John Lennon’s Gretsch Up for Auction

John Lennons Gretsch Chet Atkins 6120

The guitar John Lennon played on Paperback Writer

Guitar Player magazine (www.guitarplayer.com) is reporting that John Lennon’s Gretsch 6120 will be auctioned in November. This is the same guitar that was played by Lennon in April 1966 while recording The Beatles hit “Paperback Writer.” It is estimated that the guitar might fetch as much as $1 million!

The early 1960′s Gretsch is a Chet Adkins model with a pair of Gretsch FilterTron humbuckers, gold-plated hardware, Space Control bridge, and a Bigsby B6-C.

Here is the link to the article: John Lennon’s ‘Paperback Writer’ Gretsch Could Fetch $1M.

According to the Gretsch Guitar Database maintained at The Gretsch Pages, it is a 1963 Chet Adkins 6120, serial number 53940. Link to database here: 1963 Gretsch 6120: 53940.

The Guitars – Chapter 7 (Part Two of Two)


The Guitars – Chapter 7. The Guitars is a 15-part series of videos featuring the fantastic guitar collection of Mike Campbell, lead guitarist for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Here is the continuing story of Mike’s many Rickenbacker guitars, and one very special model built in 1967.

Keywords: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, TPATH, Mike Campbell, George Harrison, The Beatles, Rickenbacker, Guitars.
Hashtags: #TomPettyandtheHeartbreakers, #TPATH, #MikeCampbell, #GeorgeHarrison, #Beatles, #Rickenbacker, #Guitars.

Comments

The Guitars – Chapter 6 (Part One of Two)

The Guitars – Chapter 6

The Guitars, is a 15-part series of videos found on Tom Petty’s website (www.tompetty.com) featuring Mike Campbell’s collection of guitars. Here is Chapter 6, the story of the Rickenbackers…

(Sorry for the advertising. It’s not me; it’s built into video)

The story continues. Click here for Chapter 7.

Keywords: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, TPATH, Mike Campbell, George Harrison, The Beatles, Rickenbacker, Guitars.
Hashtags: #TomPettyandtheHeartbreakers, #TPATH, #MikeCampbell, #GeorgeHarrison, #Beatles, #Rickenbacker, #Guitars.

Comments

Univox Coily U1825 Electric Guitar

Univox Coily U1825 Casino

The Univox Coily Hollowbody Electric – A True 1970’s Sleeper

The Univox Coily is one example of a guitar that no one wanted in the 70’s, but would die for today. This thing just rocks!

Back in the 70’s, Univox was known as the U.S. distributor of Marshall amps… and… that’s about all they were known for! They did have their own line of guitars and amps, but most everyone wanted to rock a Les Paul with their Marshall, not a Univox, or even a Fender for that matter.

But the Coily has that Epiphone Casino-like mojo. It’s a full hollow body Maple thin line guitar, with a pair of P-90 type pickups, similar to John Lennon’s Casino. And these pickups are hot!

The 1975 Coily featured a flamed Maple body, fully bound, in a sunburst finish, P-90 type pickups, a ball-bearing Vibrato arm (Whammy Bar), Matsumoku’s three-piece Maple neck, Rosewood fingerboard with Pearloid “Box” inlays.

The Coily was based on the Epiphone Casino, made popular in the 1960’s by The Beatles. John Lennon was the first Beatle to get one; and later Paul and George each got their own. The Casino was the only guitar that was owned and played by all three. You can see John playing his Casino in several Beatles films and videos. But the Abbey Road Rooftop Concert might be the most famous, with John playing it during their recording of “Get Back.”

Specifications

  • 1975 Univox Coily
  • Model number U1825.
  • Full Hollow body thin line body (no center block), arch top, electric.
  • Maple ply top, back and sides.
  • Bound body with Flamed Maple finish.
  • Sunburst body in Orange, Red, and Jade Green (rare color).
  • P-90 Pickups (made to look like Humbuckers).
  • Separate volume and tone controls for each pickup.
  • Three-way pickup switch.
  • Black pick guard.
  • Ball-bearing Vibrato Tailpiece.
  • Made in Japan by Matsumoku, mid 1970’s.
  • Similar to Epiphone Casino, Epiphone EA250, Epiphone 5102T.
  • Original sale price: $122.50.
  • A bass guitar version of the Coily was also available.

