Larry Holley Passes Away

Larry Holley talking about his brother Buddy Holly

Larry Holley, Buddy Holly’s oldest brother and last surviving sibling passed away on Thursday at age 96.

In His Own Words

In this Voices of History video, Larry Holley speaks from his home in Lubbock, Texas, about his brother Buddy Holly.

Rest In Peace, Larry Holley. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Holley Family.


The Night the Music Died

KCTV5 news reporter Amy Anderson transports you back to the Surf Ballroom and the Winter Dance Party.

Kansas City news reporter Amy Anderson and producer Zoe Brown interview two ‘teenagers’ who were at the Surf Ballroom on February 3, 1959 and then travel to Clear Lake, Iowa to file this exceptional story about ‘The Night The Music Died.’ Also, the story includes a connection to original Cricket rhythm guitar player, Niki Sullivan.

Link to the KCTV 5 News Report: Fans, descendants remember impact of ‘the day the music died’ 60 years later


Ladies and Gentlemen, The Beatles!

55 years ago tonight, February 9, 1964! It was a Sunday night, at 8:00 PM, on The Ed Sullivan Show. In just one hour everything changed! America met John, Paul, George and Ringo. While over 700 fans screamed inside the Ed Sullivan Theater, 73 million viewers watched the broadcast live at home on their black and white televisions.

Here is the introduction by Ed Sullivan.

All My Loving

I Want to Hold Your Hand

The Beatles Set List for February 9, 1964

1st Song Set

    • All My Loving
    • Till There Was You
    • She Loves You

2nd Song Set

    • I Saw Her Standing There
    • I Want to Hold Your Hand


Oak Crest Talent Show 1961

We enjoy receiving blog comments and emails from readers who are as passionate about music and guitars as we are here at Tone Gems. Recently, Ray Clearwater – who incidentally publishes 25 Years of Sears Musical Instruments on CD – shared a old photograph of his 1961 Junior High talent show.

Brand New 1984 DOD FX50 Overdrive

Just arrived! A 1984 DOD FX50 Overdrive Preamp in like-new condition, in the original factory box. There are plenty of these pedals out there, but this one has been barely used and came along with the original manual, papers, and schematic diagram. Plus, I got a great deal! Can’t wait to try this out and report back on the tone.

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.

Another Silvertone Christmas

Another Christmas; another Silvertone surprise!

Last year it was the snazzy electric Silvertone 1445 that showed up under the tree. This year it’s the diminutive 1956 model Silvertone 605 parlor guitar. It must have been misplaced in the back of Santa’s sleigh for some 55 years?

The 605 is a small body, short scale, acoustic flattop with a solid birch top, birch sides and back. These sturdy little guitars were made in Chicago, Illinois for Sears by the Harmony Musical Instrument Company. They were popular with the rhythm and blues crowd and they made great slide guitars. This one is in very good original condition with just a few minor surface scratches here and there. The size is perfect for traveling, so it will be a fun guitar to knock around and take anywhere.

The Silvertone 600 Series of parlor guitars were sold through the Sears Catalog continuously from 1948 through 1970 (that’s 22 years of production). In fact, a 1961 model of this guitar was played by Audrey Hepburn in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This 1956 model originally retailed in the Sears and Roebuck catalog for $10.95. Here is a cut from the 1956 Sears Catalog.

For more information about the Silvertone 600 Series and the 605, see and the Harmony Database.

Tags: 605, Audrey Hepburn, Birch Blues Box, Blind Willie Johnson, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Catalog, Django Reinhardt, H-605, Harmony, Leadbelly, Moon River, Robert Johnson, Sears, Silvertone, Slide Guitar

25 Years of Vintage Silvertone on CD

Here is a must-have for all vintage Silvertone fans. It’s a CD containing 25 years of Silvertone guitars, amps, and other musical instruments offered from the original Sears catalogs. The pages cover Silvertone products for each year from 1950 through 1975. The CD was created by Ray Clearwater of Morro Bay, California, and can be purchased on eBay or directly from Ray for $12.95, plus $2.00 shipping.

There are a total of 126 catalog pages all scanned at high resolution and saved as color JPEG’s. Also included are some articles compiled by Ray about Silvertone, Danelectro and music from the 50′s and 60′s. Ray says that this CD is a labor of his own appreciation and childhood memories. He adds, “It was my feeling that as I really enjoyed going back and looking through the guitar pages that I dreamed about as a kid, it might also be of at least some sentimental value to others as well.”

Here is the link to the eBay page: SILVERTONE – DANELECTRO – KAY – HARMONY – SEARS CATALOG PAGES 1950 TO 1975 ON CD. You can also contact Ray by email at

Here is a catalog page from 1964. This page is a real winner in itself! The black hollow-body is a sought-after classic, owned and played by Chris Isaac. The red one is a favorite of Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys. Both were built for Sears by Harmony in Chicago, Illinois.

The pages have been carefully scanned and contain invaluable information, specs and original prices of old Silvertone guitars and amps built by Danelectro, Harmony, Kay, Teisco, and others from the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s. It is definitely worth the $12.95 plus shipping.