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1965 Silvertone 1488 Silhouette Vintage Electric Guitar Cherry, Harmony USA w/ DeArmond Gold Foils


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Up for sale, a 1965 Silvertone 1488 Silhouette in excellent condition with a trio of DeArmond gold foil pickups. The 1488 was the only Harmony-made Silhouette to feature three pickups, and this top tier model featured a "hand-rubbed Cherry luster finish" according to the original catalog description.

This Silhouette has a huge range of tones thanks to the three pickup design and dished on/off toggle switches for each pickup. The guitar can deliver everything from spanky twang in the bridge position to warmer, mellow jazzy tones with only the neck pickup selected. The inclusion of a middle pickup really opens up the range of this instrument beyond what can be achieved with any other Silhouette (or Bobkat) model. There's a certain percussive cut, jangle, and surprising kick from these original DeArmond-made pickups, and the Silvertone foils really deliver the goods. Although the silver diamond inserts on the pickup covers are one of the notable cosmetic features of this model, the pickup still falls within the "gold foil" family, having identical construction to its assembly line brothers with gold metal inserts. Professionally setup here at Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar and weighing 7lbs 7oz, this Silvertone features comfortable action and a fresh set of 10-46 roundwound strings.

The maple neck has a very full and round "baseball bat" C shaped neck profile carve, measuring .960" deep at the 1st fret and 1.010" at the 12th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard features pearloid block inlays and original fretwire which has good meat and crown, showing only very light wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-3. The original nylon nut measures 1 3/4", and on the headstock face, the original silkscreen "Silvertone" script is still intact. The stock open-gear strip tuners work as intended, and the original truss rod cover is present.

All of the electronics work as they should, including the bank of three dished rocker switches for turning each pickup on/off. These switches each engage as they should, albeit a bit deliberately. The original mini CTS pots date to the 14th week of '65, matching closely with the date stamp on the underside of the nitrate tortoise pickguard which reads Sept 6th, 1965. The large tortoise pickguard is made from the same nitrate material used by Fender for their guards in this era, and the guard is nigh flawless with no signs of shrinkage and all corners intact.

The original floating Brazilian rosewood bridge is intact, along with the four original clear DeArmond bell knobs. The vibrato actuates smoothly, with a spring inside the body that provides a Bigsby-esque action, yet with a more deliberate response for quick flutters and surfy dives that jump back to the original pitch with ease. The chrome plating shows surface wear on the chrome on the vibrato tailpiece, and there is light pitting on the chrome pickup bezels, with a bit of strum wear across the central silver diamond foil cover.

The Cherry luster nitro lacquer finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, exhibiting wear on the parameter of the slab body, light buckle rash central to the back, and a few additional ancillary minor scuffs and marks from honest use. There are some minor marks along the profile length and a few finish scratches adjacent to the nut, yet nothing structural or distracting to the palm while fretting.