1960s SEARS SILVERTONE 1470

Yet another gem from CL: a mid to late 60’s Sears Silvertone tube amp, model 1470.

From some online research this puts out a whopping 2W, from a very non-traditional set of tubes: 12AU6, 35E4, 50C5. Nontraditional for guitar tube amps, that is. The trio is usually found on tube radios. Plugged in it pushes the sound thru an 8″ speaker (unknown brand), with only ONE volume knob. Its as simple as it gets.

What i wonder about is why most of these low-wattage amps have TWO inputs. I guess back in tube heyday, theyre enough to power an instrument and a mic. This IS afterall a small amp, and light enough to travel with.

Plugging in another 1/4 plug thru the other 1/4 input jack doesnt increase the volume level, as is the case with most older tube amps. if you have an older tube amp with at least 2 inputs, try it. Plug your guitar in input 1, then find another 1/4 plug and plug it in the other input. Dont plug any instrument on the other end of the second 1/4 plug/cord. Most cases, the bigger amps get a noticeable volume boost.

This one i got for ultracheap – so cheap im not even going to mention it here. Lets just say it wasnt free, but the price i got it for was insane.

The cabinet itself is in pretty good shape, considering its over 40 years old. There are some small tears on the silver pepper cloth tolex, but nothing big. One corner has scuffed and noticeable ding, exposing the plywood construction, but otherwise the cabinet is sturdy.

The one volume knob is a bit loose on the pot, and the pot itself is a bit scratchy. There IS some hum, albeit normal for all old tube amps, nothing loud and uncontrollable. In fact, plugging in, its fairly quiet and inaudible once you start playing. The inputs also tended to lose the signal intermittently, but the sound itself? clean til about 1oclock, then starts distorting past that. Fully dimed it has a nice singing sustain and respectable growl. All this at decent loudness. Great for bedroom or even backstage practices!

WIth the fix on the knob, the pot, and the input jacks, I ended up doing only one major mod (for now!). I noticed the sound was clearer and louder when i turned the amp around. Something was muffling the sound coming from the front. Disassembling the amp (as i always do with ANY amp i get), i found the front speaker holder had one 1-inch wide piece of wood (its actually fiberboard) that goes across the speaker front. Most likely it was thought of to prevent anything from poking thru the front. The problem is that it muffles the tone too much. For a small speaker, anything in front of it thick and wide enough will block the sound. So off it went. This resulted in a much stronger, fuller sound. This DOES alter the cabinet drastically, so think about it if youre into collecting pristine, untouched amps. But to me, i play ALL amps i come across with (every amp i own is a working person’s amp – it will get played and NOT sit in a cabinet or on a mantlepiece behind some glass just for show like a museum. i fulfill its purpose!). But the mod is invisible, and the better sound you get is more than enough to justify the mod.

The next mod is most likely a 3 prong cord, for safety reason. The cord on it now is clean and supple, and even shiny – proof that this amp hasnt been played much. This one is a keeper, unlike the Harmony amp i had a year ago. Although small and dinky, this silvertone has a power transformer as well as an output transformer. The Harmony amp had NO power transformer, which means it gets its tube fed with electricity STRAIGHT FROM THE MAINS! SHOCK HAZARD! Even the old man who sold me the harmony amp told me about it (used to repair tube equipments for 40 years) – there is simply NO WAY to make it safe, and admonished strongly to use an islation transformer. Even then its not a guarantee to make it fully safe. At least THIS 1470 has one, even if its a small transformer. For the output power, its sufficient enough.

Another mod i may end up doing is an external speaker jack. Not sure how a 10″ or 12″ speaker will sound with it, but a simple mod should help me find out!

Other than that, i dont see any other mod i would WANT to do on this amp. Maybe a better output tranny? It’s a great little amp  – the tone it puts out is at best sweet and singing, and privides little to fuss around with. This allows you to play more, instead of futzing around looking for that great tone. This amp ALREADY has that. just plug, and play!