled those bodies contacts me) :~))) !!! I'll let you know what I find.

    This is my first day on here, so I'm a little slow with the site. Are you the guy also posting you're wanting a Hagstrom Concord in red? If so, I just acquired one (NO, NOT THE ONE I MENTIONED WHICH THE GUY CAVITATED). It's a pretty fair old piece for almost 50 years & a Hagstrom. I was shocked how lightweight it is, plus how thin the neck is @ the body pocket (thinner front to back than @ the nut). I played a solid bodied hagstrom in early '70s & it was not nearly as thin as this neck (& heavier). Once I check it out, I can let you know if I'll sell & @ what $. What few (only 750 approx production) are here in the STL area seem to go in the $600-$1K range, if complete with no breaks in neck.

    electracoyote likes this.
  4. I've played Longhorns with the stock rosewood bridge as well as the metal one, and I prefer the rosewood
    as far as sound and feel. Seems to have better bottom and punchier, and the bass had more feedback or vibration or whatever you want to call it. I have read of others preferring it also. The problem with the stock bridge is that it is zinc and tends to collapse under the two middle strings. What I did to remedy the problem was to put a screw into the body under the front part of the bridge in the centerline between the two middle strings. I straightened the bridge and drilled a hole in it over the location of the screw. That allowed me to adjust it up or down. I put it back together, did a setup, and after raised the screw so it contacted th bottom of the bridge to give it support. Worked like a charm. But I guess the point I wanted to make to you is yes it was solid wood under that screw I put in, so installing another bridge should be a feasable option. You can purchase
    a solid bridge that fits this bass. Not sure where to look right now for one, possibly ebay or some of the guys
    that deal with Danelectro stuff. Had a guy in mind who could help, but his name has slipped away from my
    braincells at this moment. I'll try to get the info at some point and post it for you. My grandaughter is the proud owner of my Longhorn now! Its still going strong!

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