Earl Scruggs, 1924-1988. Can't let
the day pass without paying respects to the banjo-playing man from Flint Hill, North
Carolina. He yelled "I got it!" when he figured out his revolutionary
three-finger approach to the instrument, and the banjo has not been the same
since. Steve Martin said "Before
him, no one had ever played the banjo like he did. After him, everyone
played the banjo like he did, or at least tried." Here's the
entire tribute Steve wrote back in January. Earl got his
first banjo from Montgomery Wards. Unlike Sears, whose banjos were
mostly Kay-made instruments, Monkey Wards banjos were made by
Gibson, who apparently did
a lot of
'jobber' instrument production in its early days.
Here's some video of Earl pickin'... two on the banjo, and one pickin'
the 6-string (tryin' his best to emulate the 'Carter Scratch') with Mother Maybelle
watch a RADIO?!?
Your brain must be loose!
Perhaps you'll like
With graphics by
This operational wall-mount AM/FM radio
went for $18 over the weekend. Also, check the wonderfully playful Dr.
Seuss spread in the 1970 Sears Wish Book. The 'Cat in the Hat'
radio is on the wall on the first page (see inset at the end of
the line), along with a wicker Yertle the Turtle (!) and other
great vintage items from the mind of the good Doctor.
Click on the pages to go to full size scans from the awesome
folks at WishBookWeb.
And one more Seussian sample... this one from "The
Lorax"... how about the Once-ler's
Alright... on to some certifiably scintillating
Harmonmy SBEG w/ OC VG $850 Clean, light
wear, whammy bar present, chrome shiny, logo strong, 'raincoat'
protector jacket incl., slight pickguard screw pull, ding on lower bass
side and upper treble side bout
FHAC VG $375 Clean, pickguard incl. but not
installed, light wear, logo laminate in good shape, later-era 'boater
hat' fretboard markers, nice graining to back
620 Kay FTAC G $400
Clean, playing wear to top, logo strong, some finish checking, neck's
the Lawman says "It had a New York Net Reset sometime
in its life.. this method of resetting the neck angle has been around
for a long time...this one is not recent...what they did was take the
neck off, shave a little of the neck heel down and put it back on,
re-gluing it, and putting a bolt thru the neck heel thru the neck block
to hold it all in place...we still use this method today and its called
the New York Neck Reset.. not sure where that came from, but there you
Kay FHAC G $111 Clean, some wear, pickguard
present, maroon logo strong, neck tight, edge binding loss, stamped 839
and N1, seller says "action is a little high"
1452Dano SBEG $106
*Sniff* I hope whoever rescued this jumble will restore it to some of
its former glory. Good luck! A 1451 pickguard was included, but the
whammy cavity, the triangle-plate three-bolt neck and the pickup
surround bezels all point to this being a 1452.
Harmony SSEG w/ C MOD $256 Nicely
refinished, 'A' for effort on the scrawled logo, mis-ID'd as pre-50s era
(the 1420 family was available from 1959-1962). Seller says
"THE NECK OF THE GUITAR WAS REPLACED SOME YEARS AGO, AND
AT THE TOP OF THE NECK WAS CARVED 'SILVERTONE' AND IT DOES LOOK
Well, I wouldn't go that far...
Shouldn't be Surprised, I reckon, at
this rarity from the weekend... Not the way this month has been churning
up the unusual Silvertonium. Here's one we've talked about this month in
our discussions of just-after-the-war instruments. It, too, appeared
with the Gretsch-made 714 and the
first 'Aristocrat' in those days of
scarce resources in 1946 as the only stringed instruments available from
Kay Banjo G $145 Clean, light wear, odd
staining to head, hardware dull, early 'chimeless windchime' logo
strong, seller says "The
neck shows a bow in it"
Some Mad Money flyin' around this
first week of spring! Here are a few of the big-ticket chunks of
Silvertonium that the auction gavel slammed down on, generating a
cartoon cloud of dollar bills...
