The American brand Danelectro have a near unmatched talent for crafting awesome retro guitars that seep with vintage in both sound and style. Their versatile ’59 Acoustic-Electric resonator is certainly one of these, inspired by their classic ’59 electric guitar. This roundneck model features some modern-day upgrades that make it a very interesting prospect for anyone exploring the exciting world of resonators. Let’s take a closer look.
The ’59 is instantly recognizable as a Danelectro model, with the familiar double-cutaway Shorthorn body shape and Coke bottle headstock. With an accessible 25” scale length, the body is made from Masonite (a cheap and cheerful hardboard that the brand has used for a while), while the neck features maple with a satin finish, a rosewood fretboard and 21 frets. This neck is slim and a joy to play, while the guitar itself is very comfortable to hold. For the affordable mid-range price, it’s set-up nicely and feels ready to go out of the box.
As the diamond coverplate suggests, the ’59 features a spun cone biscuit-bridge resonator, while it’s also fitted with two pickups. It’s easy to find the first one, as the ’56 Lipstick pickup proudly sits just above the coverplate in the traditional neck position. Then there’s the less obvious Canadian-made Schatten piezo pickup, that’s hidden in the cone itself.
Controls are simple but give you just what’s needed, coming in the shape of oversized control knobs for volume and tone, as well as a blend control for switching between the two pickups. You’ll also find some decent vintage-style tuners, and a lesser-seen aluminum nut – despite the rarity, it fits the style well and enhances the sustain.
Acoustically, the ’59 is raw and metallic, although offers less in the way of unplugged projection when compared to others in our chart. Through the pickups it sounds excellent, with the Schatten offering a hefty output and a big growl, while the ’56 Lipstick pickup is bright and punchy. However, it’s by blending the two pickups where the Danelectro ’59 really excels, delivering the much-craved twang that’s just perfect for Mississippi Delta blues and bluegrass. Listen to the video below for an example – it’s awesome.
The hybrid construction and pickups won’t be for some resonator traditionalists, but in our eyes the Danelectro ’59 is a winner. With timeless style, great playability, and a killer blues tone, it’s a resonator that should be on any self-respecting guitarist’s wish list.