Photos: The Univox Coily

 

Thanks!

Previous Comments

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Simpson April 19, 2017 at 11:57 am

I have the same model, but in green sunburst , serial#0166981 can you tell me how many were made in green?

REPLY

alex April 30, 2017 at 9:53 pm

Hi Michael,

The Japanese guitar factories didn’t maintain accurate records back then, so it’s hard to know. Sunbrust green does seem to be more rare. I would guess that they made about 1 green Coily for every three or four cherry sunburst.

~alex

REPLY

1965 Murph Bass Guitar

How rare is this?!

A 1960’s Murph bass guitar. King of the “made-in-a-garage-in-California” #BudgetBrand guitars. Designed and built by Patrick Murphy for a brief time in the mid 60’s.

eBay Link: VINTAGE 1965 MURPH BASS GUITAR SUNBURST FOUR STRING RARE PATRICK MURPHY

More info about Patrick Murphy and Murph guitars: Murph Guitars

Lyle C-600 Acoustic Guitar

Lyle C-600, 000-size Acoustic Guitar

Say hello to Lyle

The Lyle C-600 is an excellent 1970’s reproduction of the Martin 000-18 guitar. The C-600 was made in Japan at the Matsumoku factory and sold in the United States by L.D. Heater Music Company of Portland Oregon.

This particular guitar came to me as a gift from my family last Christmas. My son found this Lyle online at a Goodwill Store in Seattle. When the guitar finally arrived, it looked a bit rough: with a few scuffs, marks, dings, and plenty of scratches. Not to mention a few decades of dust!

The passing of time had not been kind to this Lyle, which resulted in a bowed neck. Poor Lyle. Here’s a picture of Lyle the day he arrived in his original chipboard case.

A New Life

Lyle spent quite a bit of time earlier this year at Barrett Coughlin’s repair shop. Barrett straightened Lyle’s bowed neck, lowered the bridge saddle, treated the fingerboard, filed and polished the frets, and generally brought this old instrument back to life.

A Good Build

  • Crafted in Japan, in the Matsumoku factory.
  • Imported and sold by the L.D. Heater Co. of Portland, Oregon.
  • 000 size.
  • Solid Spruce top.
  • Martin X-bracing.
  • Laminated Mahogany sides and back.
  • Mahogany neck.
  • Rosewood fingerboard and fixed bridge.
  • Simple Dot inlay markers.
  • Inlay headstock.
  • Black (vinyl?) pickguard.
  • Cheap tuners.
  • Unknown (plastic?) nut.
  • Chipboard case.

Silvertone 1445 Electric Guitar

A Vintage 1970 Silvertone MIJ Copy of the Mosrite Guitar

Silvertone 1445 GuitarThis crazy looking solid-body electric guitar is ready to play surf, jazz, classic rock or county, and is simply a kick to play! The exquisite Silvertone 1445 (I mean, by dept. store standards of course) was hand-crafted by Teisco in Japan for Sears. The body style is an excellent Teisco version of the 1960’s Mosrite of California guitar played by rock Hall-of-Famers, The Ventures (Walk, Don’t Run and Hawaii Five-O).

Sears 1969 Catalog Page 929The Silvertone 1445 first appeared in the Sears catalog in 1968, and hung around in a few variations through the early 1970’s. It has three very loud single-coil (“Hound Dog”) pickups wired in series just like the old Danelecto models. The fast, low-profile solid Maple neck with Rosewood fingerboard sports medium to low action and is easy to play. The growling Teisco “Hound Dog” single-coils have lots of bite, and the solid poplar body has plenty of sustain. Of course, the single-coils and non-shielded wiring can be a bit noisy if you’re not careful, but easy to avoid. And I must say that the hand-painted sunburst finish over the flamed Maple; the contoured German carve body with tortoise shell pickguard; and intricate triple-layer celluloid binding makes this guitar a stunning sight to see.

