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Danelectro Model 4021 Hand Vibrato Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1962)
Danelectro Model 4021 Hand Vibrato Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar (1962), made in Neptune, NJ, serial # 4082, black lacquer finish, masonite and pine body, poplar neck with rosewood fingerboard, black chipboard case.
One of the rarer curios of the original 1960s Danelectros (which is saying something), this Model 4021 was added to the company's line in the early 1960s. The reason for its existence is revealed by its rather prosaic name: the "Hand Vibrato Guitar." The popularity of Fender guitars with their smooth trem arms, and Gibson and Gretsch guitars with a Bigsby, must have made Nathan Daniel realize this feature was becoming a necessity in the growing teenage market.
Daniel then cleverly engineered his standard 3-point bridge to incorporate a large coil spring underneath the rear screw, accessed by a press-on plate in the back. The simple metal handle is pinned to the back edge, and for no obvious reason can be attached to either side of the bridge. The design is very basic, but it works surprisingly well; certainly good enough for surfy twang, though we don't advise dive bombing on this one!
This fairly early two-pickup Model 4921 dates to 1962 and uses the same black-finished double-cutaway body as the celebrated contemporary "Jimmy Page" model, with a larger proprietary pickguard surrounding the pickups. This is mated to the standard Danelectro neck but topped off with an eccentric flaring 2-sided headstock shared with the Bellzouki 12-string, nicknamed the "duckfoot" in years since.
The black and white "Tuxedo" livery makes the Masonite-and-pine body look relatively classy, offset by the regular pebbled white vinyl siding used on all Dannos. The neck has a thick rosewood fingerboard while the black-finished headstock mounts Waverly strip tuners with plastic buttons and a cool chrome plastic "Danelectro" logo on the face.
The electronics circuit is the same as the Standard Shorthorn model, with two Danelectro "lipstick" pickups controlled by concentric pots for tone and volume, as well as a 3-way switch, all mounted to the enlarged white Masonite pickguard. The strap buttons on this guitar (including a third one mounted inexplicably to the TOP of the headstock) are specific to this period, transitional between the plastic 1950s style and the one-piece screwed-in type used by 1964.
The "Hand Vibrato" model was offered in single and double pickup format up through 1967 but is not nearly as common as the more affordable "Standard" model (at all of $20.00 less), which seems to have outsold it by a large margin. Nonetheless this is a great-sounding if less-seen piece of Neptune cool, and a nice-playing example of this model.
Overall length is 38 7/8 in. (98.7 cm.), 13 1/8 in. (33.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 5/8 in. (41 mm.).
Overall this is a nice-playing, original example of this medium-rare Nathan Daniel creation. The finish shows scratches and scuffs overall but is still shiny with wear along the edges and some deeper marks, notably scrapes at the back edge of the bridge that have been touched up a bit and a worn area on the lower back.
There is a small repaired stress crack just under the fingerboard down by the nut on both sides, solidly sealed up but not finished over and visible on close inspection. This is not uncommon on old Danelectros, especially ones with the larger headstock that got banged around in cardboard cases!
All finish and hardware remains original and unaltered except for some small touch-ups to the lacquer in spots. The selector switch is a bit hinky in operation as many now are, but all sound possibilities can be accessed by blending the volume knobs.
Oft-missing pieces like the vibrato arm and back snap-on cover are still present. The frets are not much worn, and this old Dann-o still plays well; the trem actually works as well as they ever did, and the guitar itself sounds great. Excellent - Condition.
Item # 8284
This item has been sold.
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