First, there was this Harmo-Metal'd 'Espanada.' Not a Silvertone,
I know, but a close relative of the
Now, for some Silvertone-style amplifyin'! How about this fine
1483, a favorite of R.E.M.'s
Dano tube amp only E $690 Clean, minimal
wear, all stock
A lovely Harmony-made 1348 from the early '50s...
Harmony HBEG VG $950 Clean, light wear,
logo laminate looks good, pickup chrome a bit dull, uncommon 'edge
legend' knobs, NS bridge
A late-model Kay-made 'Aristocrat'...
642 / 651
Kay FHAC w/ C VG $800 Clean, light wear,
logo strong, NS pickguard
And lastly but not leastly, a Dano-built 1452 setup featuring a
1450 guitar. The faux-tortoise-shell multi-ply-pickguarded 1450 was
introduced all by itself in the 1965 Wish
Book, and then the white-finished-Masonite-pickguarded 1452 was
intro'd along with its ampcase in the
1966 Wish Book.
And, as always, it's feasible there was a little crossover between the
two guitars as this 1452 ampcase with tortoise guitar combo indicates.
Dano SBEG guitar with tube amp in case E $1775
Clean, minimal wear, whammy bar present, chrome shiny, two-bolt neck,
logo strong, tremolo functional
Is it a Blue Moon? Because that's
how often these Gretsch-made 714s come around! The US had just emerged
from its 'war footing,' and this Gretsch-built Silvertone, along with
the first 'Aristocrat,' the Kay-made
were the first guitars to appear in the pages of the Sear, Roebuck
catalogs in late 1946 after guitars not being available at all in
the catalog during the mid-1940s.
Gretsch FHAC w/ OC $220 Clean, light wear,
neck has hairline crack, some binding damage, chunk missing from B
string section of bridge, G tuner bent, inlaid logo looks good, original
pickguard present (bracket needs to be re-located underneath), serial
#7509, stamped "Gretsch Super Structure" internally
SXSWXS&S... that would be South by SouthWest by
Springsteen & SILVERTONE!!! Bruce Springsteen joined
Alejandro Escovedo, Joe Ely and Garland Jeffreysfor a few rousing tunes
Wednesday night after Ely asked "Is there a guitar player in the house? We
need another guitar player!" Bruce stepped up, strapped on a Silvertone
cut loose with the band.
SXSW keynote speech Thursday afternoon ('Stay hard, stay hungry'), and will be taking the E Street Band
out on the road in support of his great new album,
"Wrecking Ball." The
tour kicks off this weekend in Atlanta.
Check the videos as Bruce peels off a couple of sweet solos on "Midnight
Train" and then joins in with a rough-and-tumble take of "Beast of
Hat tip to Silvertonian Stuart P. Thanks!
Couple of Beauties Today from the
time when the Silvertone name had taken a firm hold in the Sears
catalog. It was just after World War II, and country-wide production
shifted gears from wartime to peacetime. For a couple of years in the
Sears catalog index, there was an asterisk beside "Guitars," indicating
none were available. Soon after the Allied Forces declared victory over
the Axis, production ramped back up, and after the scant three
instruments offered in the Fall/Winter 1946 catalog (one
Gretsch-made archtop, the first 'Aristocrat,'
and a couple of Kay-made
banjos) players all over soon had their choice of Harmony, Kay and
soon enough Danelectro-built instruments for their pickin' pleasure.
Harmony HBEG G $900 Clean, some playing
wear, logo laminate looks good, pickup cover chrome shows some dulling,
light rust to tailpiece, crack at bass side f-hole at the 'dot,' note
letters scratched into upper bass bout, date stamped F-48
Harmony Ukulele NM $185 Clean, minimal
wear, logo strong, original box incl.
Every Silvertone Ever™
marches on with a new page up for the black-finished 1302
Tax Refunds must be making their way into bank accounts.
Seriously, it's kind of been a lull the first part of
this year; wonderful things going unbought that normally would have been
snatched right up. This week, though... a flood of big money for
some choice Silvertonium. $1440 for a lovely 'Chris Isaak' 1446... $800 and then another
nearly eight bills for a couple of fine '1423
Jupiter' models... another eight hundred for a fine 1478, seven Benjamins for a
sweet peace sign-adorned 1452
ampincase setup, $330 for a seldom-seen 702. Even an 'E' rated Jelly Roll
Morton 78 disc on the Silvertone label went for $259.