Silvertone 1445 Guitar Body
Silvertone 1445 Guitar

The 1445 represents the pinnacle of Teisco’s contribution to the Sears Silvertone line. All high quality materials and workmanship. It has the following specifications and features:

  • Body: Morite-style, celluloid bound, fully contoured, flamed Maple over basswood with German carve; sunburst (yellow-red-mahogany) high gloss polyurethane finish; tortoise shell celluloid pickguard.
  • Neck: Bolt-on solid Maple neck with Brazilian(?) Rosewood fretboard, Pearloid block inlays and triple bound celluloid edge (w/b/w); 25½″; 22 frets with zero fret; 1-5⁄8″ at nut.
  • Pickups: Three Teisco single coil “Hound Dog” pups wired in series (loud, louder, loudest); 3 slide switches plus tone boost switch for 7 pup combinations; 3 volumes and 1 master tone control.
  • Headstock: Solid Maple; black nitro-lacquer finish; block style logo.
  • Tuners: 6 in line; sealed; made in Japan.
  • Vibrato: Teisco tremolo bar.
  • Bridge: Teisco adjustable roller bridge; chrome cover.
  • Dimensions: Length 41½″; Body 19″; Upper Bout 12½″; Lower Bout 14½″; Thickness 2″ at base of neck.

The Silvertone 1445 Photo Gallery

Here are some photos of the 1445 taken with the Silvertone 1421 (Sears 10XL). The 1421 is a 10-watt tube amp that was also offered by Sears around the same time. These two instruments were often bundled and sold together as a set around Christmas time (the Sears Wishbook).

 

Silvertone 1445 Guitar Schematic Diagram (by randoid.com)

Silvertone 1445 Guitar Schematic Diagram

Special thanks to Randy (randoid.com) for helping fix the electronics and getting it back into stock, playing condition!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

larry tiedemann November 7, 2012 at 3:04 pm

i own a 68 model that i refinished in 2004.i should not have done that but the end result looks great and at the time i only paid 85$ for it.it was my first experimental guitar.i learned about guitar construction,electronics,it taut me every thing i know about guitars today.i could build one from scatch if need be.if you want to check out a photo go to my facebook page.

REPLY

alex November 7, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Hey Larry, that’s a great looking refinish you did. Love that guitar. Thanks for dropping by and sharing. ~alex

REPLY

1970 Silvertone 1445 Mosrite Copy Guitar

Silvertone 1445 Electric Guitar

A Vintage 1970 Silvertone MIJ Copy of the Mosrite Guitar

Here is the latest addition to the Tone Gem galaxy of stars: a vintage 1970 Silvertone 1445. Also known as the Silvertone Mosrite Copy, made in Japan by Teisco. Picked this one up in Seattle from John, another Silvertone collector. The 1445 represents the pinnacle of Teisco’s contribution to the Sears Silvertone line. All high quality materials and workmanship.

This crazy looking solid-body electric guitar is ready to play surf, jazz, classic rock or country, and is simply a kick to play! The exquisite Silvertone 1445 (I mean, by dept. store standards of course) was hand-crafted by Teisco in Japan for Sears. The body style is an excellent Teisco version of the 1960′s Mosrite of California guitar played by rock Hall-of-Famers, The Ventures (Walk, Don’t Run and Hawaii Five-O).

Sears 1969 Catalog Page 929The Silvertone 1445 first appeared in the Sears catalog in 1968, and hung around in a few variations through the early 1970′s. It has three very loud single-coil (“Hound Dog”) pickups wired in series just like the old Danelecto models. The fast, low-profile solid Maple neck with Rosewood fingerboard sports medium to low action and is easy to play. The growling Teisco “Hound Dog” single-coils have lots of bite, and the solid poplar body has plenty of sustain. Of course, the single-coils and non-shielded wiring can be a bit noisy if you’re not careful, but easy to avoid. And I must say that the hand-painted sunburst finish over the flamed Maple; the contoured German carve body with tortoise shell pickguard; and intricate triple-layer celluloid binding makes this guitar a stunning sight to see.

