Coral Sitar Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar, made by Danelectro (1967)

Coral Sitar Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar, made by Danelectro  (1967)
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Item # 9625
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Coral Sitar Model Semi-Hollow Body Electric Guitar, made by Danelectro (1967), made in Neptune, NJ, serial # 8017, crystaline paint finish, masonite and pine body, poplar neck with rosewood fingerboard, original black tolex hard shell case.

One of the coolest and most interesting oddball instruments of the 1960s, the Coral Electric Sitar has gone beyond novelty status and proved to be a practical and surprisingly timeless creation. It was the most elaborate of the many designs East Coast session guitarist Vinnie Bell created for Nathan Daniel's Danelectro organization in the 1960s. Wanting to use the sitar sound on sessions but not grapple with the complex instrument itself, Bell adapted the graduated "Sitarmatic" bridge that combines the Indian instrument's traditional buzzing, twangy tonality with the playability of an electric guitar.

Besides the six standard "play" strings tuned in standard guitar mode the Coral sitar offers an array of "drone" strings along the upper bout. These are designed to vibrate sympathetically with the notes being sounded, and can also be used for special effects. The three pickups each with individual tone and volume controls allow all the sounds to be easily blended. This instrument was only in production for less than two years before the untimely demise of Danelectro, and so is fairly rare today despite being rather popular when new. This is an early example with an internal 1967 date code on the neck heel and "Patent Pending' sticker on the back of the headstock.

In the 1960s, '70s and beyond the electric Sitar added its totally distinctive tone to many famous recordings in every genre from country to R&B and for a while was a must in every session guitarist's arsenal. This is still a very useful recording instrument, which can add a distinctive flavor to a wide range of music beyond its psychedelic roots. While widely imitated over the last couple of decades the original Vinnie Bell Coral Electric Sitar remains an off-the-wall classic that has yet to be bettered!
 
Overall length is 39 3/8 in. (100 cm.), 13 3/4 in. (34.9 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 25 in. (635 mm.). Width of nut is 1 3/4 in. (44 mm.).

This is a nicely original and fine playing example, with some general wear and tear but no alterations. The original textured "Bombay Red" finish has some minor chipping, dings and dents, mostly to the edges but no large areas of wear. There is minor corrosion to some of the metal hardware, but everything is original and complete except the rear upper plastic panel is a replacement; these are often cracked and indeed the original is still in the case, neatly split in half. The frets show very little wear and this Coral plays and sounds just as it should, with the classic buzzing tone they are famous for. Overall this is a wonderful creation and a fitting memorial to the oft-forgotten genius of Vinnie Bell, who passed away just recently. Excellent - Condition.