In the beginning…………….
The Beatles started the rock revolution, but no company furnished more guitars and amps to aspiring garage bands than Sears and Roebuck Company did under the Silvertone name. The simple truth is that while everyone wanted the Gretsch, Rickenbacker and everything else that the Fab Four were using, it was Silvertone that became the first guitar of choice because of price. In 1964, a Fender Strat cost $275.00 compared to a Silvertone guitar with case at $199.00. That same $199 guitar would cost over $1,000 in 2013 dollars.
Silvertone clearly is the “Roots of Rock”, with players like Jerry Garcia, Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Jimi Hendrix and even Pete Townshend using Silvertone early on in their careers.
Recognize any of the artists pictured above? Mick, Beck and Chris Isaak all playing their Silvertone guitars on stage.
Silvertone boasts of counting Eric Clapton, George Harrison and Melissa Etheridge, to name a few, among its devoted fans. Few other brands can claim a following as diverse and over as many music genres as Silvertone.
So what happened? Why did the most popular selling guitar of the 60’s get left behind? One of the biggest reasons is that as guitar building became more automated and instruments were mass produced, costs dropped. Musicians could now buy a “name brand” guitar for the same or less than a Silvertone. Also, due to the fact that Silvertone was owned and marketed by a Mass Merchant and not a guitar manufacturer, they did not keep up the trends and needs of the modern players.
Even though Silvertone got left behind, there are still legions of fans and collectors clamoring for these vintage works of art. On eBay and at vintage guitar shows, Silvertone instruments command top prices. The Silvertoneworld.com web site is devoted to preserving the history of this great brand.
Enter Samick Music Corp.
Samick is one of, if not the largest manufacturer of quality guitars in the world. For over 50 years this company has not only built guitars under its own brand names, but it also crafts guitars for some of the biggest names in the music industry. Several years ago Samick acquired the Silvertone name to use as a low end brand to sell through MI and non-MI sales channels.
It didn’t take long for the still growing Silvertone tribe to beat down the door with the ever consistent request (demand) to “Bring back the vintage Silvertone models”. Of course an undertaking like this is easier said than done and if we decided to do it, we didn’t want to rush into it by simply flooding the market with a bunch of low-end reissues.
So, we made a decision; we’d grant the request of the fans, artists and a market looking for something new, but we’d do it the way it was originally done. Just a few models at a time, and slowly grow the line over the next few years. And so was born, the “Silvertone Classic Series”. Yes we are looking at some re-issue tube amps, and have received and overwhelming number of requests for the famed “Amp-in-the-case” model. At this point, anything is possible and we’re looking at all possibilities.
It’s going to be a fun trip and we invite you to take the journey with us.
Samick Music Corp