Sears Silvertone mystery

Bargain store bargain?

Today at the second had store I found a Sears Silvertone Organ, model 4710, in pristine condition. It’s a hoot. It’s one of those reed organs powered by a vacuum cleaner motor, like the Magnus, although this one looks sort of like an inexpensive and diminutive console. Grill cloth where your knees would be, but no speaker down there - but there is a tube amp in the thing, one that looks a lot like the model 1471 guitar tube amp, although I think this must actually be the model 1470 amp modified for use in the organ. This amp uses a 12DW7, a 12AX7, and a 6V6GT, the 1471 uses a single 12ax7 I think.

Anyway, the amp, whatever it is. feeds a little speaker on the side of the organ, and there is this volume control in the back that you can only get at with a screwdriver, but it’s just a regular pot. It’s labelled “acoustic environment” IIRC and goes from “small” to “large.” :) The on/off knob in the organ is also the tremolo, just like a wurli piano.

And get this - the “pickups” over the reeds are two little microphones, might be crystal, look like they were taken from a telephone handset sort of, wrapped in some foam which is them stapled to the organ chassis. These go to a single RCA plug in the amp.

The organ chassis is date stamped “Jan 17 1961”, the organ chassis is 659.47100, the amp chassis is 157.47101, so I have lots of info, but I can’t find a schematic - not even for the guitar amp model 1470. Any ideas?

Also, could it be possible to simply use the amp as is for guitar, plug it into the rca input jack? Am I gonna get a big shock if I do that? I’m at least going to try the mics on a harmonica. But I don’t want to damage the keyboard, it’s such an interesting thing. “Made in Italy” in fact.
The whole shebang was 25 usa dollars, had to get it, even if it can’t be used for guitar, it’s just too retro…

Anyway, thanks for reading this! :D

I found this page. It’s not much info, but it points out that the organ was made by Thomas (which sort of makes sense)

What a cool find. I ran across a site with the long list of Silvertone guitars for sell. Everyone around me had them. My neighbor across the street had the Les Paul looking one made by Dan Electro. My buddy had the ES335 looking one made by Harmony with 3 pickups and of course there were all those Fender knockoffs.

I am sure that organ will come in handy somehow, even it you cant use it as a guitar amp: which I am sure you can with some clever electronic work.

The thing is, the silvertone amps like the 1470 or 1471 can sound really, really cool. Esp. with a good guitar like a strat. I dunno about a Les Paul, but if you want to make ugly noises, I guess that would work too. :) Kidding! Anyway, if I can find a shematic for a 1470 and fo rthe organ - or even one of the earlier organs, maybe they have the same amp - we can see if it is what I think it is. At the very least it will make a cool harmonica amp, adn I can do that without damaging the organ.

Made by Thomas, eh? Thanks Phoo, that is a very useful list - it at least tells us that there were earlier and later models in the same series. I know at some point in that series they went solid state.

Thanks guys! Off to do more searching!


Two Friends of mine had different versions of basically the same Sears Silvertone guitar amp, as sold by Sears. Both had a 212 cabinet with an amp head on top. I don’t’ remember the watts really but they were rated the same, and I remember them as being 100 watts, but what the watts means is who-knows-what. IT was probably peak, which means nothing, but that might put them in the 35-50 watt category by today’s standard. One was solid-sate the other was tube. Both were loud as heck and sounded really good based on what we thought amps should sound like at the time…and in hindsight even today.

These were the guys in my very first band.

One of those friends became the bass player and got a Fender Bassman (50 watt), with the larger 2
12 standard cabinet…then another…and another. He got a hollobody Fender, like the one Jack Cassidy played. Eventually, when we played he started borrowing other friends Bassmans. At one time he was using 7 50-watt Bassmans at the same time. He build some home made cabinets from plans he got from JBL and stuck 1 15" JBL in each cabinet - 4 total. So in the end he had 7 amps, 7 Fender 212 bass cabinets and 4 115 JBL cabinets. It was a huge looking rig, and sounded as good as it looked, for the kind of stuff we were doing, and what we thought sounded good at that time.

The other friend became the guitar player. He ended up playing through both Silvertone amps and picked up a Silvertone ES-335 semi-hollow copy so he’d finally have a good guitar. He never got any more amps or cabinets at that time, but he was plenty loud to keep up with the huge bass rig.

