Silvertone 1445 Mosrite Surf 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!

Keywords: Sears, Silvertone, 1445, Mosrite, Surf uitar, Teisco

Hashtags: #tonegems #silvertone #silvertone1445 #mosrite #surfguitar #teisco

Comments

Previous Comments

{ 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

 

Two Silvertone Amps + Boss CE-3 = Stereo!

Boss CE-3 Chorus

I love stereo! That’s why I got pretty excited when I looked at my Boss CE-3 chorus pedal and realized I could connect a pair of amps to the CE-3′s dual outputs and play my guitar in stereo. So I decided pick up two inexpensive Silvertone 1421′s (aka: Sears 10XL) off eBay. These are great little tube amps from the late 60′s and early 70′s. The 10-watt 1421 uses two 12AX7 tubes—one for pre-amp and the other for tremolo—and a single 7189 as the output tube. The 7189 tube is the industrial version of the venerable EL84, a tube found in so many British valve amps. The 12AX7/EL84 tube combination is unique to the 1421 amp within the entire Silvertone line, and compares it nicely by design to the original Vox AC4 Combo of the early 60′s.

Sears 10XL. Silvertone 1421.This first amp is a beautiful 1971 model, completely original and in excellent condition. The Sears model number is 257.14211100. It probably sat in someone’s closet for the better part of 30+ years and was hardly played. Except for a power switch stuck in the “on” position, the old two-conductor power cord, and a little bit of hum, this combo is totally functional and sounds great. It even has its original protective vinyl cover (I’ve never seen a cover for these before) and its original tremolo foot switch. The original grill cloth is in great condition, which is truly rare for this model, even though it does have one cigarette-sized hole in the fabric. The speaker is an 8-inch Oxford Alnico magnet speaker that rings clear at low volume, but breaks up nicely when cranked (along with the tubes in overdrive). All in all, this little combo is a real sweet find! After I fix the power switch and replace the cord, I plan to keep this guy all original. I can live with a little hum for now.

Sears 10XL Silvertone 1421
Sears 10XL Silvertone 1421 Front

The other amp is a 1970 model 1421. Also Sears model number 257.14211100. It’s in pretty good condition too, and is almost completely dead quiet (no hum) when running. But the original grill cloth was replaced and the tremolo is not working. Somebody already replaced the notorious power switch and the 2-prong power cord before I bought it. Unlike it’s twin, this 1421 has an 8-inch CTS speaker with ceramic magnet. I plan to mod this amp as my next project. I will need to work on the tremolo circuit, then replace the caps, ditch the ugly brown fabric, and build a new baffle board to hold a bigger 10-inch Alnico Blue speaker (think: Celestion). After those mods are complete, this 1421 should sound more British than American.

Then, plug these two into my CE-3 stereo chorus pedal and have fun!

A full Tone Gems review of the Silvertone 1421 will be in the near future.

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.

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:

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 Silvertoneworld.com 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 ohcisco2001@yahoo.com.

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.

1960′s Silvertone 1481 Amp New in Box?!


Holy crap! What an incredible find. Someone is selling on eBay a mid-1960′s Silvertone 1481 tube amp, brand new in the original box. That’s crazy! Original Silvertone tubes inside. Complete with original papers and Owner’s Manual. Even has the original shipping label on the box from the Danelectro factory in Neptune NJ to Sears Roebuck store in Newington Connecticut.

The 1481 was the smallest combo tube amp of the Silvertone family at that time. It was the poor man’s version of the Fender Champ, with one 6V6 tube putting out 7-watts to a single 8-inch Alnico speaker. According to Silvertoneworld.com, the 1481 was a cosmetic replacement to the earlier 1471 and was offered in the Sears catalog up through 1968. It was made in Neptune, New Jersey by Danelectro.

Link to eBay auction: 1960′S SILVERTONE AMP MODEL 1481 NEW IN BOX DAN ELECTRO

Original shipping label from Neptune, New Jersey:

 

UPDATE: This auction has ended. The amp sold for $610.

Silvertone 1420 (Sears 5XL)

Vintage Sears 5XL Silvertone 1420 Guitar Tube Amp


Welcome to our first review. Please consider Tone Gems a resource for vintage guitars, amps and gear of non-repute. We will strive to make each review rich with information and content, including inside gut shots, electrical schematics, audio, video, manufacturer specs and more. Since this is our very first review, please excuse any rough spots. We welcome your comments and feedback. Thanks ~alex.

