“New Vintage” Dana Scoop For Sale!!

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For the first time since 1995 we are able to announce that there will be a “New Vintage” Dana Scoop for sale in the original fire red finish!

It will have updated electronics based on the original 1983 designs and the head stock will have the full size Dana logo.

Check out the photos on our home page!

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Dana’s new Ardentown shop and a custom Westone Spectrum

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Read the full article from the Westone Guitar forum
http://forum.westoneguitars.net/t4308-dana-sutcliffe-s-new-shop-and-a-custom-spectrum#38620

A fun read for everyone – featuring Dana’s new shop in Ardentown, Delaware! Read about a very unique, one-of-a-kind guitar: The Spectrum, which features a faux-snakeskin finish and texture. Great photos, and kind words from all. Only complaint is that Weston did not use dana’s website as a link… grrr.. AND when I tried to register to leave a comment.. it wouldn’t work. Other than these small things, great article! Please read and share!

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Alvarez Dana Offset Bass

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Q:

My great grandfather gave me a bass guitar around 5 years ago and I cannot find any information about it. I’ve searched high and low on the internet and even been to several music stores and pawn shops and no one can give me info on it. It has your name on it, so maybe you can help? It is a four string bass, it says Alvarez Dana series on it and the only thing I can find out about it is, it’s circa ’91-’92 and it’s said to be from their offset series. It has active pickups and a custom fit hard case, 3 way channel selector, 2 tones, 1 volume it plays and sounds amazing! I love it, I just wanna know more about it and what the thing is worth. Could you please help me with any information? It would be greatly appreciated!!!

A:

The bass was made in late 1991 or all of 1992. It was called the Alvarez Dana Offset bass. The active tone controls are a 3Khz treble cut and boost and a 125hz bass cut and boost. Half way up is flat on both controls. The body is made of sugar maple. The neck is hard rock maple and SE Asian rosewood. All Dana basses are rare. Most in mint condition sell for over 500.00. The retail was 999.00 in 1991. The radical body shape was replaced with softer edges and corners in 1993. Still called the Offset bass.
If you need more information please let me know. I offer restoration packages on all Dana guitars over 20 years old.
– Dana

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Vintage Guitar Magazine: The Alvarez Dana Scoop

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Vintage Guitar Magazine
The Alvarez Dana Scoop
by Michael Wright, The Different Strummer
January 2010 Vol. 24 No. 03

The Alvarez Dana Scoop

by Michael Wright, The Different Strummer

There are bad accidents and there are good, or “happy” accidents. Bad ones are when you bend over, your rear-end knocks over your axe, and suddenly you’ve “created” a headless guitar. An example of a happy accident is the invention of the Alvarez Dana Scoop.

As a brand, Alvarez was a name originally used by St. Louis Music (SLM) for its Japanese-made acoustic guitars beginning in 1966; Alvarez-Yairi models were built in Kazuo Yairi’s workshop, while Alvarez models were built elsewhere. Beginning around 1970 – maybe slightly earlier – SLM began importing electric guitars from Japan bearing the Electra brand. Many were made by the legendary Matsumoku Moto plant. In ’83, SLM entered into a joint venture with Matsumoku, and in ’84 transitioned the Alvarez brand to Westone, which had previously been used by the Japanese manufacturer. Matsumoku had started as a builder of sewing machine cabinets, and in ’87, the company was purchased by Singer Sewing Machines. It’s not entirely clear, but Matsumoku may have continued making guitars until 1990. With it went the Westone brand, and SLM’s electric line became Alvarez. During this period, SLM began moving some production to Cort, in Korea.

“Dana” is Dana Sutcliffe, who at age 13 got a guitar with four of the worst pickups ever made. So he set about making his own replacements. Thus began a lifelong interest in electronics, and his subsequent experience with guitars eventually landed him a job at the ill-fated Renaissance guitars. There, in 1978 or ’79, under the supervision of John Marshall, Sutcliffe earned a master’s degree in lutherie.

Following the Renaissance experience, Sutcliffe began repairing guitars, building custom guitars, and developing more pickups, including the active units that would make him famous. He did a lot of work converting Gibson guitars for use by Delaware rocker George Thorogood. One of the people who called on him was the local sales rep for SLM, a non-musician who would seek help in adjusting the settings on his Crate amps. Sutcliffe would use a guitar with his pickups, but the rep returned red-faced, claiming Les Pauls and Strats didn’t sound good at those settings. So Sutcliffe started using those guitars while testing the amps. But it was this sales rep who alerted Tom Presley, guitar-brand manager at SLM, to Sutcliffe and his hot pickups, circa 1987. A relationship between Dana and SLM ensued, and by ’88, Sutcliffe had his own “line” of Dana Westones outfitted in his shop with his electronics.