Silvertone 1445 Guitar and Sears 10XL Tube AmpThe 1445 represents the pinnacle of Teisco’s contribution to the Sears Silvertone line. All high quality materials and workmanship. It has the following specifications and features:

  • Body: Morite-style, celluloid bound, fully contoured, flamed Maple over basswood with German carve; sunburst (yellow-red-mahogany) nitrocellulose lacquer finish; tortoise shell celluloid pickguard.
  • Neck: Bolt-on solid Maple neck with Brazilian(?) Rosewood fretboard, Pearloid block inlays and triple bound celluloid edge (w/b/w); 25½″; 22 frets with zero fret; 1-5⁄8″ at nut.
  • Pickups: Three Teisco single coil “Hound Dog” pups wired in series (loud, louder, loudest); 3 slide switches plus tone boost switch for 7 pup combinations; 3 volumes and 1 master tone control.
  • Headstock: Solid Maple; black nitro-lacquer finish; block style logo.
  • Tuners: 6 in line; sealed; made in Japan.
  • Vibrato: Teisco tremolo bar.
  • Bridge: Teisco adjustable roller bridge; chrome cover.
  • Dimensions: Length 41½″; Body 19″; Upper Bout 12½″; Lower Bout 14½″; Thickness 2″ at base of neck.

The Silvertone 1445 Photo Gallery

Here are some photos of the 1445 taken with the Silvertone 1421 (Sears 10XL). The 1421 is a 10-watt tube amp that was also offered by Sears around the same time. These two instruments were often bundled and sold together as a set around Christmas time (the Sears Wishbook).

Schematic Diagram

Silvertone 1445 Guitar Schematic Diagram
Silvertone 1445 Guitar Schematic Diagram (by randoid.com)

Special thanks to Randy (randoid.com) for helping fix the electronics and getting it back into stock, playing condition!

 

 

 

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Terry January 30, 2011 at 11:51 am

Hey just wondering what these models are worth. I picked one up from a guy in Alberta, Canada. I paid $125 for it. The electrics are alot crackily but they still work. Everything else is in good shape with the usual nicks and bumps. It also came with an old hard case. Looks a little big for the guitar but it looks old. It has a very thin red plush interiour. Not sure if I will get a reply if you reply through this web site so if you could reply directly to my email address [address removed].

Thanks Terry

Terry

REPLY

alex January 30, 2011 at 12:40 pm

Thanks Terry for visiting the site. I have responded to your question by email, as you requested.

Alex

REPLY

frank December 15, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Hi my name is frank i have had mine for about 20 years i haven,t picked it up in years whats 1 of these worth model #319.14459 japan silvertone mosrite copy/tone gems

3

REPLY

alex December 15, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Hi Frank. Thanks for visiting the website! I have been following the prices for this guitar on eBay and craigslist for about 2 years. The asking prices have been all over the place. Its value really depends on the condition and the amount of original hardware. A lot of these guitars have lost their whammy bar and chrome bridge cover. A decent price for one like mine would be around $450, or even more.

REPLY

cornbread April 13, 2012 at 7:46 am

Hello sir, I have one of these but it has the holographic atomic symbol headstock. Do you know the difference? Here’s what the headstock looks like: http://www.mandolincafe.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=52948

REPLY

alex April 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm

@cornbread
Yes. Even though the headstock and logo changed over a short time span, these guitars are all the same model. Sears started using the atomic SR logo in ’71. Therefore, your guitar would have to be a 1971 model, or later.

REPLY

Ian June 27, 2012 at 8:11 am

Hello,

I have this Silvertone-teisco 1445L guitar.

What is a fair price for this type of guitar is good condition?

REPLY

alex June 27, 2012 at 8:28 am

Hi Ian. Thanks for the inquiry. I have answered your question via your hotmail address. ~alex.