Quick Info

Summary:  Five watts of hand-wired boutique tube heaven for a fraction of the cost. Lots of midrange growl and creamy overdrive. Great for  jazz, blues, classic and indie rock. Use as a practice amp or at small venues. Perfect for recording.

Likes:  Cheap! Lots of tube overdrive. Awesome speaker. Cheap! Point-to-point hand soldered. Cheap!

Dislikes:  Cheap cabinet materials and shoddy construction. Not loud enough. No safety fuse. Non-grounded power cord.

Surprises:  8-inch Alnico Speaker. Polypropylene caps (Orange Drops!).

Price:  $90.00 from Trade Up Music, Portland Oregon.

Similar Amps:  Silvertone 1420; Silvertone 1459.

The 5XL Review

At first glance the Sears 5XL guitar amp would be easy to disrespect, even considering it’s legacy in the line of original Danelectro/Silvertone guitars and amplifiers. And why not, it’s a Sears, right? Well, that’s where you’d be wrong. We recently discovered this 5XL at Trade Up Music, a local music shop in Portland (see posting: How It All Began…). It was dirty, dusty inside, and a little beat-up. It appeared to be all original, except for two replaced vacuum tubes, and was fully functional. Later, we discovered that someone must have upgraded the capacitors with new Orange drops (more on that later).

My son Jon, who likes to play alternative and indie stuff, thought this amp would be a perfect match for his 1950′s Gretsch Electromatic or his newer custom modified Telecaster. I was not initially impressed. But boy was I wrong, and he was right!

The 5XL is an all-tube amplifier producing a modest 5-watts of peak power through a single 8-inch speaker. It has one channel, two instrument inputs, and separate volume and tone controls. The cabinet is built from cheap pressed board and the speaker baffle is 1/8-inch thick Masonite. It is clad in an equally cheap, thin green vinyl that stretches and tears easily.

At lower volume this amp has a clear, clean sound and decent frequency response. But with only three tubes pushing 5-watts it’s more fun to dial this puppy to 10! At that level it’s easy for the player to control the output and vary the tone from clean to full distortion.

This amp is also friendly to effects pedals. It sounds really good with a decent analog delay or analog reverb pedal.

Video of the 5XL

How good does it sound? See and hear for yourself. Here is Jon playing his modified Squier thinline Tele through the 5XL. Hope you have a good set of speakers connected to your computer.

Who built the 5XL?

The tube version of the 5XL was sold by Sears in the United States from about 1969 through about 1972. It was Sears entry level into their line of guitar amps. But the original manufacturer of the Sears 5XL is hard to nail down. I have seen several different builds of the Sears 5XL amp on eBay and elsewhere on the web. Up until 1968 or so, the Silvertone line of electric guitar amps were built for Sears by the Danelectro company of Neptune, New Jersey. In fact, the 5XL is identical in electronics and appearance to the earlier Silvertone 1420 and 1459 amps that were built by Danelectro. But Danelectro was purchased by MCA in 1967 and was, unfortunately, out of business by 1969. This particular sample appears to have been built in December of 1968, so it’s possible that it could be a Danelectro original. But I suspect that even later models were built for Sears by others, maybe using leftover Danelectro parts?

UPDATE: I recently noticed that the schematic diagram for the Harmony H303A is nearly identical to the Silvertone 1420 and Sears 5XL. So it might be possible that these were built for Sears by Harmony. However, I thought Harmony was struggling to stay open around this time as well?

UPDATE 2: This basic amplifier design was used throughout the radio and musical instrument industries for decades. Which makes it even harder to pin point the factory of origin.

The 5XL Chassis

The amplifier is a hand-wired, point-to-point, single-ended Class A amp. The chassis layout and construction is standard to Danelectro/Silvertone design dating back to 1950’s. It is very similar to the Silvertone 1430 chassis, except that it has a separate tone control and a voltage isolation transformer which the 1430 lacks. Apart from some replaced tubes, this chassis has all its original parts including the big paper-oil-wax filter capacitor. Amazingly, this amp is still quiet while running. The three vacuum tubes (thermionic valves) used here are: one 12AU6 for pre-amp, 5OC5 output, and a 35W4 tube rectifier. Curiously, we believe someone replaced all the original capacitors with newer polypropylene film capacitors (Orange Drops!) which may have something to with the usually smooth tone of this sample.

