In response to the folk boom of the late '50s and the rise of rock n' roll in the early '60s, every department store and mail-order catalog wanted to make sure they had plenty of guitars in stock. Mass-produced axes from brands like Harmony, Silvertone, and Kay may have looked the part and temporarily satisfied the desires of aspiring songsters and rockers. While they may have captured the right look to inspire an aspiring player, these instruments were entry-level at best. Even though some were made out of the right materials, they were never actually built to be functional instruments that would ever tune and play properly.
With its eye-catching two-tone paint job, the Harmony-manufactured Silvertone Colorado archtops are about as cool as it gets. Sears marketed these guitars as an intermediate level archtop, and while their finish gives them unparalleled mojo, their neck angle was often insufficient. This limited both the sound the guitar produced as well as the playability up the neck.
Fortunately, Scott Baxendale and his team of luthiers in Athens, Ga., recognize the potential of these guitars and regularly remanufacture them. Unlike what they do with flattop acoustics (which involves removing the back to re-brace and re-voice the guitar), much of the archtop Baxendale Conversion process involves correcting the neck angle and fitting a proper adjustable bridge to the unique shape of the top. These two steps dramatically improve the downward pressure on the top, thereby giving the guitar new life and world class tone with no shortage of authentic mojo. These inspiring instruments are an exceptional value, and they're an incredible way to recycle and repurpose old axes.
This Baxendale '50s Silvertone Colorama Conversion looks about as cool as you could imagine, but thanks to Baxendale's meticulous work, it performs like a brand new guitar. By examining the neck joint, its obvious how much work went into correcting the neck angle properly and lifting the fingerboard off of the top to improve the sound. It also now sports a high-quality solid rosewood aadjustable bridge that is properly seated to the carve of the top.
This '50s Colorama Conversion also features a new bone nut, and its original fingerboard has been re-planed and refretted. Because of that, its chunky, C-shaped neck plays beautifully and in tune all the way up the fingerboard. Brand new open-gear Grover tuning machines offer tuning stability that this guitar never had, and it also sports Baxendale's original floating pickup/pickguard design, which utilizes a Kent Armstrong mini-humbucker to produce warm, full archtop tone. Dig that chicken-head volume knob, too! Setup with flatwound strings, this jazz box is ready to keep the club bumping all night.
Every Baxendale Conversion includes a hardshell case and a lifetime warranty.