Oddly, this Super Silvertone Automatic Battery Economizer didn't
bring its selling price of $5.99. I can only figure this was
some kind of automatic switch to turn your radio off after a preset time
if you liked going to bed with your Super Heterodyne musicmaker
I tweeted this, but forgot to leave a note here...
the next page in the Every Silvertone Ever™
effort is up! It's for the first of the 'U' shaped
Dano-built guitars, the bronze
1300 and 1301.
Heavy coat one day and shirtsleeves
the next... that's March for ya! The Silvertone deals are running hot
and cold, too... if you're looking for something, now's the time to sit
on the ebay auctions and cast your line!
Here's a guitar we see every now and again, and aside from those
shrinkage cracks at the waist, it's a fine example of this axe. It's the
only Silvertone to feature that particularly shaped headstock, so I
always know it as soon as I see it. Click the link on the model number,
it'll take you to a 1953 catalog listing that shows you its very rare
blonde sister as well. Also, here's a nice
flickr photostream for a 694 restoration project.
Harmony FHAC VG $255 Clean, light wear,
logo strong, stable shrinkage cracks on back at waist
Here's an example of the Dano that I'm currently working on a page
for, the single-pickup 1300. I'm pairing it up on the same page with its
much hard to find sister, the 1301.
Dano SSEG VG $430 Clean, some wear, logo
strong, scratch on back near neck screws, playing wear to neck, cracked
Well, it's not quite St. Patrick's Day,
but Silvertonian Steve reported some pot o' gold luck to me over the
weekend. He picked this up for $50 at his local pawn shop. Why,
yes, it is a super-rare 1485 double cutaway from
the late 60s. These were stamped internally (and in the case of this one
externally) with the 1454 (single
cutaway) number, but the catalog listed them as the 1485. Yeah, Steve,
you did OK.
On our march towards Every Silvertone Ever™ we've
posted a new page for the long, lanky 6-string bass,
the 1373. Go!
Here's some fun... these mahogany 656 models come along pretty
infrequently, and we got TWO over the auction wire within just a few
hours of each other over the weekend! Available for just a couple of
years in the mid-50s, these are rare birds indeed.
656 Kay FHAC w/ OC VG
$250 Clean, light wear, 'wind chime' logo on 'hump' headstock
strong, some discoloration/shrinkage to tuner buttons
656 Kay FHAC VG
$196 Clean, light wear, 'wind chime' logo on scalloped
headstock strong, NS tuners, some neck lift but joint is solid, earlier
version with heel cap
Another nice one as we begin this
rockin' and rollin' month... not as rare as that beautiful 1359 from
yesterday, but a jewel in its own right. It's the end-of -the-run
version of the venerable 1478. This Harmony-built axe from yesterday's
herd is the 'redfoil' 14781, neck-stamped as the 1480. Big knobs,
compensated bridge, and colorful inserts to the DeArmond pickups
separated this (and its blue-finished sister, the 14782) from the 1478s
that came before.
Harmony SBEG E $400
Needs a dusting, minimal wear, whammy present, stock strap buttons
present, chrome a bit dull, treble-side 'horn' pickguard screw
missing (possibly removed as a crack preventative), truss rod cover
intact, logo strong
And, something unusual and rare in this very modern
Silvertone-branded guitar case sold (briefly... they arrived in 1965 and
disappeared just as quickly; original price $7.95) by Sears.
742 UNK Case $49
Clean, light wear, latches/hinges sound, logoplate in good shape, some
pulling of fabric lining
This next one would have gone great on Valentine's Day, but love
knows no season, eh? It's a black with pinstripe Kay-made 658, with a
little historical inscription on the pickguard: "To Trina from Elmer...