A close up view of chassis showing the Orange Drop caps and volume pot. The stamped 7-digit code on the pot indicates it was manufactured by CTS (code 137) on the 48th month of 1968.

The Speaker

Sears used a lot of cheap parts. No exception here. But for some reason this original 8-inch speaker made by Fisher with an Alnico magnet sounds great!

Conclusion

Even though this little amp is as basic as it gets, it simply excels at what it does. And that qualifies the 5XL as a Tone Gem. Perfect for recording jazz, blues or rock. And perfect for the player looking for that alternative indie sound. But fare warning: manufacturing quality of this amp was inconsistent and not all samples found today will be built like or sound like this one.

Specifications – The Sears 5XL

SEARS 5XL
Model Number 257-1420(1100?)
Serial Number ????
Manufacture Date Dec. 1968
Type Combo
Output (Peak or RMS) 5 Watts, Peak
Pre-Amp Tubes 1 x 12AU6
Power Amp Tubes 1 x 50C5
Tube Rectifier 35W4
Speaker Fisher 8″ Alnico
Speaker Code 6392 (printed on cone)
Speaker Configuration 1 x 8″
Baffle Board 1/8″ Masonite
Impedance 16 Ohm (?)
On-Board Effects None
Footswitch None
Controls Separate Volume & Tone
Inputs 2
Channels 1
Cabinet Construction 3/8″ Pressed Board
Cabinet Covering/Color Vinyl / Olive Green
Dimensions (WxHxD) 16″x16″x6″
Weight 8 lbs.
Power 120V AC

Schematic for the 5XL

I’m working on a new schematic diagram for this amp which I will add here later. In the meantime the schematic of the Silvertone 1430 (shown below) is somewhat similar to the 5XL, except that the 5XL adds a tone control and has no safety fuse! Diagram courtesy www.freeinfosociety.com.

Silvertone 1430 Schematic

Additional Resources

Links to more info surrounding the 5XL…

 

{5 comments}

Ty Stites February 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

See also schematic for the Alamo Capri which is very similar. You might want to add that as an update. ( I can e-mail you one if you like).
I bought a “5 XL” on e-bay that needs to be repaired/restored. It does NOT say Sears on it anywhere (however, the back is missing…) but has a big Danelectro logo on the grille. It does say “5 XL” on the front panel but where you sometimes see a Sears logo on the front panel there is a logo that looks like an atom or something (???). Anyway, I was wondering if you ever found another schematic. Most of the wires in this one have been cut – I have no idea why as it appears that all the original components are still in place despite all the wires being cut (??!). Anyway, this one has TWO chassis mounted transformers (wires cut) which appear original which I do not see in your pics. It has the output transformer on the speaker like in your pics. Three trannys total. (??…)
Any help would be greatly appreciated!!
Love your site. Keep up the good work!
Thanks.

alex February 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Ty,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. What you are describing sounds odd to me. To the best of my knowledge, Danelectro did not market a 5 XL amp with a Danelectro badge on it (that would be news to me). The logo that looks like an atom is actually a Sears-Roebuck (SR) logo from that era. I have two amps with that logo. It sounds like you have a mixture of things going on there (a frankenamp?). Could it be possible that someone before you took it apart and added the Danelectro logo? The transformers you describe definitely sound to me like someone’s custom modification. Could you email to me some photos? That would be great. ~alex

alex February 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Also, thanks for the tip about the Alamo Capri. The schematic does look similar, and it uses the same tubes. I will research that further. Thanks!. ~alex

Scott June 7, 2016 at 11:47 pm

I have been slowly hot rodding one of these little amps for a while now. I have recapped/potted, traded out the OT with a Hammond, and replaced the cheapy 8″ speaker with a Jensen p10r. I’ll tell you what, for blues harmonica it is a tone monster. To play with a band I just stick a microphone in front of my speaker and let the PA do all the heavy lifting. I have a few big tube heads and combos, but I still plug into the hot rod 5xl every time.

alex June 10, 2016 at 10:18 pm

That sounds awesome! Thanks Scott for sharing that info about your 5xl.

~alex