NBD Ugly bass edition (Danelectro Shorthorn)...

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by moonshinegtrs, Dec 15, 2016.

  1. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Inactive Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    I've been on the lookout for a Dano Shorthorn bass for a few years now, I've run across a few but the time was never right. Until now...

    I first saw this bass on another forum, a member was asking if it was worth the $350 asking price... I'll be the first to admit the bass looked pretty rough but I surprised at all of the negative responses; "I'd pass on that", "approximately $0", "I had a Danelectro guitar in 1971 and it was rubbish".

    My first response was "Man, that's ugly... but Cool!" My Dad had a name for it; Bulldog ugly. So ugly it's cool. The olive (avocado?) green isn't the worst color choice, it kind of grows on you after awhile. The drawing (it's been called a bird, a possum and a platypus... I prefer Danosaur) is cool in a weird way but the icing on the cake for me was the Dan Armstrong "See Thru" bass pickup. Earlier in the year I met a guy that owned a Silvertone 1444 (Dolphin nose headstock) bass that had been converted to a double cutaway and had the same pickup installed; After Danelectro shut it's doors Ampeg ended up with leftover Dano inventory and they handed the everything over to Dan Armstrong who assembled some of the remaining inventory into Ampeg Dam Armstrong Modified Danelectro instruments. Both of the basses with Dan Armstrong pickups were not those instruments, but I feel there is a good chance that these two came from that era.

    Another theory is that these may have come from the infamous Fat Dog who owns Subway Guitars (in Berkeley, I think) who purchased the lot of remaining Danelectro carcasses and continues to sell frankenstein versions of the originals.

    I decided to message the OP and found out that the bass was listed in the New Jersey Craigslist and started making arrangements to buy it (the OP said he would buy it and ship it to me in Nashville for a small fee) but after thinking more about it (that and being low on bass buying funds) I decide to offer him a trade for a really nice Silvertone 1444 bass that I had picked up for a steal earlier in the year... 1: I had paid less for the Silvertone than the guy was asking for the shorthorn (in spite of it being in almost mint condition), 2: I already had two other 1444's and 3: there seems to be a plethora of 1444 basses for sale at this time.

    I made the offer and the OP jumped at it but at the time I offered he was leaving town for a couple of weeks and said he would get in touch with the seller when he got back... He did and thankfully the bass was still there. It arrived in a beat up alligator chipboard case.

    Wrong tuners and missing the rosewood saddle, I also found that the bottom of the neck pocket was uneven (haven't fixed that yet). I installed a set of Gotoh tuners and set the bass up as good as I could, the bridge actually needs to be moved forward about 3/8" for the bass to intonate correctly and the previously mentioned neck pocket issue still needs to be addressed. but when I got it restrung (using the same dead strings that came on it) and plugged it in it was pure magic! The bass has some serious thump.

    Here it is now (The cat wasn't impressed, she just wanted to be in the picture because, you know... she's a cat):

    I'm not sure if I will get around to restoring it back to playing condition, The main reason I have been wanting a Shorthorn bass is I have been wanting to make some reproductions and I will use this one for specifications.

    My plan is to produce a fairly accurate reproduction including the poplar, non adjustable 15 fret neck. And some double necks of course.

    Moonshine :bassist:
    mmon77, ELynx, cataract and 13 others like this.
  2. fretter


    May 24, 2012
    That's kind of a cool graphic on there. I'm assuming somebody added that later?
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  3. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Inactive Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    Yep. Some time after the olive drab/poop brown paint job...
    Aberdumbie likes this.
  4. gfen


    Aug 21, 2014
    lehigh valley
    stayed at a holiday inn, once...
    That's the nicest looking Danelectro I've ever seen. Love it.
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  5. I've never been a Dan Electro fan, but this I can dig. I wouldn't like it nearly as much without that graphic on there though.
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  6. gebass6

    gebass6 We're not all trying to play the same music. Supporting Member

    Hmmmmm......It's ugly,but attractive ugly.
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  7. I like it! But...I'm confused. Are stickers cool or not cool today, I overslept.
  8. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Inactive Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    I think scarves trumped stickers.

