Silvertone electric guitars and basses

Instruments branded by Silvertone

Silvertone was the brand given to musical equipment sold by the legendary Chicago retailer Sears, Roebuck and co. They sold guitars in huge volumes at significantly lower prices than the better known US brands, and although naturally not of equivalent quality, are still largely valued by collectors and musicians to this day. Most musicians who learned to play in the fifties and sixties will have had a Silvertone pass through their hands, and it is perhaps this nostalgia that keeps interest levels high.

Sears were, of course, a longstanding catalogue retailer, and had offered musical instruments at least as early as the 1920s, and guitars from the 1930s. The first solid body guitars appeared in 1954 - models 1361 and 1363 - really not long after the early solid body offerings of Fender and Gibson.

Sears did not produce instruments themselves; most Silvertone guitars were made by other American,(quite often Chicago) companies. Early guitars were produced by Danelectro (eg models 1375, 1377, 1303/U2, 1448, 1449) who had been making Silvertone amplifiers since the 1940s. Later guitars were produced by Harmony (1429), Kay, Valco and, later still, Teisco. Many of these guitars were direct analogues of instrument offered by the maker - such as Harmony's H19 Silhouette or the Kay Thin Twin, others were made exclusively for Silvertone.

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Jon Comment left 4th February 2018 19:07:55 reply
My first electric guitar was the 1452 (because it had 2 pickups) set and an Amp in the case, years later I gave it to a younger brother, years later I asked if I could get it back, he couldn't remember what happened to it. Hmm An irony in the story is I saved up had a $100 bill a lot of money in late 64 early 65 I went downtown to buy a used telecaster I heard about, for $75. They told me it was out no rental until Saturday, this was Monday money had been burning in that pocket for a week. That tele was likely a late 50's model, IF I had only known the future invention of the word vintage I would have waited. I left disappointed and thinking even if I wait to buy it I still won't have an amp, so I headed for Sears negotiated a great deal, the price tag said $105,plus tax, 2%, told the man I only had $100 bill and I needed bus fare and pak of smokes, I couldn't believe he said OK, he gave me the 50 cents back I needed and I was on my way with a guitar and Amp. The amp was a tank, my pal Bobby had a fender bass, no amp, so we both plugged in turned it all the way up and they both blared out. Its amazing it didn't blow the speaker or the amp. When Danelectro started up again I wrote to the son told him the whole story, he told me letters like mine had been pouring in from all over the country and beyond. They had quite an impact on him about how much his Dad and his guitars had an affect on music and so very many people. I think Danelectro and Sears had maybe the biggest impact on the rise of rock in the 60's than any other brand, the low price was in reach of any kid with a paper route or a lawn mower, garages all over pulsated, was years later I found out one of those a block away from the first one I played in was the original home of the Ventures. Maybe some day mine will find its way back home.
dennis Comment left 16th March 2015 19:07:10 reply
I have a Silvertone thin-twin 1382 from the early 50's. White headstock. Very little fret wear, frets are brass colored. Has a case, but it's rough. Would like to sell it if I could
scott Comment left 6th January 2014 18:06:46 reply
I recently came across a 1960's Silvertone 1450L Hornet that I have a few questions about if someone knows anything about them. I cleaned it up and put strings on it and its plays great. It's all there except the whammy bar. I've seen a couple of these on E-bay but there are some differences. The 2 i found have 3 bolt neck joints this one has 2. I read that the 2 bolt predate the 3 bolt. I'm trying to find out what year this guitar is. any help would be great. thanks
scott1962 Comment left 6th January 2014 18:06:34 reply
looking for info on a '60's model Silvertone 1450L Hornet I appreciate all the help i can get
Scott Heidelberger Comment left 6th January 2014 18:06:00 reply
I recently acquired an early '60's Silvertone 1450L Hornet. I've seen a couple of them on E-bay but the ones I have seen have a 3 bolt neck joint. This one has 2 bolts on the neck. I read that the 2 bolt pre-date the 3 bolt which puts it before 1964. I would love to find out more about this guitar. When I got it I cleaned it up and put new strings on it and this guitar plays great. The only thing missing is the whammy bar. Also there is no serial number or date on it that i can find. Might be something in the neck pocket but i don't want to take it off to find out. Any information on this guitar would be very much appreciated.
devaughn Comment left 6th January 2014 18:06:00 reply
got a silvertone only imprint is on neck x87989 cant find nothing about it is electric need info
Jacob Comment left 11th May 2013 07:07:16 reply
I am looking at a Silvertone 1420 for $600 with hershey bar, 9.1 k, single coil pick ups. Is this a good buy? I've heard these are valuable guitars.