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1966 Silvertone 1488 Silhouette Vintage Electric Guitar Cherry, Harmony USA w/ DeArmond Gold Foils


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Up for sale, a 1966 Silvertone 1488 Silhouette in excellent condition and in perfect working order. Featuring a trio of DeArmond gold foil pickups; the 1488 was the only Harmony-made Silhouette to be outfitted with three pickups, and this top tier model sports 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 5oz, 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 profile carve, measuring .965" deep at the 1st fret and 9.85" at the 12th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard features pearloid block inlays and original slender fretwire which has well-rounded crowns, only showing a faint hint of wear beneath the plain strings on frets 1-2. This guitar plays cleanly up the 24 1/4“ scale with a straight neck and a responsive, optimally-adjusted truss rod. The original nylon nut measures 1 3/4", and on the headstock face, the original silkscreen "Silvertone" script and white plastic truss rod cover are intact. The upgraded set of Kluson Deluxe single-line tuning machines turn smoothly and hold exceptional pitch.

All of the electronics work as they should, including the bank of three dished rocker switches for turning each pickup on/off. The wiring harness features the majority of the original CTS pots which date to 1965, with one modern replacement pot. All but one of the original deeply ambered mini DeArmond bell knobs are present too (the outlier knob is a modern replacement replicating the same shape). The date stamp on the underside of the nitrate tortoise pickguard reads March 3rd, 1966. The large pickguard is made from the same nitrate material used by Fender for their guards in this era, and the guard is in great shape with no signs of shrinkage and just one tiny missing chip on the bass-side corner.

Hardware includes the original floating Brazilian rosewood bridge, working in concert with the vibrato, which has a spring inside the body that provides a Bigsby-esque action, yet with a more deliberate response for flutters and surfy dives that jump back to the original pitch with ease. The chrome plating is notably clean on the vibrato tailpiece, and the vibrato arm is a replacement.

The Cherry luster nitro lacquer finish is 100% original with no touchup or overspray, exhibiting horizontal lacquer checking. There is modest wear on the body perimeter, an area of buckle rash central to the waist on the back, and a handful of tiny chips and scratches on the body as a whole. The neck profile retains its smooth gloss, with a few minor marks along the profile length that have no impact on playability.

A gigbag is included.