-- Museum of Musical Instruments
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   Guitars designed by Nathan Daniel (1912-1994) never reached the pantheon of instruments made by Fender, Gibson, and Martin. But in their own way they were no less influential, their low price tag making them readily available to the masses. Daniel designed a line of budget electric guitars, first distributed in 1954 by Sears, Roebuck and Company under the Silvertone brand, which many famous players fondly remember as their first guitar (especially a model that came with an amplifier built into the case). In 1956, Daniel began retailing guitars under his own Danelectro brand, creating some thoroughly original models over the next dozen years that collectors now cherish because of their "cheap but cool" aesthetic. Cost cutting was achieved through materials and construction. As with this 3012 "short horn" model in "bronze" finish, the top and back of many Danelectro instruments were made from one-eighth-inch Masonite glued over a poplar framework, and covered over with a painted finish (including trendy colors like fuchsia and peach). The most distinctive feature of "Danos" is their single-coil electronic pickups made from a cosmetics manufacturer. In recent years, Danelectro guitars have begun to be manufactured again, with the same appearance but better-quality materials, for players seeking both a retro look and a retro tone.

I look for a deep, gutty feelin' in a guitar tone. I don't use picks. People ask, "How you get that?" It's just there. There's a lot of people try to play real fast chords-da da da da da-that ain't the hard, solid blues. It's synthetic. It has no feeling to it. You sit down and play some funky, funky guitar. Take your time! Don't rush it. Just let it come flowing through you. I can play guitar so funky, it'll bring teardrops to your eyes.

-John Lee Hooker

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