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Danelectro Longhorn Setup

Discussion in 'Hardware, Setup & Repair [BG]' started by tubatodd, Nov 3, 2015.

  1. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    My wife bought herself a Danelectro Longhorn in seafoam green. It's a beautiful instrument and sounds great.

    Unfortunately, the string height is a bit too high. I've checked the neck and it's plenty straight. I've never done a setup on a bridge like this one. It's quite odd. It appears that the 2 screw holes across from each other are only there for the bridge to pivot on. The screw heads appear BELOW the hole. Then the wooden piece, should it be straight or slightly angled to approximate a normal intonation pattern.

    Any help with doing a Longhorn setup would be helpful. Thanks!
  2. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    I had to put a shim under the neck on my Dano to get the action right.
    tubatodd likes this.
  3. lz4005


    Oct 22, 2013
    I just did a setup on a Dano with the wooden bridge saddle last week. Mine is a 90's Korean made.

    You're absolutely right that the two front screws are under the bridge. Slack the strings and screw them in/out to adjust height.

    The third, larger screw at the rear of the bridge holds the whole thing down. It doesn't impact height.

    The wood saddle should be angled and moved forward/back to intonate as best as you can. It's held in place from underneath with one small screw in the center. You have to take the big bridge screw out completely and lift the bridge up to get to the small screw. It passes through an oval slot in the bridge base plate, so you can slide it forward/back about 1/4" or so.

    When you reassemble, make sure the bridge slants back (ie, big screw in farther than the pivot screws) so you get a decent break angle over the wood piece and everything is held down properly.

    I tend to leave the small screw holding the wooden saddle a tiny bit loose so that I can just move it when the strings are all slacked off. Makes intonation adjustments much easier. The strings hold it in place when they're at pitch.

    Another thing I've done to mine is to put gaffer tape over the pickup height adjustment screws and the edges of the control cavity cover on the back. It isn't pretty but it will hold everything in place better and prevent anyone catching their fingernails under them accidentally. I did that a half dozen times before I said F-it and taped everything off. The control cavity cover not being countersunk is a really bad design.

    The last major setup/maintenance rec is to lube the hell out of the nut slots. The nut is metal and the strings will bind if you don't lube it. This dramatically improves tuning stability.
    getrhythm likes this.
  4. FWIW TubaTodd, they're not seafoam green. Danelectro calls the color "Nifty Aqua". I have one the same color and it does greatly resemble seafoam green in color, just not in title.

    Just looking to keep you out of trouble with the Dano Police here.

    Danelectro Longhorn.JPG
  5. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I adjusted the bridge a little bit and it seems better, but I think I will shim the neck to get it more like my other basses. It's a great instrument with nice tone options. I'm eager to make it play better.
  6. I just set up my granddaughters the other day. The intonation was off so I had to remove the bridge to loosen the screw holding the rosewood saddle on. It was pretty well stripped out anyway so I got rid of the screw. The I played the sliding game to get the intonation set. Got it almost perfect. Before that I noticed the string height was pretty high with a bit of bend in the neck. I did two 1/4 turns to get it good then lowered the bridge a bit. All good now. I noticed she was leaning it against the wall and along with Michigans extreme seasons it needed some serious tweeking! The Dano is strung with 3 year old Chromes and sound fantastic now!
  7. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I shimmed the neck with a piece of business card. It still feels too high. I may have to lower the two bridge height screws a bit more.

    It's a killer bass. I want to get it perfect.
  8. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    You can lower them until the bridge is practically touching the body - but if you have to do that it is likely your shim isn't doing the job - I've had this before - if you were close to where you wanted to be and then shimmed and you didn't need to adjust the bridge slightly UP it probably isn't doing it's job and could even potentially angling the neck backwards.
    Try folding the card over - make sure it sits RIGHT at the bridge end of the hole (you will have to cut the corners to get it in there) and you should be good.
    EDIT - that's assuming that everything else is good (which you have indicated).
  9. That's what I did with my Pbass recently. I folded it over and it was the perfect thickness.
  10. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    Thanks for that - I've been wracking my brain for the name Danelectro gave that colour. Of course, on the '63 they did indeed call it surf-green - but that whole series was a little weak on the whimsy as compared with the late 90s stuff.
    I need to look up one of those old catalogues to learn all the colour names - I remember Commie Red and Limo Black and I think (think!) the yellow/vintage white called Lemon yellow, but I'm probably off on that.
  11. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I will try this tonight. Thanks
  12. tubatodd

    tubatodd Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    I shimmed the neck correctly this time with the card doubled over. This time I did need to raise the bridge. Not sure what, if anything really changed, but I checked the neck and it appears I have too much relief. That is definitely playing into this entire situation.
  13. Now tighten the truss rod until you get it almost straight, then adjust bridge and intonation and you should be good to go!
  14. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    That's right - 'cause we're watching, we're ALWAYS watching. :cool:
  15. I noticed the other day that the Blue Book of Electric Guitars lists all the colors for the '90's reissue series Longhorn basses. Interesting that they made a copper burst but make no mention of a non-burst copper finish. Could be a simple omission, I dunno.

    Nifty Aqua
    Blue Suede
    Limo Black
    Daddy-O Yellow
    Beatnik Burgundy
    Commie Red
    Aqua Burst
    Blue Burst
    Copper Burst
    Black Burst
    Burgundy Burst
  16. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    I actually had found that after I wrote you, but this is a good bit of info for the Danelectro ownners group (I'll copy over and credit you).
    Incidentally - The "copper" non-burst was called "cool copper". Just as interesting is how the Evetts people thought that a non-metallic coral was the same thing as copper - though I have at least one photograph of mine that I'd dare anyone to not see as a true copper colour rather than pink.
    Olde Axeman likes this.
  17. Cool Copper. Good to know. Thanks!
    danosix likes this.

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