That was right when bands were getting louder and distortion became something you no longer avoided, but desired. We started cranking up all those amps and it all sounded REALLY good. We had the tones of Cream with all that Fender and Silvertone stuff, and the fact that it was all cranked all the way up made it all distorted as heck.

It didn’t matter, and still doesn’t, that we couldn’t play very well. We had a blast. In hindsight it would be really cool to have that old equipment in hand now.

We were the first really big loud rock band from our school (this was JR High, through early high school - middle to late 60’s, maybe '64-'69). The rest were playing beach music (white guys playing soul and dance music). They weren’t even playing Beatles. We were playing Beatles, a little CCR, but then The Who and Jimi Hendrix and Cream. That’s when it because obvious we are a little different than to other guys.

By the way, if anyone remembers or cares, one of the bands from the area was The O’Kasions. They did I’m a Girl Watcher which went to No. One in something like 1964. (They weren’t from our school though, just the area.) I’ve got the original master tape of them doing some demos before that came out. That song is on the tape - it’s not very good. I’m not sure they even get through it. It’s a 7" reel, stereo, with one mic on one side and one mic on the other, to record the whole band, vocals and horns. I doubt it’s playable these days. I don’t think it’s been playable in MANY years. That sure would be an interesting mix-restoration project, regardless of who it was or what it sounded like.

The band that was our closest friends and rival band (they were doing beach music of course) was The Band of Oz. They are still around, and there are still a few original members in the band. They had a few hits on the dance and beach charts years ago…shagging stuff. I’d play with them occasionally back then when Jim, the original drummer, couldn’t there. They were doing Santana and Chicago stuff when I’d sit in. THAT was cool stuff to play too. I have many recordings of them since I supplied the PA for them sometimes, and did 4-tracks for them. They were really good. They were the first really pro sounding band to come out of our school.

Anyway…we were rockers…They weren’t (GRIN).

It’s funny what memories “Silvertone” can stir up.

Sear Silvertone (amps) powered my first band!!! And guitars for the Bennet Brothers book.

Mr Souls

Bennett Bros! That’s another memory machine, but nothing interesting to discuss, just that it brings back memories of looking through it long ago. It gives my that kidd feeling again. THAT’S COOL!

Silvertone, yep, everyone has had one if ya played in the 60’s or early 70’s anyways. I had an old Fender Bassman amp that I used to pre-amp a Silvertone amp into, wow, loud and proud no matter what you plugged into it. Even a Strat Tom!:D

SEVEN Bassmans at the same time? Yikes, you guys were nuts. :)

OK I finally figured it out, it is the 1470 guitar amp, plugged in and there it is - that small tube amp sound. Now the question is - shoudl I rip it out of the organ? the organ is just one of those vacuum cleaner reed organs, I already have two, no new sounds there, but this one is in good shape and might be worth something to a collector. Thoughts? ???

Yikes, you guys were nuts.
No argument there.....but we were loud. If you can't be good be loud. Nuts just go along side as a side dish.

Maybe you can leave the whole thing intact and make it look like you ae playing guitar through the organ.... "That is one strange looking combo amp you got there, buddy." .....umm, maybe not.

Check on the web first Tom to see if it’s worth keeping intact. If not, go for it. Just make sure you plug a Gibson into it before going to all the trouble, cause ya know it will sound awful with a Strat thru it.:smiley: :D :D

Yes, that is wise advice, Yaz, it would be a good idea to hear a Paul through it so I can really appreciate the bell like tones and singing sweetness of my strat even more. :)

I’m gonna keep it intact, I guess, because it is easy to pull the mic plug and plug in a guitar, pull the speaker wires off and stick them on an external speaker, and - this is a cool thing they did - the fan motor for the reeds is simply plugged into the amp chassis with a regular wall plug, so that is easily pulled a s well. So all i have to do is keep the back off the thing so I can have access to all those plugs and I will still be able to use different speakers with it. Although already it is very close to a Big Star sound. :)

My high school band (early 70’s) had those big 100 watt Custom amps. The lead guitarist had the 2 15" version & I had the 3-15" version. Man that thing was taller that I was at the time. The organist had some wierd amp (I can’t remember). The drummer had double bass drums. We played In a Gadda Da Vida longer than the original!!!

Mr Soul