The Acoustic Guitar Forum

The Acoustic Guitar Forum (
-   Archtops (
-   -   Pricing help (

whvick 03-03-2021 02:01 PM

Pricing help
My grandson is going to look at this archtop tomorrow
Any ideas on what it is worth?

Br1ck 03-03-2021 03:26 PM

The issue with almost all of these old archtops of this quality is neck angle. I bought one of an even cheaper build, Stella like, whose tailpiece laid on the top. Sure hope that bridge isn't intonated, LOL. If the frets have life, it has some kind of case or gig bag, the neck angle is reasonable and glue joints aren't cracking open, it might be ok. Probably solid birch, not a bad thing. I bought mine to hone my skills. I slipped the neck block to reset the neck angle, refretted, and because of the painted binding, put real binding on the front and back. The painted binding was cut off shortening the back after the reset. I also glued some JJBs while the back was off. Fun rootsy tone. Never good enough for swing or jazz. Puts you smack dab in the depression era. Harmonys are a cut above though.

It might be worth it for an issue free guitar, which would be rare indeed.

I've got an old 165 that needs the same reset. Any flame on the back of any of these is paint, so you have to like cheesey kitch. Still, every once in a while I can play it for hours.

On closer inspection, it's got a trussrod and binding, so it's higher up the quality scale, but still to be avoided if neck angle or frets are an issue. It's the kind of thing I'd buy as a project, at maybe $200.

Jodythebaker 03-03-2021 03:55 PM


Originally Posted by whvick (Post 6652348)
My grandson is going to look at this archtop tomorrow
Any ideas on what it is worth?

That looks similar to my dad’s old Silvertone arch top (his is blonde all over) which I believe he originally purchased during the late 60s from Sears.

His was neglected and left under a pool table for about 20 years (at least) and when I grabbed it one day I decided to get it back into playing condition. Here’s what I did (maybe give your son an idea of issues):

The arms on the open gear tuners get bent easily, and the gear actually was loose - so those needed replacing.

The glue on the plastic nut had worn out and the nut literally fell off when removing the original strings (dad was definitely not a player), but I was more than happy to replace it with a new bone one.

The floating bridge was still in great shape and the trapeze tailpiece was still in good condition albeit a bit dusty.

The floating pick guard was loose and had the start of a slight crack.

If you search reverb you’ll see the values for Silvertones are all over the spectrum. Kay made a bazillion of these birch topped boxes and there’s a great website that kinda does an overview for some of the eras and models. Worth a look!

Ben M. 03-03-2021 04:24 PM

If it’s playable and he likes the sound it’s a decent price.

It’s pretty rare to find one of these that doesn’t need a neck reset. A lot of people will just shave the bridge down which makes them playable again but the tone suffers.

Since the ad says “needs tuned” I’m assuming the seller isn’t a guitar player so I wouldn’t put much stock in their claim that it “plays great”

ArchtopLover 03-04-2021 09:17 AM

I just picked up two old Silvertones, similar to this model, only a little older, probably 1930's, no truss rods. This one looks like maybe late 1950's, early 60's with a truss rod....? They both need work (neck sets) and were purchased as projects with the intent to repair and restore. I only paid $165.00 each, so, although this one looks like it is in better shape overall, without being able to see the neck angle, it is difficult to determine whether or not it will be playable once the guitar is strung up and the bridge positioned correctly (you can see it has been bumped, and is sitting at an exaggerated angle).

Because these old archtops almost always need some repairs and adjustments, it is important to consider whether your Grandson will be able to make these repairs and adjustments on his own, with some guidance by others, or can afford to have the guitar repaired by a local Luthier. If the guitar needs a neck reset, this could easily cost the price they are currently asking. Although there are less expensive ways to perform neck angle adjustments (neck reset), sometimes the investment may just not be worth it.

Nevertheless, if the neck angle is good, $300.00 is still a little high and I'd offer something less, and negotiate from there ;).

Dadzmad 03-04-2021 10:14 AM

I started to go down this road - and realized that practically all the "everyman's" Chicago built mid century archtops that I looked at had some serious (and potentially expensive) aging issues.

Not to talk you out of anything but keep in mind that if you have some patience and look out for one - you can find a Godin 5th Avenue (Kingpin) used in the $500 -$600 range which considering what you pay for one of these old ones and what it costs to get it playable starts looking close to similar.

I got a used Kingpin and it's a nice guitar for the money, sounds & plays well unplugged, and has a nice P90 that is awesome through a tube amp.

Not vintage mojo - but it kinda sorta gets you a good part of the way into ES125 territory.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:51 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions Inc.
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, The Acoustic Guitar Forum

vB Ad Management by =RedTyger=