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Electric Guitar

Sears Silvertone Twin Twelve Review & Demo

Silvertone Twin Twelve Amp
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You’ll see a lot of vintage amp collectors looking for the american classics. A Fender Twin Reverb Silverface, The Preston, a Bassman, among other American legends. Till recently you would be looking at paying over $1500 to even thinking of getting your hands on a working model, lets not even get into the price of one thats all original and mint. These iconic amps are clean tone history, and almost every church player knows the value they have due to the fact that one of their best features is the ability to take pedals so well. Recently a lot of hype has come up regarding a brand of American made amps that were made a few years back, today I’d like to introduce you to the Silvertone Twin Twelve.

I came across the Silvertone line of amps while searching online for vintage guitar gear. Historically they were made by Danelectro for Sears then branded Silvertone. They had a large line of very awesome sounding amps that were targeted towards the novice guitar player. Unlike today, these amps had to be hand wired and used components that for our time we’d consider awesome at worst.

The build quality would be like the quality you’d see from boutique builders today. In my case, I was attracted to the old school look of it and the tones I was hearing people like Johnny Buckland get from it. When you hear the guitars on Coldplay’s “Ghost Storys”, you hear a very mellow guitar that screams “character”. So I knew that for worship guitar this would translate very well and I’m all about that kind of tone.

When I pulled the trigger on eBay I got one in working condition for $500 plus shipping. They shipped it to Miami were I have a mail forwarder to get it to me in Bogota, Colombia. After paying another $80 dollars to have this 70 lb amp delivered to my studio I opened it and immediately saw its potential. The tubes the previous owner had placed in it were obviously NOS. He had no idea that lots of what he had was all original. The downside was that the tubes were at the end of their natural lifespan. I had plan B already in motion.

I before had bought a set of matched Tung Sol 6L6GC’s. The original RCA made ones started to look like they had a snow storm coming in on the inside which is always a good indication that they are ready to be replaced. After making that fast change I was rocking fast. I new that this guy could be better so I moved on to ask a pro to help me re-cap the whole amp. Lucky for me, in Colombia you can find a lot of NOS electronic stuff that is cheap in comparison to the USA. People here are not about vintage amps so the demand was low.

After that, I had set myself back another $150 with the new power tubes and the capacitor installation. The difference in tone? Huge. I got curious and found a set of the 6CG7’s the amp originally used. They are not common because this kind of tube was used mostly in radios. Lucky for me I got them new made by Sylvania, the company that made them for Sears back in the 60’s.

So after the amp was in top condition, moved on to the next thing: the cab. The previous owner thought it would be more “blues’y” to swap out the original Jenson’s for a set Marshall Vintage G12’s. He said they sounded more like a “Blues Breaker” like that. I disagreed totally. One of the speakers had a nasty rattle, which told me I had to do something.

My church had a few peace of old gear parts lying around. I found out we had an old marshal 4×12 that used the vintage g12’s I had already. Soon though I set my eyes on a set of speakers that would not be so true to the originals but they looked good enough for me. The church had a Roland Jazz Chorus that burned out totally in an electric accident.  The speakers however, survived unharmed. The 4×12 had been missing 2 speakers and I naturally went for the trade. So the church got the g12’s and I got the Roland speakers which back then, were compared to Celestion Creambacks. So I was happy, and the amp was ready.

The amps tremolo is beautiful, the reverb not so much. It’s actually useless. I plan on removing the reverb tank in the short future just because I never see myself using it. The two channels have different flavors, but both useful, One is clean and fat, the second is edgy and hot. Both are awesome.

By the end of my spending, I had invested less than $800 in an amp that sounds better to me than a lot of its american counterparts. I’ve compared it to my other amp, a Matchless Lightning thats over $2k and it’s a lot fatter and punchier. Is it worth the investment? YES!

So how does it sound? Here are some audio demos of the results. I’ll be using the following:

  • TMG Guitar co. Dover
  • Fender American Standard Telecaster with Porter Custom Tele Pickups (wired a bit hotter to my taste)
  • Gretsch Duo Jet
  • Electro Harmonix Soulfood with the JHS “meat and 3” Mod
  • Walrus Audio Mayflower
  • Electro Harmonix POG2
  • Strymon Timeline Delay
  • Eventide Space Reverb

The amp is mic’ed up with a Sennheiser MD421 and a NOS Panther Ribbon Mic. No further processing has been done. The Amp is always set to flat with the drive always in the same place. No master volume on this guy.

Dover Clean

This is just a run of all the pickups with the amp just at edge of breakup with some delay stuff at the end.

Dover w/ Drives

Running the Soulfood and then the Mayflower

Dover Ambient

Kicked in the Soulfood with the POG2 doing some modulation, Delay, and a hall reverb to get a really close sound to our friend Johnny Buckland.

Tele Clean

Just the tone of the amp at edge of breakup

Tele w/ Drives

Same as the Dover, Running the Soulfood and then the Mayflower

Tele Ambient

Soulfood with delay and Shimmer. I added the second reverb from the DAW via Eventide’s Blackhole for more space.

Duo Jet Clean

Duo Jet w/ Drives

Same as the Dover, Running the Soulfood and then the Mayflower

Duo Jet Ambient

Just doing some typical Nigel Hendroff stuff with the Soulfood, Delay, and the Space reverb.

Thanks for reading, please feel free to ask questions and I’ll get back to you ASAP. Godspeed!

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