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Heavily modified 1961 Silvertone model 1444 bass

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by daveman50, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Albany NY
    I had the pleasure of playing this bass recently at a jam session. This is not my bass. It's a Silvertone 1444 in disguise. The body was altered long ago to look like a Danelectro Shorthorn (or "Standard") model, and the pickup was replaced long ago by a 1971 Dan Armstrong pickup (same as in the old plexi basses). And the tuning pegs were replaced. The neck is straight and feels fantastic. The board looks like hell & the frets are pretty worn, but there's no fret buzz. The action is not real low, but it's very playable. The bass sounds wonderful; dark but articulate - authoritative. I don't have a sound clip, but I'll try to get one. Major mojo city! The owner will NOT part with it. I was told that the mods were done by Dan Armstrong at his shop in NYC in the early 70s. [EDIT: the pickup was installed by Dan Armstrong, but the body had already been altered when the present owner acquired the bass at a yard sale... for $20. Those were the days.]
    20160221_160916 combo crop. 20160221_161237a.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016
  2. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    Nice piece of history there.

    I have three Silvertone 1444s, one is in poor shape that a previous owner de-fretted, another is a less worn everyday player grade in my gig rotation and the third is minty that I reserve for special gigs. Having grown up near the Danelectro factories while they were in their heyday and finding them around here all my life, I'm particularly fond of them. Thanks for the look at a variation I've never seen before.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016
    CatSquare and daveman50 like this.
  3. I like that thing.
  4. CatSquare


    Mar 7, 2014
    Oh my. I'd love to play that.
    Not a huge fan of the dolphin bass headstock, but that's still cool!
  5. daveman50

    daveman50 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2007
    Albany NY
    I liked it so much, I made a (sort-of) copy. :)
    • The bass is a Dano 56 - it started life like this: Danelectro Owners Club
    • I ordered the Bill Lawrence/Dan Armstrong "DA-DB" pickup from Kent Armstrong. What a great guy - a pleasure to work with. It's the same pickup as the original, but wired normally (4 leads) rather than with the 3-lug connectors of the Ampeg Dan Armstrong basses, and it's in a standard humbucker case. But it ain't a humbucker :)
    • The wiring is discussed here: potentiometer question. It's a unique pickup and a unique wiring scheme. At the moment I have it wired with a 3-way switch to select between no tone cap, 0.047 uF, or 0.022. (The "tone" control is actually a combined blend control and tone control - very cool.)
    • I needed a custom pickup ring & got it from Dave at Frets On The Net. Also a great guy.
    • There's nothing in the bridge pickup hole, just a filler.
    I am very happy with the bass. I've gigged it a couple of times and it's a rock and reggae animal! And best of all, it weighs less than 6 lbs.
    20160618_140451b. bass with new ring 2b.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
    PWRL likes this.

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