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View Full Version : My Funky 50's-60's Kay, Silvertone & Harmony guitars


229someday
10-26-2009, 11:34 AM
http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa271/229someday/Gear/Guits.jpg

I have always been a sucker for vintage American guitars, but I've never been able to afford any of the big names. As I was rearranging my studio space (otherwise known as half of the eat-in kitchen) I thought I'd take a pic of my funky B-list electric collection. From left to right:

1. Silvertone Jupiter S1423 (or 1423L) Stratotone with crazy cool blender dial for both pickups and DeArmond pups. Cool article on these here:
http://myrareguitars.com/robergemay2007.html

2. No badge Kay Thin Twin K-161, which is a guitar I've lusted after since long before I'd ever ever heard of T-Bone Burnett.

3. Old Kraftsman labeled Kay K-592 "Red Devil", which is the guitar that started it all for me when I found it on a wall in a music store in Spokane about 10 years ago. I still have the original Rowe pickups, but the Epiphone Elitist P-90's in there sound quite a bit better.

4. Harmony Jupiter H49 Stratotone, which is pretty much the same as the other Jupiter but has cooler appointments and a spruce top.

The value of all of these put together wouldn't buy me one terrific vintage Fender or Gibson, but all four bring a smile to my face and I just wanted to share them while they were all out at one time.

EricPeterson
10-26-2009, 11:37 AM
Nice collection. I would love to own any of those. They are all really cool, lots of mojo.

michael30
10-26-2009, 12:32 PM
I have always been a sucker for vintage American guitars, but I've never been able to afford any of the big names. .

Well, Harmony was the biggest manufacturer in the world in the mid 60's...:rotflmao

Seriously, Cool guitars! I have a Silvertone Jupiter as well as around 15 other Harmony-manufactured guitars.

Kalalau Hiker
10-26-2009, 12:46 PM
very cool!
I like # 3 a LOT!

Guitartim
10-26-2009, 12:48 PM
Too cool family photo!

My first electric was a Stratotone single p'up model with flamed maple body. I still have it and like you, it brings a smile every time I open the old case.

Mike Potvin
10-26-2009, 12:50 PM
Nice collection! I have a Silvertone Jupiter as well and I love it. I think the world is catching on though, the prices are climbing fast.

Mike

TravisE
10-26-2009, 01:21 PM
Very cool. I have a Silvertone branded K-161. They are wonderful guitars. Do you know the wiring layout of your's? Mine needs to be rewired and I've heard that changing some of the components can really help these guitars a lot.

jaydawg76
10-26-2009, 01:23 PM
Great collection! The Jupiters are very cool.

229someday
10-26-2009, 05:53 PM
Very cool. I have a Silvertone branded K-161. They are wonderful guitars. Do you know the wiring layout of your's? Mine needs to be rewired and I've heard that changing some of the components can really help these guitars a lot.

Wish I did. I know the "iceberg" pickup design (with most of the pickup under the pickguard) makes raising them for more output just about impossible. Mine is a bit more quiet than my other guitars, but it just means turning the amp up a little more. I'm hesitant to take of the pickguard to photograph the guts since these old guards shrink over time and the screws seem to be at a bit of an angle now. I'd hate to crack it since it's lasted this long.

Thanks for the nice comments. I'd still love to find a Kay Kessel model with the Kleenex-box 'pups, but those are definitely out of reach.

GA20T
10-26-2009, 05:57 PM
Hey someday, what do you suppose that harmony stratatone is worth these days? My girlfriend's dad has offered to sell me his (bought new when he was a kid) for $400. Nice little collection.

229someday
10-26-2009, 06:03 PM
There are definitely some Stratotone nuts on the board. For some good info on the different models you might check this thread:
http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=274504&highlight=stratotone

If I'm not mistaken the ones w/inlays on the neck rather than dots have truss rods, which can be a big plus, so they go for a bit more. Post a pic and I'm sure someone here can help out. Ones like my black one seem to go between $350 and $600 depending on condition, though some folks have them on Ebay forever with $900-$1000 "buy it now" dreams. The Jupiter H49 Stratotone on the far right seems to go for more than the Silvertone ones, maybe $800 in very good condition is my guess.
-Mike