Danelectro players Matt Worley and Tony Kelsey are guitarists in Saving Grace, a new venture also featuring Oli Jefferson on percussion and Suzi Dian and Robert Plant on vocals.
Saving Grace’s sound is a mix of powerful rhythms and lead lines, whilst the theme is also delicate and percussive, with four incredibly tight harmonies effortlessly delivered with finesse, depth and colour.
With a set made up from early American blues, Eastern and folk influences with swampy origins, bluegrass and Appalachian mountain songs, Matt and Tony chose Danelectro guitars for their all-around playability and sonic characteristics.
“Danelectro guitars are an integral part of the sound of Saving Grace”, says Matt. “Tony and myself are both playing Vintage ’56 Baritone models, we actually have four of them now all in various tunings. We listened to a lot of songs until we had a set list that suited the theme of the band musically, the idea being that we’d add interpretations to make them our own, which is really what this band’s about. We wanted guitars that both sound intricate, clear and tuneful played clean but with enough power to drive floor effects, reverbs, delays and overdrives for example.”
“One track in particular called ‘Season Of The Witch’ is a prime example”, says Tony. “This song has it all, with the guitars bathed in a psychedelic ambience and again, the Dano’s sound so good with both dry and wet effects.”
Matt continues. “The lipstick pickups sound gorgeous as we know, and they enhance the tight low end of these baritone guitars so well, especially when we tune to DADGAD with the bottom string tuned to a low A. We don’t have a bass player and for the style of music we are playing, these guitars more than fill that role and allows inventiveness for us to expand on ideas, and also freedom to work with Oli who is very creative on percussion.
We tried a lot of guitars in the early stages of Saving Grace, but the Danos just have their own natural, clean character, so we just kept coming back, nothing has the sound, resonance or playability and of course, they look great on stage. We’ve been thinking of including regular six string electrics up ahead, and they’ll certainly be from the Danelectro range.
There are many Dano’s to choose from now, but even the modern versions loaded with the original lipstick pickup designs, still have that iconic, crystal clear delivery that they’re associated with and I adore the central position with both pickups on together.
It’s uncanny how they both complimented each other in this band, especially when used with a capo up around the 5th or 7th fret, even up there, with the long string scale, they still have a unique sound.
Tony had a Dano Baritone long before me, and I didn’t really pay much attention to it until we started to get together at the launch of Saving Grace, it sounded so good I bought a Vintage ’56 straight away”.
“Like Matt said, we are using a variety of alternative tunings”, Tony explains. “Standard tuning is unheard of in Saving Grace, some we have customised ourselves which steers us away from run of the mill solo note runs and riffs. And again, the bottom end from these guitars is so tight and they have an amazing frequency range that compliments Suzi and Robert’s incredible vocal harmonies.”
Having started guitar production back in the 1950’s, Danelectro is now regarded by guitar players around the world as an iconic brand. Hollowed bodied, budget guitars constructed using Masonite, guitars that helped with the birth of rock and roll.
You have to be careful how you use the word ‘unique’, but as a guitar brand, Danelectro certainly is. Far from a company that could easily sit back on its laurels, Dano fans are always eager to try out new and exciting models which can be found at www.danelectro.com