A rare 1966 Murph electric guitar surprisingly shows up on eBay, but that’s only part of the #AlmostFamous story. Read on…
1966 Murph Squire II-T
From the Listing
“Up for auction is a rare Murph Squire II-T made in 1966. These were produced between mid-1965 and around March or April of 1967 by Murphy Music Industries located at 1817 First Street in San Fernando, California. The company was owned by Patrick Murphy (1920-2009) who was born in Illinois, raised in Detroit, and settled his wife and 5 kids in California following World War II.”
Continuing the saga of how a WWII Navy fighter pilot-turned-entrepreneur to design and build his own brand of electric guitars in the 1960s. Guitar player and author of the book series Guitar Stories, Michael Wright tells the unique story of Patrick Murphy and Murph Guitars. The story is told here by Michael Wright in Vintage Guitar Magazine.
The Sears 60BXL (labeled as Silvertone model 1428) was a electric bass amp similar in design and appearance to guitar and bass amps built by Danelectro in the late 1960’s. It appeared in the Sears Catalog from 1971 through 1973. According to the catalog, the 60BXL was a two transistor-powered 60-watt (marketing hype) bass amp with a 15-inch speaker. It seems that very few of these amps were sold, maybe because the more powerful 200BXL met the needs of electric bass players.
Not much is known about these amps; they are rarely seen in the wild. Here is an image from the 1971 Sears Catalog.
Also known as the Teisco ET-460 or K4L “sharkfin” guitar.
Check out the photos of this super cool, vintage 1969, made in Japan, Sears Silvertone 1437. The 1437, more commonly known as the “Sharkfin Guitar,” has a mean-looking hand-carved body, four (4!) pickups, and a machine-striped solid aluminum pick guard. Sold in the U.S. by Sears & Roebuck in the late 1960s and early 70s as Silvertone model number 1437, it’s known in Japan and other markets as the Teisco ET-460 or Teisco 4KL. Could have been sold elsewhere under other names as well?
Made in the now-defunct Teisco factory of Japan.
This particular guitar was recently purchased from eBay seller mwbutler. The excellent photos below are by mwbutler.
DISCLAIMER: Bid at your own risk. We just like pointing out the cool guitars we find along the way on the World Wide Web. Tone Gems is not associated with the seller; nor have we inspected or played this instrument and make no claim to it’s condition.
Update: Just added some new shots of the chassis, tubes, board, Orange Drop caps, Fisher speaker, etc.
The Original 40XL
This page is dedicated to photos of our ’69 Silvertone 1422, also known as the Sears 40XL. We recently acquired this amp and found it to be one of the nicest 40XL’s we’ve seen in many a year. This Made-in-USA amp is totally original, right down to it’s late 60’s dark olive vinyl, green sparkle grille cloth, and a 12-inch Alnico magnet made by Fisher. The only cosmetic damage we could find is a bump (dimple) on the cabinet edge, right side of the control panel, and a chip off one control knob.
The 1422, or 40XL, was marketed by Sears as a 40-watt, 12-inch, combo tube amp for guitar. It features two separate input channels, and built-in reverb and tremolo. The reverb and trem are controlled by a dedicated foot switch. Sears advertised these as 40-watt combo amps. But in reality, the two 7189 power tubes put out around 20-watts or less. In fact, the features and chassis layout suggest that it could be an American copy of a the mid-60’s Marshall Model 1974, which was an 18-watt combo using two 6BQ5’s (EL84’s).
Summer of ’69
This amp was built, sold, and first played in the Summer of ’69. The code on the CTS potentiometers read “137-6919.” Decoded, that means “137” = Mfr’d. by CTS; “69” = Year Mfr’d. (1969). “19” = Week Mfr’d. (2nd Week of May).
How Does It Sound?
Well, it’s a loud 18 to 22 watts, that’s for sure. HUGE in the mid range, solid in the bass range, but not too sparkly or chimey at the high end. Poor speaker sounds like it’s wearing a heavy wool sweater. And there is a noticeable 60-Hz hum. But we will dig into it and find out what’s wrong.
Major improvements! We took the chassis out of the cabinet, cleaned and tightened all the loose connections, and relocated one unshielded cable sitting too close to the transformer (will completely remove that later). Now, the amp is almost silent when idling, the 60-Hz hum is completely gone, and frequency response at the high and low ends have improved!
