Employee Built Bellzouki

Jim Womer worked for Danelectro in 1962-1963 stringing, tuning, and testing instruments before they were boxed for shipment. Jim also played guitar in a local band who had passed an audition to appear on the popular Ted Mack Amateur Hour.

He went to owner Nat Daniel with an offer to have his band use Danelectro instruments on the show. Mr Daniel liked the idea and Jim’s band did the gig with Dano’s. After the appearance, Jim asked Mr. Daniel if he could purchase a Bellzouki, but modify the design of the production model to suit his needs. Nat agreed and the cost was to be taken out of his pay in installments.

He started with a single pickup Bellzouki 12 string, {the 1 pickup teardrop model 7010} and immediately notched "cut-outs" into the waist. He opted to mount the neck pickup appx. 3/4" closer to the neck than the production model as Jim explained, "for a slightly different tone" and also added a 2nd pickup in the bridge position. The input jack was moved from the stock front position to the bottom edge, and in place of the usual 3-way toggle, a 3 position rocker switch was installed. The knob configuration is borrowed from the upscale 2 pickup model "7020" Bellzouki, and in place of the stock "skate-key" style tuners usually found on this budget model, it has Kluson Deluxe’s. Jim decided not to install a headstock logo or the "Moustache" shaped Tortoise pickguard {which is in an envelope in the zippered pocket of the optional "Fully Padded Bag"}, but the metal badge body logo was mounted in the usual spot.

Jim said the following week he noticed that no deduction for his "custom" Bellzouki was taken out of his pay so he went to Mr. Daniel and told him about the mistake. He said "Mr. Daniel looked at me , smiled, and said "It’s paid for". --- Doug Tulloch.

Photo: Doug Tulloch