Silvertone (brand)

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Silvertone
Silvertone guitar logo.png
Product type
OwnerSamick (2001–Present)
CountryUnited States
Introduced1916
MarketsWorldwide (Distributed by RBI Music)
Previous ownersSears (1916–1972) [1]
Registered as a trademark inUnited States (2013)[2]
Websitesilvertoneclassic.com

Silvertone is a brand created and promoted by Sears for its line of consumer electronics and musical instruments from 1916 to 1972.[1] The rights to the Silvertone brand were purchased by South Korean corporation Samick Music[3] in 2001. Samick made new musical instruments under the Silvertone brand and relaunched some historic models. In 2020, RBI Music was appointed the exclusive worldwide distributor of the Silvertone brand.[4]

Musical instruments under the Silvertone name are electric and acoustic guitars, basses and ukuleles.[5]

History[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

Radio receivers
From left to right: "Century of Progress" (1934), 7036A (1941–42), 7504 (1947), model 15 (1950)

The Silvertone brand was introduced by Sears in 1916 with the hand-cranked model 1 phonograph.[1] Beginning in the 1920s, the brand was expanded to include Silvertone radios and again expanded in the 1930s to musical instruments, superseding the previously-used Oxford branding.[1]

A Silvertone model 1 and other early Silvertone products.

In the early 1920s Sears began selling Silvertone radio tubes and batteries, although Silvertone radios decreased in popularity during late 1930s. During World War II, Sears introduced the Silvertone radio antenna for their radio receivers.[1]

Musical instruments[edit]

Silvertone guitars became popular with novice musicians due to their low cost and wide availability in Sears stores and the Sears catalog. The Canadian band Chad Allan and The Silvertones (later The Guess Who) took its name from this line of instruments.

From left to right: S1480 (Harmony H19 silhouette), S1219 Buck Owens (by Harmony);[6] ET-460 (Teisco K-4L/ET-460), Paul Stanley Sovereign Special (by Samick)

Silvertone instruments and amplifiers were manufactured by various companies, including Danelectro, Valco, Harmony, Thomas, Kay and Teisco.

The guitars, especially the 1960s models, are frequently prized by collectors today. Two of the best-known Silvertone offerings are the Danelectro-built Silvertone 1448 and 1449, made in the early to mid-1960s. The 1448 had a single lipstick pickup,[7] while the 1449 was equipped with a two-pickup configuration,[8] and was succeeded in 1964 by the 1457 model.[9] These guitars' cases had a small built-in amplifier, and the guitars themselves had very short-scale 18-fret necks, which proved popular with beginners.

Similarly the Silvertone 1484 "Twin Twelve" 60 Watt guitar amplifier, introduced in 1963 as an affordable beginner's amp, has gained a collectors' following, since artists like Jack White, Beck, Coldplay, and others have been known to use it.[10]

Sears also sold a number of non-stringed instruments under the Silvertone name, such as electronic organs and chord organs manufactured by the Thomas Organ Company, and harmonicas made by the Wm. Kratt Company.

Samick rebrand[edit]

Rights to the Silvertone brand were purchased by Samick Music Corporation in 2001. In 2013 Samick released the Silvertone Classic series, reissues of Silvertone electrics. The first two models released were the 1303/U2 (originally manufactured by Danelectro) and the 1478 (originally manufactured by Harmony), followed by the 1449 (also known as the "Amp-in-Case" model, originally manufactured by Danelectro), and the 1423 Jupiter (originally manufactured by Harmony). In January 2014, the Silvertone reissue 1444 bass was debuted at the Anaheim Winter NAMM show.

In early 2015, Samick introduced six reissue Silvertone acoustic guitars including the full-body 955 and single cutaway 955CE, the 600 in either spruce or mahogany, the "Sovereign" 633, and the 604. Some models were also made available with acoustic pickup circuitry for amplified playing. In addition, the model 853 ukulele was introduced with an amplificable version as well.[5]

New distribution[edit]

In late 2020, Samick exclusively partnered with Rhythm Band Instruments (RBI Music) for worldwide distribution, expanding the reach of the Silvertone brand and ensuring better market access for the whole product range.[11] Based in Fort Worth, Texas, RBI Music has been developing and distributing musical instruments accessories for over sixty years, including the Vintage, Big Joe, and Fret King lines of instruments and guitar accessories.

RBI Music's president, Brad Kirkpatrick, said of the deal: “Does anyone not know the Silvertone name? We are thrilled to represent this iconic brand on a worldwide basis.” William Park, executive director of Samick Music Corporation, said “RBI Music already distributes a number of high-value brands globally... We believe they will prove an excellent fit for growing the Silvertone brand.”[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Silvertone: 1916-1972". Sears Brands, LLC. October 31, 2006. Retrieved April 20, 2011.
  2. ^ Silvertone Trademark of Samick – serial #86108361 – ABANDONED - NO STATEMENT OF USE FILED (date 1 April 2016) on Trademarkia website
  3. ^ Silvertone History on Samick website, 27 Oct 2019
  4. ^ "Could we be seeing new Silvertone guitars soon?". Guitar.com | All Things Guitar. 2020-12-02. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  5. ^ a b Reissue guitars - The real deal on Silvertone Classic website (archived, 2 Apr 2015)
  6. ^ Silvertone 1219 Buck Owens on Silvertoneworld
  7. ^ Silvertone 1448L on Silvertone World
  8. ^ Silvertone 1449 on Silvertone World
  9. ^ Silvertone 1457 on Silvertone World
  10. ^ "Twin Twelve V2". JHS Pedals. Retrieved 2018-01-30. [...] the amp’s gritty and unpolished tone has since made it legendary, hard to find, and coveted by some of the biggest names in music.
  11. ^ a b "RBI Music Appointed Worldwide Silvertone Distributor". The Music & Sound Retailer. 2020-12-01. Retrieved 2021-05-17.

External links[edit]