REPLY

peter September 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

I’m about to purchase one of these 1445 Silvertone’s, it is a 1969 and in perfect condition other than the tremelo bar is missing. Do you know if these are easy to get hold of?

Thanks

Peter

REPLY

alex September 5, 2012 at 10:43 am
alex September 5, 2012 at 10:45 am

Peter, congrats! Send us some photos of your new guitar after you get it.

REPLY

Billy Decker December 1, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I’ve had my Silvertone 1445 since1974 and it still plays. It was my first electric guitar. Bought it from a friend of mine with a Sears tube amp but the amp got stolen. Saw one on Ebay for almost $500. Bought both amp and guitar for $40. Missing my bridge cover. Never got a case with it and the only thing it fits in is a coffin bass case.

REPLY

Paul Chesney April 12, 2013 at 9:41 am

Want even better Mosrite-like sound from the 1445? Bypass the other two pickups and wire the bridge pickup straight to the input jack. Even better, replace the bridge pickup with an M3 or California “RH-100″ Wow! No need to drop $6,000 to get that Mosrite Mark 1 sound.

REPLY

alex April 12, 2013 at 10:29 am

Awesome mod! Love getting comments like this. Thank you Paul!

 

Andrew December 8, 2013 at 11:25 pm

 

Hey,

I just bought one of these on eBay for $250. The differences are that the headstock is almost like a generic block but the top of the head is shaped like a wave. Another difference is there is no white lining surrounding the edge of the body. The pearl inlays stop at the 17th fret, there are actually two separate smaller inlays on the 12th fret, and the paint job and finish covers the entire guitar including the back of the neck and back of the headstock. My questions are what year was this model made? Also, it’s missing a volume knob, the whammy bar, and the original bridge so I’m also wondering where I could find these parts?

Thank you very much

REPLY

alex December 9, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Andrew,
Congrats on the new guitar! Is it a 2 pickup or 3 pickup version. A 3 pickup is model 1445 and the 2 pickup version is a 1440 or 1441. From your description, it sounds like it might be a 1971 or 72 model year.

The guitar was built in Japan at the old Teisco factory, which was owned by Kawai by that time. You can search for parts on eBay by searching for “Teisco knob” or “Teisco whammy bar.” The is a seller on eBay to offers new reproductions of the original Tesico parts. That seller go by the name ezpz-parts. I have not purchased from that seller so I cannot endorse. But the parts look pretty good.

Good luck and enjoy your new find!
Alex

REPLY

Andrew December 10, 2013 at 9:02 am

Thanks! I’ve already found a teisco old style tremolo and spring. The seller you mentioned has some good stuff. I even picked up a new strap. The one I bought is indeed a 3 pickup. I’ve seen more than a few of these recently and a lot of them seem to have small variations. I’m not sure if they were moded that way or actually made that way. First time I saw this guitar I instantly fell in love. Then that love went to a whole new level when I heard what it’s capable of. Vintage just has a feeling that not even repro can give you. I have a lot of years left and this will for sure be my #1 guitar out of any others I get in the future.

Thanks again!

REPLY

alex December 11, 2013 at 10:15 pm

Glad that you love the guitar and are finding the parts you need. Enjoy!

REPLY

 

Jayson May 12, 2014 at 11:31 am

 

I bought one of these guitars back in october and I love its uniqueness.
However my is slightly different.
Mine has a big almost flag shaped headstock with 3 tuners on each side, and doesn’t have binding all the way around the body. Does this make it an older/new model?
Also what are all the woods that make it up? I don’t think mine has the maple top. so what’s the body and neck?

REPLY

alex May 26, 2014 at 4:58 pm

Jayson, thanks for the comments. From your description, it might be the last version, about 1972, I believe.
~alex

REPLY

 

James November 11, 2014 at 8:56 am

 

Hey there, I own a Silvertone 1445 (actual SN is 16877) but the wammy bar and tail bridge are destroyed and missing. Where can I get a replacement? Is it possible or do I need to add a new one on?

thanks for any and all help.

cheers

James.

