This home-made violin bass is currently being offered for sale on Craigs List. The seller obviously wants to claim that it is an instrument of great vintage and optimistically labels it as being from the 40s or 50s.
Well, seeing as it uses Danelectro parts - witness the dolphin-nosed Danelectro headstock and the lipstick tube pickup - and Danelectro didn't actually come into being until 1954, he can certainly forget about the 1940s. That is just impossible.
A Danelectro expert might be able to date the dolphin-nose headstock design for us, but I actually suspect that this bass was thrown together in the mid 1960s. I say this because of the violin-shaped body. Although originally designed by Gibson, the violin bass was popularised by Paul McCartney of The Beatles - in his case it was a Hofner. The design of the violin bass became iconic and spawned a plethora of copies. The Beatles, of course, were virtually unheard of in America before 1964.
Of course the maker of this home-made bass may not have been inspired by The Beatles and may have arrived at the violin design by an entirely different course, but the odds are stacked against this eventuality.
It doesn't take too much detective work to more accurately date guitars like this. Which is better than making a wild stab in the dark and coming out with "1940s" just because it looks old.
The lesson to be learnt here is not to take the seller's word as gospel. They very often do not know what they are talking about.
Thanks to Emmett who emailed me about this bass.
G L Wilson
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