These photos are little rough, and I hope to upload some better ones in the near future.
From the tail end of the vacuum tube era, a real Tone Gem in the genre of garage band tone.
Editor’s Note: This is Part One of a two part series on modifying the Silvertone 1421 guitar amp. This article is a work in progress, so please check back for additional info and updates.
The 1960’s Silvertone 1421 Combo Tube Amp (also originally sold as the Sears 10XL) is a great little vintage tube amp. It’s compact size makes it easy to carry to practice or a to small venue. It’s low 10-watt tube output (actually, closer to 5-watt) is perfect for the recording studio. It has two instrument inputs going into one channel, volume and tone controls, and a fantastic 12AX7 tube tremolo circuit, playing out to an 8-inch speaker. The sound here is definitely in the garage band category, but you can coax some great sounds out of this little guy.
The all-tube version of this amp was made from 1968 to 1972, and was later replaced with a all-transistor (solid-state) version in 1973. I picked this one up off eBay a few years ago. It’s a 1970 model and is all original, except for the brown speaker grille fabric (which is ugly!).
Below is a photo of my Silvertone 1421 after it first arrived. The vinyl covering, the controls, the faceplate were all in excellent condition for its age; no tears or scratches. The original vinyl handle was flexible and intact. The only problem this amp had was a stuck (frozen) power switch. I replaced the bad switch with a new heavy-duty toggle, and replaced the old two-prong power cord with a new grounded cord. When I powered it up for the first time it was amazingly quiet for an old tube amp.
The knobs and faceplate were in great condition. The handle was still flexible and firmly secured to the cabinet. But the original toggle switch stuck (frozen).
Front view showing the replaced grille cloth over the original baffle board and speaker.
Rear view of cabinet. You can see the new grounded power cord that I added.
The Sears product label on the rear panel showing the model number and vacuum tube layout.
A view of the chassis through the back panel vent.
Photo of the cabinet interior, showing the chassis and the original 8-inch speaker made by CTS.
A closer view of the chassis.
The 8-inch speaker with ceramic magnet made by CTS (code 137).
Another view of the chassis, showing the power transformer, the filter capacitor can, the output transformer, and the tubes. The on-baord tube complement is one 6X4 Rectifier tube, two 12AX7 tubes for preamp and tremolo circuits, and 7189 power tube.
Here is the baffle board removed from the cabinet. The board was nothing more than 1/8″ thick Masonite.
Here is the cabinet with the baffle board removed.
This great little combo tube amp was built by (who?) and sold through Sears and Roebuck in the late 1960′s and early 70′s. It was originally sold as the Silvertone Model #1421, and in later years as the SR 10XL, and lastly as the Sears 10XL. Oh, the photo of this amp looks innocent enough, but, this is one serious sounding tube screamer. And you won’t usually find them as nice as this one!
Summary: A 10-watt tube combo with tremolo and 8-inch speaker. Hand-wired. Lots of midrange growl that transitions into a creamy overdrive. Great for classic and indie rock, jazz, blues, country and rockabilly. Use as a practice amp or at small venues. Perfect for recording.
Pluses (+): Vintage British, Vox-like, valve sound in an affordable practice amp. Compact and lightweight.
Minuses ( – ): Cheaply constructed lightweight cabinet and thin vinyl covering. The original grille cloth was fragile, and most are completely deteriorated by now. Loud enough for a small venue (i.e. coffee shop) but not for anything larger.
Surprises: 1) The 7189 output tube! This is the higher plate voltage version of the EL84 tube made famous in British amps of the 60′s; and 2) The 8-inch Oxford Alnico speaker sounds great!
Value ($): Depends on the condition and market demand. I have seen them run from $100 to as high as $500.
Similar Amps: The original 1960′s Vox AC4 practice amp. Nothing else in the Silvertone line is similar.
The Complete Silvertone 1421 Review
(Stay tuned… this section under construction)
The 1421 Photo Gallery
This amp is in fantastic condition for it’s age. It even came with the factory original vinyl dust cover. It is all original, except that I replaced a broken power switch, and then replaced the old 2-prong power cord with a safer grounded cord. The tubes, chassis, speaker, cabinet and finish are all in perfect condition — sans for the cigarette-sized hole burned into the original grille cloth (not by me, it came that way!).
A Vintage 1970 Silvertone MIJ Copy of the Mosrite Guitar
This 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).
The 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.
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.
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).