First Guitar

When I was around 10 or 11 years old, a classmate brought his electric guitar and amp to school and played for the class. It was so cool! I just had to get my own guitar, especially after I saw how popular my classmate was with the girls.

I was obsessed with getting a guitar and started begging my parents for one. Well, the begging paid off and I finally got a Sears Silvertone guitar and amp set.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...
Although I couldn't play a note, I was in guitar heaven. Here's an old photo of me holding my first guitar. Yeah, that goofy looking kid is me standing in front of the '55 Chevy family car.

The Silvertone tube amp was probably the best part of the rig. I don't have a picture of the amp, but from what I can remember (which is not much) it had a separate head and speaker cab. I think it was similar to an amp I saw Jack White use in one of the White Stripes videos.

Danelectro '56 single cutaway bottle headstock
The guitar was made for Sears by Danelectro. This picture of a Danelectro reissue that looks like my old Silvertone. The overall shape, color, headstock, bridge, and chrome lipstick pickups are very similar. My guitar only had one pickup, though.

I wish I had kept my first guitar and amp. They were classics. The Silvertone amp was traded in for a new Ampeg 15" combo amp and a cheap Fender knock-off guitar. The store didn't want my old Silvertone guitar, so I kept it for awhile and ended up taking it completely apart (I was curious). I gave the body a fluorescent green and black striped paint job (sorry no photo) and put it all back together. Surprisingly, it still played well. Not sure what happened to it, though.

Back then I knew nothing about guitars and amps, and it took me a long time to appreciate them the way I do now. Since then I've bought and sold several guitars and amps, and looking back, should have kept a few of them (like the late 60s Gibson SG Special, early 70s Gibson Les Paul Deluxe Goldtop, late 70s Marshall 100 watt full stack, and the tube Echoplex tape delay). Oh well, live and learn.

I think every guitar player has fond memories of their first guitar. And though I've owned and played many guitars over the years, I'll never forget that old Silvertone.