REPLY

alex November 17, 2014 at 8:30 pm

James, thanks for posting your comment! The parts you need can probably best be found on eBay. Check out the seller named ezpz-parts.

Here’s the wammy bar: http://www.ebay.com/itm/TEISCO-SILVERTONE-TREMOLO-ARM-60s-VIBRATO-WHAMMY-ARM-FITS-MANY-OTHERS-TOO-/251715391093?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a9b680e75

But don’t know about the tail piece and bridge. You might have to buy another Silvertone 1445 to get the parts off it.

Good luck!
~alex

REPLY

 

Randy Doran August 26, 2015 at 5:25 am

 

I own one of these great guitars. Silvertone from Sears. 1445 model I believe
It is in mint condition and sounds great with the original pickups.
I am missing one volume knob and would really like to get one to make this guitar
good as new. Any idea where I could get an original knob?

REPLY

alex September 20, 2015 at 9:04 am

Hi Randy!
These knobs for this guitar are rare and hard to find. Occasionally one will appear on eBay. That’s your best bet.

Good luck!
~alex

 

Brand New 1967 Teisco EP-7, Checkmate Amp

Drop dead, new old stock guitar, amp and accessories.

A guitar time capsule discovery. While out trolling the flea marts, pawn and antique shops today, Jon and I ran into this absolutely beautiful 1967 Tesico EP-7. It came with its original matching Checkmate 12 amp, guitar strap and cables. It was entire ’67 Teisco electric guitar starter package, minus the original gig bag (but the seller might have had that hanging around, too). Even though the set was 45 years old, the guitar and amp were as new as the day they came out of the Teisco factory. Someone must have received the set back in ’67 and then locked it on a closet. The nitrocellulose finish was perfectly glossy, the chrome was gleaming, and the rosewood fingerboard and brass frets appeared to never have been played before today. We did hear some hum coming from the solid-state Checkmate 12, but that may have been caused by the super-cheap unshielded guitar cable we were using. The EP-7 sounded just “OK” through it’s little solid-state amp. But when we plugged it into a ’47 Harmony tube amp, those two single coil pickups really began to shine. We were impressed by this little guy. It was the find of the day, and maybe the year.

Sears Silvertone 605 Parlor Guitar

Sears Silvertone 605 Guitar

A Guitar for the Masses

From its humblest beginnings, to becoming the most produced, most purchased, and most played guitar in America during the 20th Century. From the factory in Chicago to the working plains of Texas and Oklahoma, to the Mississippi Delta, Louisiana Bayou, back to the blues clubs of Chicago, and then the garage bands of the 60s, this little birch box guitar was there.

This is the ubiquitous Silvertone 605 flattop acoustic guitar sold by Sears in catalogs and stores from about 1948 to 1970. It’s a 3/4 size all-Birch ladder braced body with a Cherry-burst finish, a solid Maple neck (no truss rod) with Ebony stained fingerboard, small brass frets, a carved hardwood nut, Waverly-type open tuners, a floating wooden bridge, a metal tail piece, and  stenciled (!) Silvertone logo on the headstock. The “binding” is simply paint. No pickguard – not even a painted on one! The scale is about 25-1/4 inch. Built like a tank!

These simple little Birch boxes take you back to early days of the Delta Blues. Think of guys like Leadbelly, Robert Johnson and Blind Willie Johnson. Although they probably never had one of these Sears models from the Catalog, they played something quite similar. And for today, think of new folk artists like Mumford and Sons.

Similar to it’s parlor cousin, the Stella H929 built by Harmony in their Chicago factory, the 605 was a simple  no frills instrument targeted to the entry level player on a tight budget. If you ordered one of these from the Sears Catalog in the 50’s, it would arrive in a cardboard box with a set of plain steel strings, a string for a strap, and a brief instruction book.

More Damage than Good?

