Saturday, July 23, 2011

Silvertone 1413

This lovely piece is a Silvertone 1413, a stripped-down single pickup guitar with a sound and look that were surely pitched to appeal to the hordes of clean-cut young Americans in the early 60s who were starting instrumental bands inspired by the thriving surf and hot-rod subcultures.  Interestingly, the date stamp reads March 26, 1964, which means that this guitar was built, shipped and sold while the Beatles were rapidly conquering the world of American pop, drowning the sound of surf in a deluge of "yeah, yeah, yeahs" and shaggy haircuts.

But even though the Kay-built 1413 model was short-lived, it has an enduring appeal, thanks to a unique color (surf teal?) and a great twangy sound.  The neck and action are most definitely not conducive to shredding or fluid bending, but are great for whacking out punchy chords riffs.  Add in a glass slide and you can gracefully glide over the frets to produce sweeter sounds.

A close look at the headstock reveals a double-stamped logo, a neat little "flaw" that adds to the charm.  The stock tuners have unfortunately been replaced with generic ones, and if we hold this one long enough we'll probably get around to installing old-school tuners with plastic buttons.  Overall, though, it's a gem - this one just jumps up in your hands sometimes!