I have lots to tackle here, but for starters, I was wondering if anybody can date this and or tell me what model it is.  It's a "sentimental" repair for a new customer.  Secondly, there is a bolt through the heel.  It's just an old department store guitar so I wonder if it was always there.  The neck rocks around with the bolt removed but won't come off, even when given a tap on the heel.  Are there screws under the 12th fret dots?  I ran a spatula under the bass side, but it binds up on the treble side.

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I like the shape. Looks a bit like a Gibson L-1.

I'd bet on a dovetail - the bolt is a "custom repair, as evidenced by the plug from the outside."  

Crumbly buttons scream 1950s.

When I see "Silvertone," I think "Kay."

Wasn't silvertone a Sears product??

Sears didn't make anything.  If you look at the woodworking planes they offered over the years, they are all marked Craftsman but were made by Millers Falls, Sargent, or Stanley at various times.  If I am not mistaken, their guitars were supplied by several makers over the years.

Ed  Minch

Not that he needs my backup but I think Frank is dead on about this guitar. It's nice that it has binding on the body and the neck. Makes it just a bit "up market".

My experience is that the bolt/screw fix is  required by the dovetail being short on the neck in comparison to the slot cut in the body. I'm willing to bet that the bolt on this guitar neck is right at the bottom or completely misses the tail on the neck.

The joints I've seen aren't too well shaped and can have some pretty poor fit. Glue as a gap filler can be an issue and they seem to have a lot of glue between the end of the tail and the neck block which can get into the way when you try to  lift the neck.

Screws under the inlays?  Who knows? You'll just have to check. It could be glue too but people do "things" to try to make these playable on the cheap. 

BTW, it probably has a square steel bar embedded under the fingerboard. These bars aren't always completely  flat or flush with the surface of the neck and they often have deformations on the end where it was sheered to length. Of they happen to be towards the fingerboard, the burs left from sheering can cause issues with the fingerboard. You might want to look it over carefully for humps and separations.

Wow - the twin to an archtop I've been working on.
I'll bet you dollars to donuts that there is no neck reinforcement there.
Ned is probably right about the bolt missing the dovetail.
I pulled the neck off of the one I'm working on by very carefully heating the neck block with an adjustable heat gun.
That neck and neck block are soft poplar, kind of a pain to work with. Clean it up, reglue, and use that bolt again.

Brian, can you work the spatula under the treble side?  It's possible  a bit of spruce lifted and is holding the neck on.  Do you have a neck removal jig?  Clamp it up in that, if you have one, and gently put pressure on the heel, then look under the f-board to see what's binding.

I've been able to wiggle a bunch of these Kay necks out dry, with no trauma. (of course,, I owned them, different story when it's someone's sentimental guitar).

The pg, bridge, body shape all shout 'Kay', for sure.  Interestingly, Silvertone was a Sears brand, who'd bought the Harmony  factory, but during the folk boom (aka great folk scare), they must have been selling guitars hand over fist and needed Kay's help.  

BTW, expect to find bolts through the bridge..they came standard from the factory.

These guitars are heavily braced and really need to be pushed to get a sound.  That and the narrow fingerboard leave them less than desirable to me.  fwiw


Thanks everybody.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get into it any more that I already had before the customer (or I believe his wife) cancelled the repair during the estimate stage.  At least i'm more prepared should another come in.

This guitar would have a standard dovetail joint, so once you remove the added bolt, loosen the fretboard from the guitar top, and add steam to the joint, in the normal way, and I'm sure the neck will come off.

I would guess the guitar was made in the late 40's or early 50's.


Hobbyist here.  None professional.

I have an old Silvertone model like this.  Mine has the solid maple sides, maple laminate back, solid spruce top, book matched from different ends of the encyclopedia.  It had a neck as thick as the business end of a baseball bat, no truss rod or steel bar.  I got it when it most of the major top ladder braces were split and dried out, original bridge was torn off and replaced with a simple floating bridge and a tail piece.  Needed a neck reset, but the neck was only held on by the bolt through the heel and the block and glue under the fingerboard.  Fingerboard was loose and had shrunk a bit from dryness.        

It is a traditional dovetail, and the neck re-set very nicely.  I converted the old holes to a brass insert in the heel and a allen wrench headed bolt in the body. It set up very well.

She has a completely re-braced top, refinished to natural,  new bridge and bridge plate.  I added a truss rod since I had the fingerboard off to re-hydrate it.  That allowed me to take down the neck profile some.

Interesting that this was made with a 25.75 scale.

A very fun project.  Been strung up about 2 weeks and the sound is beginning to open up more. 


Forgot to add this scan that seemed to match my model.  From a 1949 catalog. 



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