Seeing and playing a Dinette
guitar is very much like listening to XTC or
Jellyfish. Like the well-written and quirky songs
from those bands, Dinette doesn’t boast a huge
body of work, but each guitar is unique. This
model evokes the familiarity of classic guitars
from the ’50s and ’60s, but also offers a very
distinctive flavor that is totally “Dinette.” Dinette
guitars are built in a small and very secret shop
in Northern California that produces no more
than ten guitars a year.
This guitar—often referred to as “The Peanut”—
is made from the leaf of a yellow Formica “mother
of toilet seat” dinette table. Not a new-ish table
sourced from some cheap-o replica furniture
store, but a vintage table from somewhere
around the era of the Eisenhower presidency.
In fact, when you look closely at the guitar, you
can easily see knife and fork marks from decades
of use as some family’s actual kitchen table.
PLAYABILITY & SOUND
Ronni, the chief designer and builder of these
guitars, explained that the 20-fret neck is from
a ’60s Harmony Bobcat that he reshaped to
look more like a Harmony Stratotone (hence
the Harmony decal). In addition to the aforementioned
’50s dinette-table top, the back is
a thick ply of flamed maple, and the chambered
body is held together “Danelectro-style”
with grip tape and glue. The tuners are Grover-
inspired Alebards that have a cool diamond
shape to the grip and work smoothly.
The bridge is a ’90s Wilkinson with adjustable
saddles for the G and B strings.
Interestingly, Ronni used two single-coils
designed to be placed in the neck position for
both the neck and bridge pickups. As a result,
the neck tone is very full, the bridge really cuts,
and the dual pickup position sounds skinny,
out-of-phase, and scratchy like an old Motown
skank vibe. Every sound of out this “dual neck
pickup” guitar is terrific.
Although it’s a replica of sorts, this Dinette
plays way better than any 20-fret Harmony
I’ve ever come across. I’m not sure if it’s due
to the pitch of the neck and how it meets the
body, but the rather large neck fits snugly
in your palm and plays solidly and accurately.
I never get the feeling I’m playing
a budget or student guitar—this
“Peanut” plays and feels as great
as most pro guitars.
I paid $800 for this guitar last year.
For me, it was a total deal. This guitar
is extremely usable in both studio and
stage settings. The sound is so cool, in
fact, that I really wonder why some other
manufacturers haven’t offered two neck
pickups as an option. They really work
WHY IT RULES
There are a number of handmade
guitars available for
sale, but most Dinette guitars
are one-offs. Mine is musical,
whimsical, unique, and as
fun to play as it is to listen to.
You can find Dinette guitars
for sale online at dinetteguitars.
com, or sometimes at Pinterest,
Reverb, and Etsy.