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Thread: Silvertone Mandolin identification

  1. #1

    Default Silvertone Mandolin identification

    Hi all,
    just bought this vintage Silvertone Mandolin.

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    Serial Numer is L7629-752

    Could anyone please help me to date it?

    Thanks for support.
    Lino

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    Scalloped Kay headstock and "wind chime" logo suggest early 1950s. The tuners are Japanese replacements for Kluson units that presumably had button rot. The original tuner type would help in the dating as they were probably enclosed Kluson types which changed quite rapidly from the late 40s introduction through the 50s- small detail changes. The Kay number is probably some kind of production code and has no bearing on the date or model type. Every now and again the model number is inside but Kay model numbers began with a K.

  4. #3
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    That isn't a serial number as Nick has stated. Kay didn't serialize their instruments. It's an entry level instrument. If it's a late enough model the tuners might be original as I'm seeing other Kay's on eBay with the same tuners or they may have been a cheap replacement that more than one person used. These are on eBay daily. If the neck joint is solid do a happy dance because they notoriously fail. It could be as late as the early 60's. Silvertone was a brand name owned by Sears Roebuck company of Chicago, Illinois, USA.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    I am pretty certain that I can see the top imprint of a Kluson tuner in the photo when it is enlarged. Here is an analysis of the Silvertone 618 guitar from the 50s- you can see it was made with the pointed headstock which Kay reverted to after the scalloped headstock your mandolin has. The writer is impressed because one of these 618 guitars actually has the number 618 after the L number and he mentions he wished Kay had done as Harmony did and featured the model number in the production number but this was very rare. https://www.silvertoneworld.net/acoustic/0618/618.html

    Kay used Kluson tuners from the early 40s but in the 60s most of its output had Japanese tuners- a different style to those on your guitar and only used Kluson tuners for the very top models. They are on this Montgomery Ward retailed Airline mandolin which has a rather austere horizontal headstock top unlike the Airline electric mandolins Kay made which were pointed. https://www.ebay.com/itm/27476175805...0e78%7Ciid%3A1

  7. #5
    Registered User William Smith's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    There are a serious load of sweet vintage mandolins-even guitars from the teens all the way thru the 1940's and some are seriously built with quality! Most can be made even better with some easy modifications!

  8. #6
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    Tuners from this Kay mandolin. I'm not so sure OP's have been changed but who knows.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  9. #7

    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    I think those tuners above are replacements- the one on the left hand side looks to be over the edge of the headstock a little. Mind you,that may be somebody at Kay drilled the holes too close to the edge! This is the small eBay photo of one I bought for parts but I repaired it and it is O-Kay!Look at the tuners posts and their relative alignment!

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  10. #8
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    They would both have to be replacements and I'm not ready to buy that. I don't see any ghosts here.
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    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  11. #9

    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    I was looking at the photo on the finished eBay listing which magnifies a lot more and I think I can see two a couple of indentations above the RH tuner unit- it may be my imagination but if the mandolin is from the early 50s- to have that logo style then it is from the Kluson tuner era which ended in the early 60s. Perhaps, when the OP gets the mandolin he can explore a bit but it's not significant- if they work that's the main thing.

  12. #10
    Moderator MikeEdgerton's Avatar
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    Default Re: Silvertone Mandolin identification

    Kay was as bad as any of the other Chicago builders for suddenly popping instruments up using older peghead shapes etc. If they found a box of necks in the warehouse I'm sure they used them to fill orders. It was a commodity to them the same way it was to Harmony and Regal.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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