So good, he bought two! One of two Dead On 67s played extensively in the studio, live and on video by Justin Hayward-Young of The Vaccines. With original strap, gaffer-taped in case of high-energy performance.
"We want Indie back in the charts". Perfect launch for a band formed only 6 months earlier, taking centre-stage on the front cover of NME's New Music Issue for 2011: "The Return Of The Great British Band". And a perfect cover, with Justin holding onto this very guitar as if it were another limb. Indie, surf punk, power pop - however you want to describe it, this has been the beloved companion for the bright, punchy guitar sound that has characterised The Vaccines since they first hit our ears late in 2010 with "If You Wanna" (a defiant earworm, if ever there was one) And it, and its tremolo-free twin , has been everywhere and shared every experience with the band since formation through to 2018, when Justin retired it and we were lucky enough to add it to the collection.
A wonderful piece of recent indie history!
See & Hear It In Action
If You Wanna (2011): Loads of images of Justin with the guitar just a Google away. Better than that, here it is in action with cutting power chords throughout their massive debut.
Teenage Icon (2012): And, with a tip of the hat to If You Wanna in the lift, here again, this time doing exactly what God's Own Guitars is all about - sharing their gear!
Be the first to hire this retro classic! You know you wanna!!!
Dead On 67
Number of Frets
Danelectro Lipstick Single Coil
Danelectro aluminium satin vibrato, with swivel rosewood bridge
First off, that brilliant name: Dead On 67. Launched in 2009, with an ever so subtle clue in the title. This isn't a model without history. More a 21st century facelift, combining and updating look, features and feel of the Dane D and Coral Hornet, both released by Danelectro. In . . . 1967.
This one is from that first year of production. Justin was clearly keen to make his mark with something distinctive and new.
There are so many things to love about this guitar:
The "Totally Shielded" truss-rod cover, not just a logo, but a truth - not a touch of buzz or hum from the electrics - and these are single coil pickups!
The audio-style volume and tone knobs, in line with the original 67 models, and bringing a home-made-to-production feel to the set-up.
The characteristic lipstick single-coil pick-ups - as the story goes, back in the early days, Danelectro sourced a job-lot of lipstick tubes to house their pick-ups, and have stuck with that unique look ever since.
The homegrown bridge and vibrato system - the essence of simplicity, no elegance, but perfect for narrow pitch variation.
The back to the 60s look of the "mother-of-shower-curtain" pickguard.
And, of course, that wonderfully sculpted retro body profile. A guitar for today, with the heart of its history well and truly on its sleeve.
What's most to love is the range of sound you can get out of this guitar - particularly in relation to it weighing in at an incredibly light 2.5kg. There's not a lot of resonance in that body. But the single-coils belie the simplicity of their design, from surprising warmth in the neck setting to piercing attack at the bridge.
If there's one thing that I couldn't quite get used to, it was the heavily grained rosewood fretboard. Or so I thought. This is no custom-shop smoothed board. You can really feel the grain working with and against you on the bends. But it wasn't just that - the frets were worn flat and not just indented, but heavily scratched. The goodness and badness of enthusiastic use over so many years. Now beautifully revitalised with some perfect fret-crowning by the great John Armitage at The Guitar Hospital.
All in all, this guitar is one to bring back memories long-forgotten. It's not just retro in look and feel. The "Ratatouille" effect for any of us that can remember their first electric. For me, it was a 70s Jedson Les Paul copy. That really was hard work. This Dead On 67 isn't a hard guitar to play at all. Lovely action and surprisingly good intonation for such a relatively fixed - and barely adjustable - bridge. But I tell you, that grained fretboard is going to take you back to where it all started for you - and bring a big smile to your face as you see how far you've come!
There are some guitars where there's not much of a story to tell. Not because they're shy and retiring and don't like a lot of noise. We don't seem to have any guitars that fall into that category at God's Own Guitars. It's more because they've just been so much of the visual history of the player or the band, that it just makes a lot more sense to go to Google Images or YouTube to watch the story unfold.
There was no history for this guitar before Justin bought it. It was new. It looked and sounded the part, so he bought it. And from there, in his own words, the written story is pretty straightforward:
"I bought it when I started the band and played it on all of the first album, some of the second album, and all recorded music before and in between. It was one of 2 identical guitars that I toured the world with and used on every television show, radio show, and gig we played. It's in multiple music videos, including "If You Wanna", and I can also be seen holding it on the cover of our first NME."
Well, that's it, in a nutshell. But it's a nutshell that's bursting with the stories and experiences that any new band dreams of:
A launch to public consciousness with a YouTube demo of "If You Wanna" in August 2010
A late 2010 performance on Later With Jools Holland - the first ever artists to appear on the show without having released a first single (which, for a show that has been running since 1992, is saying something)
A January 2011 front-cover on NME, with Justin cradling the Danelectro
The release of smartly titled first album "What Did You Expect From The Vaccines?" in March 2011 - which by the end of the year had become the biggest-selling debut by an indie band in 2011
Appearances at 45 festivals, on Later With David Letterman, and the 2011 Top Of The Pops Christmas special to round off the year.
And everywhere The Vaccines went, this guitar went. 130 gigs in 2011 - from Canada and the US, through Europe, to Australia and Japan. All while Justin was dealing with challenges to his vocal cords that this level of continuous exposure can bring.
A lot of hard work. But hard work that paid off. Not really a surprise then that follow-up album, appropriately titled "Come Of Age", reached #1 in the UK album charts and went Gold.
Fast forward to today and The Vaccines are still going strong. Now into their 10th year, with 4 albums to their name, and still true to the sound that characterised their launch way back in 2010. That sound that owes so much to the truly electrifying sound of this Danelectro Dead On 67. Built to recognise an iconic guitar, and now an iconic guitar in its own right, playing its part in an iconic story.
Needless to say, "If You Wanna", this great guitar is now available for hire to those that want to experience its full glory - or to take the torch forwards with their own brand of guitar-based power-pop (or whatever you think is right for it!).
Sources & Links
Music Radar Review: A great launch-year review, from the ever-insightful and helpful Music Radar: "This is a guitar with a unique look and some highly likeable retro sounds that will appeal to all kinds of rootsy rockers and popists." Nice.
Premier Guitar Review: Another great review. Adding in a little more history to the Music Radar review. It may not give you centre of attention status with your friends, but it's nice to know that 1) the name Danelectro comes from a shortening of the founder's surname, Nathan Daniel (the "Dan" bit, at least), and 2) he's part of a well-known family tree, having built amplifiers with Epiphone before leaving to found Danelectro.
The Vaccines NME Front Cover (January 2011): Thanks to the wonderful and eclectic WEARETHELASTBEATNIKS for this image of that first NME cover, with Justin wrapped around this guitar. NME weren't wrong. By 2012, they'd given The Vaccines their Best New Band award.