Unfortunately, these Sears guitars might have done more damage than good! Due to the crude factory setup, high action, and an inexperienced user, these guitars were quite hard to play right out of the box. So, who knows how many young aspiring guitar wannabes were discouraged and eventually quit? But, in the hands of an experience player, these little gems still have potential to create some nice bluesy tones. Especially with a slide.

This particular 605 was built in 1956. When it arrived on the doorstep (eBay!), the neglect of its previous owner was obvious. The strings were rusted, the tuners were frozen, the bridge was wrong, and the intonation was way off. A “pluck” and a “boing” was about all she had for sound. But physically overall, this instrument of almost 60 years was in great condition and the Cherry-burst finish was pretty. I slapped on some new strings and then moved the bridge to get (mostly) correct intonation. Well (sigh), the high action was still there but still quite playable. And tuned down to D, and using a slide, this guy can sound pretty darn good.

I think in the future, we’ll will try a bone nut and a real bridge with a real saddle, to see how it might improve? So check back for another posting.

Sears Silvertone 605 Guitar HeadstockSears Silvertone 605 Guitar Body

From the 1956 Sears & Roebuck Catalog: “Silvertone flat top guitars… carefully constructed from choice, select woods. Great ‘party makers,’ deep mellow tones — fine for vocal accompaniment.”

Sears 1956 Catalog Page of Silvertone Guitars

 A Very Long Run

Noted for its popularity, low cost, and longevity, the Silvertone 600 Series enjoyed the longest run of any guitar series in the Sears Catalog during the 20th Century. The 605 appears in the oldest catalog that I have, which is a 1950. But according to Randy at Silvertone World the 605 began its run as early as 1948, and appeared continuously in every annual catalog until 1967 (19 years), at which point Sears just changed the model numbers from 600’s to 1200’s, and continued selling them through 1970. With a 1948 catalog price of $8.95, it was Sears lowest priced guitar, and therefore extremely popular. The Silvertone 605 was built for Sears by the Harmony Company in Chicago, Illinois. It was very similar to it’s Harmony cousin: the Stella H929.

The 605’s solid Birch top has a Cherry-red sunburst finish. The sides and back are also solid Birch, which gives this guitar it’s woodsy tone. The floating bridge is a hard-carved, sanded and stained piece of hardwood (probably also Birch). The tail piece is of punched steel with a nickel finish. The set neck is solid piece of hard Maple. The fingerboard is just the face of the same solid Maple neck and is Ebony stained to appear as Rosewood. The dots in the fingerboard are painted. The frets are brass and quite small. The darkly stained head stock has open tuning machines, three per side, with white plastic buttons. The top of the head stock is simply adorned with a stenciled Silvertone logo, which is the older 1950’s style logo.

Silvertone 605 Specifications and Features

  • Model #605 (Tobacco-burst finish), #603 (Blonde, or natural, finish), became the #1200 in fall 1968 thru 1970.
  • Size/Scale: Standard size (sometimes referred today as 3/4 or “parlor size”); 24-1/4″ scale; 18 frets, neck meets body at 12th fret.
  • Body: Solid birch top, sides and back. Ladder braced top. Painted edge binding and soundhole. No pickguard. Hardwood strap button.
  • Neck: Solid Maple, non-reinforced, set neck with ebonized (stained) fingerboard, painted position markers 1-3/4″ wide at nut. Hardwood (birch, poplar or maple?) nut.
  • Frets: Small brass frets.
  • Finish: Cherry-red stained semi-glosss sunburst, nitrocellulose lacquer finish.
  • Headstock: Solid Maple; black nitro-lacquer finish; block style logo.
  • Tuners: Waverly-style open gear tuners, three on a strip per side.
  • Bridge: Solid hardwood (birch?) floating bridge.
  • Dimensions: Length 36″; Body 13″; 3″ deep body.

Additional Resources

For more information about the Silvertone 600 Series and the 605…

Silvertoneworld.com and the

Harmony Database.

Chickenbone John demos and talks about Harmony Stella guitars:

Electrified Stella! JRGuitars demos a Stella with a vintage DeArmond pickup: