Builder Profile ::: Danocaster Guitars ::: Vintage Heaven


Hello Gearheads! Today I'd like to talk a bit about one of my favorite guitar builders: Danocaster! Dan Strain, the owner, builder and practically all-in-one magician who makes these beautiful creations is building some, if not the most vintage, period correct instruments on the market today. These instruments look, feel, play and sound vintage --- and that is not an easy feat. They are, without a doubt, some of the most inspiring guitars to play and I am lucky to call my "number one," a Danocaster.

Firmly rooted in the world of 1950's-1960's (sometimes 1970's) instruments from the sunny Corona, CA guitar scene, Danocasters just burst with mojo and vibe. Strain builds what he dubs "Double Cut", "Single Cut", "Offset", and does include a bass guitar here and there. Needless to say, everything that comes out of their shop is a one-of-a-kind instrument. While Strain will build you a guitar based on your needs and wants, he's more apt to suggest an era or particular sound you're after, then he can do his magic. Typically, a Danocaster will be period and era correct down to the type of wood, finish, fretboard material, pickguard etc... it's all about making a vintage replica that can stand up next to an original in tone, feel and presence. Danocasters do exactly that. They are the embodiment of true artistry with the art of vintage replicas.

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Strain has since moved slightly away from only building relic'd and era correct instruments per his customers requests, I for one asked that my "Double Cut" be as untouched as possible. I wanted to do all the relic'ing myself over years of playing. My guitar was what he considered a "closet piece" or rather, a lovingly cared for but not touched much, 1959 Double Cut. Maybe it was your Grandfather's guitar he never played much but kept in it's case for years in the back closet or under the bed. This is the true magic of Strain and Danocaster --- the details. These details equate to major mojo and vibe with a guitar. I've been playing mine for years now, as it's my main instrument on the stage and in the studio, and it has indeed started to show signs of wear. This is a wonderful experience to see my hard work reflected in the thinning finish and scratched wood. It's the tale of a journey, I walk with my tools that help me do the best of things in my life.

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When I ordered my Danocaster Double Cut, I simply mentioned the tones I was after and the look of the guitar itself. I wanted vintage Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Michael Landau and Philip Sayce tones from the guitar. Essentially, a perfect amalgamation of classic single coil tones. I also wanted a two-toned sunburst as I've always loved the way two colors merge together to make almost a third whole color. I did have a major requirement to have a dark rosewood fingerboard, important to my tactile needs as well as the tone. Maple boards are wonderful and often spanky and present, but I was set on rosewood. Well, keeping with the tradition of era correct, my Double Cut could have been made in "history" in late 1959 when rosewood boards started to show up on the 1960's instruments, albeit in 3 toned bursts... so my guitar is sort of a transitional "it could have happened" piece. All of this of course is fun and simply adds to the fact that the guitar itself is a monster tone machine. 

Strain has been seriously busy these days, well rather these years! Generally, ordering direct from Danocaster will come with a bit of a wait, 8 + months at the moment. Anything worth it's salt is often met with a waitlist these days in the boutique gear world. However, Danocaster has ONE dealer, Clif at LA Vintage Gear. LAVG are based locally in Burbank, CA and ship worldwide. They are retailing some of the best and coolest gear on the market right now. The store is the only spot where you can not only buy a Danocaster straight off the shelf, but try them out... and they carry a ton of them at a time. It's a great place to spend some time checking out really good and groundbreaking gear.

In a world where working musicians would die to have a vintage instrument of this caliber at their disposal but cannot mortgage their house or sell their car to fund such an endeavor, finding a builder like Danocaster is a wonderful moment. These instruments not only stand up next to the originals they're cut from but often times outshine them in every way. I seriously look forward to my next "life-time" instrument from Danocaster and cannot wait to put my hard work into and onto it, yielding many years of great music made.