That was when the happy accident occured. In ’88, one of Sutcliffe’s employees was operating a pin router while working on a Matsumoku-made Westone body. The router hit a knot in the wood near the treble cutaway, damaging the body, which was then set aside. But overnight, another employee put a neck on it. The next day, it became the joke/”gash” guitar. Sutcliffe picked it up, played it, and hear amazing first – and – second string tone with no phase cancelation. He worked with it a little, including expanding the gash – and the Dana Scoop was born. As he experimented more, he discovered that the resonance he wanted only happened when the scoop appeared at the 24th fret.

Since his guitars were part of the SLM Westone line, Sutcliffe regularly attended the NAMM shows as part of SLM’s displays. At the Summer ’89 show, he displayed his new “scoop” creation – that is, until Bernard Kornblum, SLM’s owner, came over and forcefully urged Sutcliffe to put the guitar away. Kornblum had a feeling they could do something with the eye-catching design. Sutcliffe was allowed to show it to guitarists individually, but otherwise it was kept under wraps.

The following week, Kornblum and Sutcliffe agreed to develop the guitar for SLM. Kornblum had been urging Tom Presley to consolidate the electric guitars under the Alvarez banner, but Presley – and more importantly, pro guitarists – wouldn’t have it. However, the Scoop was a radical new idea, and it might just carry the change. Sure enough, the Alvarez Dana Scoop was introduced at the ’92 NAMM show, where it won the “Guitar of the Year” award. Rockers loved it, and a number of custom guitars were built, including one for Eddie Van Halen and three for Lita Ford, who endorsed the model. That year, the guitar was played by Marc Ferrari in the movie Wayne’s World, and it took off. Cort required a bit of time to get everything right, but by ’93 they were making what Wayne himself might grinningly call “Excellent!” Scoops.

Soon, SLM wanted more. So Sutcliffe set about designing the L.A. Scoop – a Strat-styled guitar – and the Nashville Scoop – a (what else?) Tele-styled model. These were made from 1992 – ’94.

Unfortunately, just as things looked brightest, the ride began to skid off track. Sutcliffe began paying more attention to projects with Crate and Ampeg than with Alvarez. Then, SLM began making changes he hadn’t authorized; the Modulus Graphite necks and the three-coil Tri-Sonic pickups were not his ideas. Cort, by the way, had purchased Mighty Mite pickups, so the Tri-Sonic was probably a descendent of the three-coil Motherbucker. Money issues began to come up, and in ’94 Sutcliffe attended his last SLM sales meeting. By ’95, the Alvarez Dana Scoop was history.

Alvarez Dana Scoop guitars are not especially rare, but they have a fairly rabid following. Between 2,000 and 3,000 regular Westone-shaped Scoops were produced, along with another 500 to 700 of the L.A. and Nashville variants. There were quite a few custom-made, as well, including many with graphics and carvings. Not a bad run for an accident!

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Intonation: Does your guitar play in tune?

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Intonation

If your guitar doesn’t play in tune read this article.

In the year 2012, factory manufactured guitars are made with incredible precision. For the most part, computerized machines make them. Clearly, there is still some handwork involved in the production process but fret slots, nut placement and bridge placement should be accurate. There will always be exceptions. Let us assume that those pieces of hardware are correctly installed on your instrument. Here is a list of adjustments you or a qualified repairperson need to check to insure that your instrument is properly intonated.

Is your nut carved correctly?

If have a locking nut go to the next item on the list. Locking nuts are made of hardened steel and rarely need to be replaced or carved. If your instrument has any other type of nut then read on.

You must check this adjustment first!

After approximately 6 months of playing most guitars, the string wears the base of the carved nut slot away from the face of the nut. The string is leaving its oscillation point further behind the nut face and increasing its scale length*. I have seen strings oscillate 1/16″ of an inch behind the face of a nut. It is very important to have your nut slots carved flush to the face. Sometimes your nut has to be replaced or shimmed if becomes to close to the first fret after carving. The bottom line is: A worn or incorrectly carved nut makes intonation difficult if not impossible. A good indication of a worn nut is when cords combining open strings and the first three fret are playing painfully out of tune. An example of this would be if a first position E chord plays in tune and an A or a D in the first position plays out of tune.

