I was about 13 years old and had just started playing guitar, I met a kid that lived a block away named Doug Abbott.
Doug became my best friend. We grew up learning to play music together.
This was one of the Silvertone/Danos with the coke bottle headstock, which is sometimes referred to as a dolphin nose headstock.
Within a few months he had saved up enough of his lunch money to buy a Silvertone amplifier. The model he purchased was the 1483 bass amp.
The 1483 was a straightforward bass amplifier with the functions modeled after the 6G6 model Fender bassman (with head and cabinet 1961-64) and the 1965 blackface model.
The model 1483 took it lead from the model 1473 which had been discontined in 1963.
The 1483 was similar, but was a combo model. It was listed in the Spring/Summer 1965 catalog simply as "The Bass Amplifier."
The 1483 was easy to carry around with its amp-in-the-back storage. It had a respectable amount of power at 23 watts, which is similar to a Deluxe Reverb. And it came with a 15" Jensen speaker.
The amplifier was actually introduced in 1963, but may not have been available until 1964.
The original retail price was $119.95.
The 1483 was discontinued around 1966-67 and was replaced by a solid state model. The amp was designed by Danelectro and manufactured by Danelectro.
I had another friend named Rick Sears. I played with him in a band for a few years. Rick owned a Silvertone guitar amplifier. This was the mate to the bass model 1483 and was nicknamed The Twin Twelve. It was model 1484. It supposedly cranked out 60 watts, but I don't recall it being that loud. A Super Reverb is 40 watts and has a similar tube set up. This amp was built by Danelectro.
The catalog listing advertised this amp for guitar or bass usage, and had all the amenities you could want in a medium sized (and priced) package: reverb, tremolo, two channels, two matched 12-inch Jensens, and 25 feet of cable to separate amp from speaker to "end feedback."
The model 1484 was introduced in 1963 and sold for $149.95. It was discontinued in 1966 when the price had gone up $30 to $179.95. It was replaced by the larger, louder model 1485 that came with six 10" Jensen speakers and a quartet of 6L6 tubes.
My buddy Doug had a love/hate relationship with his 1483 due to the propensity to distort. In 1965 we were all looking for a clean sound. Leo Fender's goal was to produce amplifiers that produced a clean tone. Blues players, that usually could not afford an expensive Fender amp, got use to the distorted sound and used it to their advantage.
The Rolling Stones and the Yardbirds had some hit songs that used fuzztones or amps with torn speakers, since they were fans of blues songs and were attempting to emulate that tone.
Doug replaced the 15" Jensen with a Utah speaker. He changed the baffle to one made of solid wood and he stuffed the cabinet with fiberglass insulation. He finally gave up and saved up enough money to purchase a black face Bassman.
The 1483 cranked out 23 watts, so naturally it would distort at higher volumes as would a Fender Deluxe played with the gain up full. The 15" Jensen was an excellent quality speaker, but the amps baffling was made of the material used to create inexpensive subflooring and pegboards. I was flimsy and cheap. The amplifier components and chassis were well constructed and the wiring was point to point.
The chasis for the head amp and speaker cabinet were made of inexpensive medium density fiberboard and covered with a wallpaper type of material instead of tolex.
During these days there was no standard for amplifier power. Most companies advertised by posting peak power. Today we use the more realistic RMS as a standard.
I have never tried this amplifier for guitar, but the 1483 would probably make an excellent jazz or rock guitar amplifier. It just wasn't loud enough to handle the music of the day, since we didn't mike amplifiers back then.
The 1484 was made of similar materials including the speaker baffle. The compliment of tubes were similar to the 1483 with the addition of a 12AX7 for the reverb circuit and a 12AX7 and a 6CG7 or 6FQ7 as a supply to the tremolo circuit.
Both amps cut down on the actual cabinet size for sound displacement because the bottom of the amp had a compartment to carry the amps head. I do not know how much effect this had on the sound, but the carrying compartment was a unique feature.
|Reverb unit is behind the tubes|
Silvertone reverbs used piezo units, somewhat like those used on acoustic guitars. The Silvertone unit sounded weak and flat compared to a Hammond unit.
The use of piezos is probably the reason you could get this sort of space sound by turning off the amps volume controls and turning the reverb all the way up. You could achieve a Dick Dale sort of tone, be it at a very low volume.
The transformers in both amps were adequate, but not on par with Fender or Gibson amps.