Given to me by my husband on my 31st birthday, Aug. 21, 1976.... God
Bless my Husband... Love Forever." A little Googling revealed that Elmer
passed away last year at the age of 79. Trina is still with us, and I
sincerely hope that desperation didn't drive her to sell this guitar. By
the way, Elmer loved loved farming, carpentry work,
riding motorcycles, and talking on the CB radio.
Kay FHAC w/ OC $255 Clean, light wear, logo
strong, dot neck markers indicate 1966-198 production date, stamped
We've not looked at (well, hadn't SEEN) many amps
lately, so here's a beautiful 1484 'Jack White' that just went under the
gavel for a few Benjamins.
Dano tube amp and speaker cabinet E $800
Clean, minimal wear, NS tubes (orig. incl.), control face looks great,
cabinet/speaker stamping indicates Summer 1963 build, no footswitch,
rev/trem unmentioned but seller says "everything works as
Marching into the coming Spring,
we've got an exceptional find from today. It's a very early Dano-built
Silvertone, and a double-pickup'd one at that! It's the 1359, with a
visible fabric-wrapped truss rod, a glued on 'pickguard,' a very
seldom-seen 'gator'-laminated headstock (same material as the sidewall
strip, the 'truss wrap' and the pickguard), and a
not-seen-before-by-my-eyes plexi/screened logo plate! Look at the neck
shot, showing the painted aluminum rod making up a good portion of the
neck, and what look like plugged holes where the screws holding
everything together would be. Also, check the screw placement on the
back, with the neck screws set wide apart into the aluminum neck rod,
and the double screws holding the cavity cover on back. The pots dated
to the 45th week of 1954, so this is a very early example of this
guitar, as they were first offered in the Sears catalog in late 1955.
Dano SSEG VG $1374
Clean, some finish checking and wear to neck/headstock, some playing
wear to fingerboard and 'pickguard,' strap button missing, logo 'plate'
looks good, rhythm pickup cover split
Silvertone King Dex Romweber is
hitting the road with a few dates in the Eastern US with his sister Sara
on drums, and some guests from Norway, Orbo and the Longshots,
a rockin' bunch currently in the Top 20 of the Americana charts. I spoke
to him last night to see if he'd be taking his
1448 on the road with him. It was
damaged just before Dex & Sara hit the road last year for the big Dex Romweber Duo
cross-country tour, and he had to bring in his
Danelectro re-issue two-pickup guitar to take care of the onstage
six-string duties. I've seen the 1448 onstage recently, and wondered if
he'd be bringing ol'
out on the road.
"We're gettin' geared up to go, it's gonna be a good tour, for sure.
I've been using the re-issue (two-pickup Dano), but I am taking the '63
(1448)... more as a backup because the thing's getting so old and
gnarly, but I'm missing it, and last night I was thinking about it and I
wanted to maybe soup it up for the main part of the show, and I'm not
sure what I'm gonna do, but I am taking it."
Head over to the
Tour Page to get venue/show info and to keep tabs on the tour with
photos and video.
grinnin' while you're pickin'
with our exclusive new Silvertone World Custom Picks!
Head over to the Pick Store
and grab a dozen or two in the bulk pack for some serious
Silvertone-flavored strummin', all at great prices and free
shipping on US orders.
/ MANUFACTURER / INSTRUMENT TYPE /
CONDITION / PRICE /
Abbreviations: M-Mint, NM - Near Mint, E-
VG- Very Good, G- Good , F-Fair, P-Poor, NS-
HBEG- Hollow Body Electric, FHAC- F-Hole Acoustic, FTAC-
Flat-Top Acoustic, SBEG- Solid Body Electric, SSEG-
Semi-Sold Electric, MIJ- Made In Japan, MOD - Modified
significantly from stock, w/ O/C Original / Case, DNS -
Did Not Sell; used mainly to show an item of interest whether it sold or
Unless otherwise noted, I'm rating them by what I see in the pictures
and read in the description.
The items depicted on this page are not for sale by Silvertone World.
These are reviews of items from completed ebay auctions on or around the
Links in blue
open in a new window, and take you to a Silvertone World info page, a
period catalog listing, or a link of interest.