Silvertone 1488 Guitar, dated 1967.

This instrument from 1967 Silvertone 1488 Silhouette in excellent, 100% original condition with a trio of DeArmond red foil pickups! The 1488 was the only Harmony-made Silhouette to feature three pickups, and this top tier model featured a “hand-rubbed Cherry luster finish” according to the original catalog description. Exceedingly rarer than the 1488s produced earlier in the decade, this was the last iteration of the model with tweaks both aesthetic and functional including a redesigned bridge with flip-up string mute, trio of DeArmond pickups with unique red foil inserts and large black witch hat knobs (the last two features consistent with Harmony’s Color Kat line).

This Silhouette has a huge range of tones thanks to the three pickup design and dished on/off toggle switches for each pickup. The guitar can deliver everything from spanky twang in the bridge position to warmer, mellow jazzy tones with only the neck pickup selected. The inclusion of a middle pickup really opens up the range of this instrument beyond what can be achieved with any other Silhouette (or Bobkat) model. There’s a certain percussive cut, jangle, and surprising kick from these original DeArmond pickups, and the Silvertone foils really deliver the goods! Although the red swirly inserts on the diamond pickup covers are one of the notable cosmetic features of this model, the pickup still falls within the “gold foil” family, having identical construction to its assembly line brothers with gold metal inserts. It weighs 7lbs 14oz.

The maple neck has a very full and round “baseball bat” C shaped neck profile carve, measuring .960″ deep at the 1st fret and tapering to 1.015″ at the 12th. The bound Brazilian rosewood fretboard features pearloid block inlays and original fretwire which retains its full factory height. The frets have well-rounded crowns, showing only a touch of wear on frets 1-2 and virtually no wear further up the fretboard. The original nut measures 1 3/4″, and on the headstock face, the original silkscreen “Silvertone” script is intact. The stock open-gear strip tuners work as intended, and the original truss rod cover is present.

All of the electronics work as they should, including the bank of three dished rocker switches for turning each pickup on/off . The stock CTS pots date to the 22nd week of 1966, with untouched solder joints, and the underside of the nitrate tortoise pickguard is dated June 19th, 1967. The large meatball tortoise pickguard is made from the same nitrate material used by Fender for its pickguards in this era, and this unique pickguard has an extra smaller tortoise accent piece on the bass-side body horn. The pickguard shows modest shrinkage, with one small chipped corner near the switches, and a small repair and repositioned mounting screw north of the neck pickup. This is of course to be expected with any vintage nitrate guard.

This is the last iteration of the 1488 Silhouette, and unlike earlier models with a rosewood bridge, this guitar features a metal bridge mounted to the top with six adjustable saddles. This bridge improves intonation, top-end response and vibrato action immensely over the previous version, and is also more reliable than the earlier, floating bridge. The vibrato actuates smoothly, with a spring inside the body that provides a Bigsby-esque action, yet with a more deliberate response for quick flutters and surfy dives that jump back to the original pitch with ease. All four large black witch hat DeArmond knobs are also present.

Cosmetically, the guitar is an extremely well-kept example, especially considering its rarity, with wear limited to some small finish chips and scuffs on the body edges with some minor wear on the gloss Cherry on the back as well. The neck profile has a smooth gloss with zero palm wear.