    Then again I haven't check the score this morning.

    Moonshine :bassist:
  9. NoiseNinja

    NoiseNinja Experimental-psychedelic-ambient-noise-drone Inactive

    Feb 23, 2011

    And by the way I personally think it is a beautiful bass.
    Aberdumbie and moonshinegtrs like this.
  10. danosix


    May 30, 2012
    Hey Moonshine, just found this. Very cool.
    Does look like a Subway product (though that's a guess - very Dan Armsrong too with that pickup and metal pickguard).
    One thing though - the ONE nod to modernity you should do on your repros is an adjustable truss rod - I know the originals are non-adjustable and many people swear by them, but it's the one thing that I say both old Dan and Leo had wrong (Leo changed his mind much earlier).
    Go for support rods if you want the effect with adjustability. (just my two cents, of course).
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  11. HaphAsSard


    Dec 1, 2013
    Not ugly in the least. Sorry, haters.
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  12. LadyLoveStingRay5


    Jul 17, 2004
    Cat seems to be striking a pose to mirror the graphic . I think the cat approves.
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  13. AndyII


    Mar 13, 2014
    Way, way cool. I would crank up some distortion and use that for old school Agent Orange or something.
    moonshinegtrs likes this.
  14. Aberdumbie


    Jan 22, 2016
    South Carolina
    Yes.. Yes that is cool. Way cool. Back when that bass was born I had a car the same color. The car was cool too. Nice snag.
    JvJazz83 and moonshinegtrs like this.
  15. moonshinegtrs

    moonshinegtrs Inactive Commercial User

    Jan 28, 2009
    White Bluff,Tn.
    Owner: Moonshine Custom Guitars
    I hear you about the truss rod, I would bet the majority of people here agree with you. I'm a big believer in the original (non adjustable) necks.

    I have also learned to listen to others over my own likes...

    I am going to build some of the original style necks but I will definitely offer adjustable necks.

    Moonshine. :bassist:
    danosix likes this.
  16. mongo2


    Feb 17, 2008
    Da Shaw
    While I understand your concern, the several original Danos of mine have never ever required adjusting for different string sets or seasonal changes, unlike my basses with adjustable trussrods (including recent Dano repros) which require string set specific and seasonal adjustment. Nor have my original Dano necks warped or twisted in over 50 years (never any fret sprout either). Even my Silvertone 1444 dolphin nose that, at sometime in it's checkered past, had it's frets removed without benefit of having the fret slots filled as well as having the back re-profiled to make the neck thinner, has been equally stable.

    From here it looks like it's just one of several things Nat got right.

    Now...about that stick bridge. It works well enough for it's original application and what I do, once it's adjusted. However, it can be tedious to adjust. I don't mind it since I use floating stick bridges on several basses but I have tried adjustable bridges on my recent Danos and Jerry Jones and they provide for more accurate intonation up the neck and are much easier to dial in.
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2017
    danosix likes this.
  17. Gilmourisgod


    Jun 23, 2014
    Cape Cod MA
    That just makes it over the elusive line between plain old boring ugly, and endearing fugliness. I like it.
    gebass6 likes this.
  18. B-line

    B-line Inactive

    Nothing ugly or wrong about that bass whatsoever. I had a Jerry Jones Shorthorn and wish I still did.
    That particular bass, in the spirit of Danelectro's had great thump and presence, also high-quality tuners and a very decent bridge. The Dano's suffered in those areas IMO, but still.

    To me, both the Shorthorn and Dolphin Nose bodies, also the '63 asnd Hodads are retro-cool, much more appealing to me than the Longhorn, which I've owned as well.

    I see this thread is dated, but "updated" so OP, that is a great looking unique bass.
  19. Buy it. Maybe put in a new pickup if you can find an ugly enough one. It's so ugly but yet I want to cheer it on. I would proudly play that monstrosity if only it weren't a danelectro.

  20. Xandrell


    Aug 23, 2014
    I like the exorcist split pea soup puke green. I think the short horn looks fine. The longhorn on the other hand.