*What is a scale length? A scale length is determined by the distance between the face of the nut and a predetermined distance to the saddle. Common scale lengths are 24.75″ Gibson Electric Guitars, 25.5″ Fender Electric guitars, 34″ most long scale basses, 32″ most short scale bases. Acoustic guitar scale lengths are too numerous to detail. They usually run over 25″.

After the nut adjustment is complete you must inspect your frets.

Inspecting your frets is very important. Unless you own a Parker Fly you have to be educated about fret ware. Frets are usually made from a blend of steel and nickel. A guitar string is harder than the frets. Frets over time become dented. Little dips and crevasses will appear. The first signs of wear on most guitars appear on the first four frets. On basses it varies. If you are a funk player it will be on the upper frets where you slap. Then it will be where you finger your fret board most often. It all depends on the player and their technique. If the fret is not properly crowned the string does not leave the fret surface at the right point. Some frets on the fingerboard rarely exhibit wear. This is common, but you must balance the unworn frets with the dented ones. This is done by leveling or dressing the frets and then re-crowning them. A procedure done only by an experienced luthier* or repair person. If the frets are severely worn or you have a warped finger board that the truss rod can’t straighten then plaining and refretting the fingerboard is a must. You must have a straight neck that works with the truss rod in combination with properly honed frets to achieve accurate intonation. If you need to refret the fingerboard then you have a choice of picking a different style fret instead of the exact factory replacement.

*Caution: Always get referrals from past-satisfied customers for qualified Luthiers and repair people. Treat the process the same as if you were looking for a specialized doctor for yourself. A good repair person does not have to be a builder. They may also only specialize in certain types of repairs. There are many excellent guitar repair persons that don’t work with finishes, repair acoustics or work with electronics. That’s OK just get those referrals and try to inspect some past work they have performed. The same standard holds true for Luthiers. Often, a builder focuses on his own work rather than keeping up on the latest design changes made by the manufacturers. Ask if the repair center is factory authorized for warranty service.

Check the saddle or saddle blocks.

On acoustic guitars the saddle is made of bone or synthetic material. It must be carved so the string oscillates at a precise point. Exactly where that point is depends on the design of the bridge. Some manufacturers have the string leave the face of the saddle; others in the center. There are even compensated saddles designed to have every string oscillate at an exact intonated point. This can be custom made if accurate intonation is desired. It is not necessary however.

I have also seen many instruments with saddle slots carved incorrectly. It is very easy to fill the old slot and carve the correctly measured new slot into the bridge. If done by a skilled repair person it will be undetectable.

This is a part of the intonation process when servicing an acoustic guitar. So make sure you ask your repair person if they will check to see if the saddle is in the correct position and at the proper compensation angle.

The last thing you want to have looked at is the curve of the saddle in relationship to the radius of the fretboard. All of the above points are important for accurate intonation.

Electric guitars are more flexible in their adjustment. On most models you can individually adjust each saddle block for their height, length and over all balance to the fingerboard. Some saddle blocks are made of hardened steel and will never wear. Others need to be carved just like a nut. Most importantly, they have to be adjusted in order for your instrument to play in tune. Intonation rarely needs to be performed after it is done correctly the first time. Most electric guitar saddle blocks do not move back and forth from their positions on the bridge.

When do you need to adjust or check your intonation?

When you change brand, model or gauge of string. If you use a different string from your last intonation setting you need to intonate again.

Can you intonate your guitar yourself?

Yes of course you can. If all the correct adjustments listed above are made and you know your neck is straight. Then get your analog metered tuner and match your tuned 12th fret harmonic to the fretted note. If the fretted note reads to the right of center on the meter then your string is sharp and you need to move the saddle away from the neck. If the fretted note reads to the left of center on the meter then your string is flat and you need to move the saddle closer to the neck. If you play in a dropped tuning, intonate your guitar in that tuning. Not to standard tuning.

One more thing:

I almost forgot this one. Attention single coil players: Your pick-ups may be to close to the strings. Especially the 5th and 6th strings. If you have powerful or classic/vintage style single coil pickups they can effect intonation. Their magnetic field can pull the string sharp or flat. I always adjust the neck pick up lower than performing level when adjusting intonation.

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