1959 Sears Silvertone restoration

Recent new virtual blues buddy Robert Herndon told me the tale of his 1959 Silvertone restoration
“Back in 1960, my Mom and Dad were living in Inglewood, California. Dad bought Mom a 1959 Sears Silvertone #1450 Guitar and matching #1451 Tube Amplifier. The 1450 guitar was made by Danelectro for Sears. It is a 3/4 scale, 18 fret beginner’s guitar. Both the guitar and amp combo cost a whopping $57.90. At the time, my Dad was making a little less than $100.00 a week.

Mom played the guitar for many years. In the mid 1970s, I showed an interest in learning the guitar. Mom eventually gave me the guitar and amp and I learned to play on it.

In the 1980s, I stripped the guitar down and repainted it with a funky two-tone green paint job.

I also replaced the original lipstick pickup with a Duncan Quarter Pounder Single Coil. I was playing this through a Traynor 50 watt tube bass head, an Ampeg 6 x 10″ bass cabinet with a DOD FX 50 overdrive and DOD FX 90 Analog Delay. This was my main guitar rig for many years.

In 1986, I auditioned for a band in Tulare, California. I couldn’t play the lead in one of their songs, because I only had 18 frets. They took me to White’s Music Center in Tulare and bought me a pale yellow, 1986 Fender Stratocaster. This became my main guitar and I retired the Silvertone to the closet.

In 2010, I pulled the guitar out of storage and stripped it down. The original pickup had long been lost, so I began to collect the parts needed to restore the guitar back to its original condition.

Danelectro, the company that built the guitar for Sears, was still in business, so I ordered an original Danelectro Lipstick Pickup from them, along with the vinyl, embossed binding tape to go around the edges of the body. I drilled out a broken, push-in plastic strap button and installed a fluted wooden dowel into the hole. This was later drilled to accept a screw-in strap button.

I did not like the original brown finish, so i decided to choose a color that would look ‘retro’ and be easy to keep clean. I decided on Sage Green acrylic enamel, which is very similar to some of the pastel colors used by fender and Gretsch on guitars through the 1950s and 1960s.

That strap in the photo was bought in 1960 too. It’s embroidered and has held up good considering its age!!!!”

Thanks a lort Ropbert, I’ve always loved the simplicity of design of those guitars, and am quite tempted to get a modern-day Danelectro as my main guitar.
Robert’s Silvertone can be heard on a new track, “Slide” which I’ll soon be playing on The Blues Show


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