|The Beatles on Ed Sullivan 1964|
|1960 Wish Book|
And every Christmas, The Wish Book aka the catalog showed up in our mail. We received three or four of these from different stores. I turned right to the guitar section and read each description with fascination.
|1960's Harmony Guitar catalog|
Wow that Harmony flat top was made of seasoned wood! It had to be great!
|1963-64 Fender Catalog|
Later on, I was able to send away to different companies for their catalogs. I wish I still had them.
Let’s go back to those days and review some of the guitars, and amplifiers available years ago. Check out the prices too.
|Silvertone guitars sold by Sears|
|Sears Silvertone guitars and amplifiers|
|Silvertone Danelectro |
Guitar/amp in case
It is a fact that Danelectro sold most of their guitars and amplifiers through mail order retail companies such as Sears.
|Sears Danelectro bass|
This Silvertone, model 57 1444L bass guitar caught the attention of my best friend, and he purchased it for $99.00 in 1965.
I recently saw this same bass at a local music store with the price tag of $800.00.
|Danelectro Silvertone Bass amplifier|
About six month later my friend had saved up enough money to purchase the matching Danelectro-made Silvertone model 1483 bass amp. This amp pumped 23 watts into a single 12" Jensen speaker.
|Silvertone Twin Twelve amplifier|
It was much less expensive than a comprable Fender amplifier.
The Danelectro speaker cabinets were made with a compartment in the bottom to store the head for transportation.
|Silvertone model 1472|
For those on a budget, Silvertone offered the model 1472, also made by Danelectro. This pumped 10 watts into a 12" Jensen speaker.
The Montgomery Ward Company used the brand name Airline for its electronic and music products. They used a number of "jobbers" or companies for their guitars and amplifiers, such as National, Valco, Supro, Harmony, Kay, All of these guitars were sold by Wards under the Airline brand.
|Two Valco made Airline guitars. |
The one circled is
Jack White's 1964 Hutto Airline model
|1954 Montgomery Ward catalog|
Another one of the more unusual guitars that Montgomery Wards offered under the Airline brand was the Kay Thin Twin.
|Jimmy Reed with Kay Thin Twin|
The Kay Thin Twin was the model played by guitarist Jimmy Reed. You can see it in this 1954 company catalog. Most of the other guitars and amps on this page were made by National.
|Western Auto catalog|
|Western Auto Speed Demon|
One of my favorite Kay-made guitars sold by Western Auto was the three pickup Jazz King aka the Speed Demon. It came with distinctive Kay single coil pickups. Each pickup had its own volume and tone control. Some models came with the Truetone decal, while others came with the Western Auto "W" logo.
|1962 Kay guitar catalog|
One of the most popular guitars in the 1960's was the Kay Vanguard, you can view it in the lower left corner.
|Kay Vanguard - two versions|
under the Truetone brand
This guitar came with one or two pickups, and a fixed bridge with an aluminum bridge cover. The price for the one pickup model was only $44.95, which was a big factor in the instruments popularity. These were sold by Western Auto, Sears, and under the Old Kraftsman brand for Spiegel.
|Kay Value Leader|
Another popular model made by Kay was called The Value Leader. It was sold through several different catalog companies under different brand names, as well as under the Kay brand.
|Kay Value Leader guitars|
The Les Paul shaped guitar came with a fixed wooden bridge, a rectangular aluminum pickguard, a trapeze bridge, and one, two, or three pickups. The single pickup model sold for $69.95, the two pickup model sold for $87.95, while the three pickup version was $99.95. The pickups were low output to decrease feed back.
|1965-66 Fender Catalog|
Although Fender guitars were only sold through authorized dealers, you could obtain a Fender catalog from a dealer or directly from the company.
|1966 Baldwin Advertisement|
The new kid on the scene in 1966 was Baldwin guitars and amplifiers. Baldwin had recently acquired Burns of London guitars, and the rights to Kustom amplifiers. Some of the original Baldwin guitars were still labeled as "Burns", so Baldwin put their logo on top of the Burns logo.
|1966 Spiegle catalog|
The Joseph Speigel Company was a Chicago based business specializing in direct mail order sales. They sold guitars that were made by Kay Guitars of Chicago under the Old Kraftman brand.
|1966 Carvin Catalog|
So sit back and check out these old catalogs. Dog-ear the pages for your selections, and make a wish. I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!
Click on the links under the pictures for sources. Click on the links in the text for further information.