Silvertone 1423 Jupiter Electric Guitar
Silvertone is the ugly duckling of the guitar world. In a bizzare twist though, it looks as though in their early days, the fledgling Japanese Guitar Industry spent countless sleepless nights thumbing through the Sears, Roebuck & Company catalogs of the day looking for inspiration which was realised in some truly adventurous designs. Thankyou Silvertone.
The sort of good news is that hundreds of thousands of newly empowered American teenagers cut their musical teeth on a Silvertone guitar. By the measure of the day, Silvertone guitars were affordable instruments and seen as legitimate stepping stones to the Epiphone, Fender, Gretsch, Gibson, Guild or Rickenbacker out of reach of the beginner. Many Silvertone guitars were built by Harmony and Danelectro and these have become quite collectable. Those old Silvertones may have been quirky but they worked and have consequently gained the respect and collector attention they always deserved.
The highlight of this Reissue is the unique blender control control setup. In addition to separate volume and tone controls for each pickup, the guitar features a blend knob that alters the balance between the two pickups when the selector is in the middle position.
More recently, the Samick Corporation, one of the world’s biggest OEM guitar makers, have revived the Silvertone name and have begun to revisit some of the Silvertone brand’s most loved designs. The Silvertone 1423 – which was also sold as the Harmony Jupiter H49, was built from 1959 through 1962 and it’s the inspiration for this wonderful retro looking – but modern playing guitar on offer here.
Originally offered in 1959 through 1962, the Silvertone 1423 was known as the Jupiter H49 model in Harmony’s Stratotone Series. While Silvertone didn’t use this name, collectors often refer to the 1423 as the Jupiter.
At first glance, the new 1423 looks like a straightforward reissue with the same single-cutaway body as the original and featuring a 50’s Hot Rod inspired black sparkle finish with white binding and a fine black pinstripe. The white pickguard is all Silvertone and sports five black knobs and a chicken-head selector switch. The rosewood fretboard is dressed with classy block inlays and the classic Silvertone script logo adorns the headstock.
This is the new millenium though and there are subtle yet significant upgrades that make this guitar a worthy alternative to today’s similarly priced guitars.
The new 1423 features a solid mahogany body with a sturdy, four-screw, bolt-on neck. The the original was a semi-hollow design with a three-screw neckand floating wooden bridge. This baby has a Tune-O-Matic style bridge complete with saddle screw retainer wire that provides infinitely better adjustability and precise intonation.
The modern Duncan-designed humbucking pickups have a real vintage vibe and deliver rich, woody tones but with more modern, robust output and a lot less noise. The pickups have great detail, clarity, note separation and even without the blend control, they offer a surprisingly wide range of timbres, from dark, jazzy tones on the neck pickup to brilliant twang on the bridge pickup. Both pickups pair well with grittier, wide-open amp settings. The 1423 also sounds very rich in lower tunings with and without distortion and the guitar loses none of its luster or capacity for detail in dropped tunings. This is a wolf in (retro) sheep’s clothing!
Die-cast closed-back machine heads with chrome knobs take care of tuning duties. The trapeze tailpiece with its raised diamond design is a great anchor for the strings and provides a nice string tension.
This solid body electric guitar features a 1 11/16″ wide nut and 24.75″ scale length which Gibson and Epiphone players should feel right at home with.
Out of the box our only criticism is the setup – no worries though, an hour in our workshop and a PRO-SCM setup has this baby playing beautifully!
The Silvertone 1423 is a fabulous re-imagining of a classic guitar with the updated pickups, components and build quality making it more playable and versatile instrument than its vintage counterpart.
Silvertone 1423 Electric Solid Body features and specifications:
o Body Construction: Solid Mahogany
o Finish: Blackgold Metallic
o Neck Material: Mahogany
o Neck/Body Join: (4-bolt) Bolt on
o Truss Rod: Dual Action
o Neck Shape: ‘C’
o Fingerboard Material: Rosewood
o Frets: 20 x Nickel Silver Frets
o Fretboard Inlays: Pearl Block Inlays
o Binding: White
o Nut Material: PPS
o Pickups: Custom Duncan-Design® Humbuckers
o Pickup Switch: 3-Way Rotary
o Controls: 2 x Volume, 2 x Tone, Blend Switch
o Output Jack: 6.3mm (1/4″) Phono
o Pickguard: White Single-Ply
o Machine Heads: DieCast Geared Sealed
o Harware Finish: Chrome
o Bridge: Tune-O-Matic
o Tailpiece: Die-cast Trapeze
o Overall Length: 990mm (39”)
o Scale Length: 628mm (24-3/4”)
o Nut Width: 43mm (1-11/16”)
o 12th Fret Width: 48mm (1-7/8”)
o Fretboard Radius: 320mmR (12-1/2”)
o Weight: 3.2kg (7lbs)
o Setup: PRO-SCM
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