Up for sale, a 1950's Silvertone Model 1365 Aristocrat in exceptional condition and in perfect working order. Manufactured in the USA by the Kay company for the Sears catalog, the Aristocrat is essentially one of Kay's high end Upbeat models (very similar to Kay's Barney Kessel in fact), yet featuring the "Speed Bump" chrome topped pickups popular on many of Kay's other models. This archtop features a full 17" lower bout, spruce top and figured curly maple back and sides, with a gorgeous, unfaded red sunburst finish. The tone is nuanced and warm, with a percussive quality that adds definition to single note lines and complex Jazz chords. The balance between the volume of the two pickups is great, and both Speed Bumps have strong output. The bridge pickup can twang and jangle, while the neck position is warm and full, with very round bass notes.

The neck has a generous chunky C shaped profile with 1 11/16" nut width, and the profile is firmly in "baseball bat" territory, filling the palm and chording very comfortably. The rosewood fretboard sports pearl block inlays and original frets that show very little wear, with their full original height and well rounded crowns. Kay used a surprisingly robust fretwire for a guitar made in the '50s, and these particular frets have a bit more width than you usually see in this era, playing cleanly up the neck with no buzzing or dead spots. The headstock is easily one of the best features of this instrument with an overlay that looks like a medieval crest, with gold "Silvertone" script etched at the top. This is no mere veneer and there is depth to the design, which is immaculate and features vibrant colors. A set of reissue chrome Kluson single line strip tuners are installed on the headstock, matching the footprint of the original tuners perfectly, and holding pitch as they should.

On the body, all of the electronics work as they should, with individual Volume and Tone controls for each pickup coupled with a three-way pickup selector lever with a heavy duty metal tip. The original nickel trapeze tailpiece is present, along with the carved rosewood bridge. Even Kay's signature flag pickguard with etched Silvertone "S" is intact and in fantastic shape with the stock mounting bracket. The original creme bakelite "cupcake" knobs are present as well.

Cosmetically, this guitar shows its fair share of honest wear, with lacquer checking across the entire body, some wear in the pick path, and a couple notable scratches on the top between the bridge and tailpiece, where a previous owner couldn't decide the proper position of the bridge (and didn't think to detune the instrument when experimenting with bridge placement). Some buckle rash is present on the back, with chips in the finish around the parameter of the guitar, as well as in two small spots on the back of the bass side upper bout which have been touched up (photo #12). The finish is otherwise original and very vibrant, with a deep shade of reddish brown on the edges and an amber center. The guitar is structurally sound with zero cracks or repairs, and the neck angle is excellent, with a very secure neck joint that shows no separation.

The Aristocrat was the tip-top of Silvertone's archtop offerings in the 1950s, and this particular example sounds excellent and looks stunning!
Year Condition Color Case
~1955 Excellent Cherry Sunburst None


Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar
Michael John Ball
Seattle, WA
7:15 AM
Mon-Tues: By Appt. Wed-Sat: 10:30AM-6:30PM Sun: Closed

We accept all major credit cards, Paypal, USPS Money Orders and Bank Wire Transfers. We buy, sell, consign and trade and are always willing to work with you to find a creative way to complete your purchase. We offer a 30 day layaway with a 25% non-refundable deposit. We’re also willing to extend layaways beyond 30 days on a case by case basis.

Orders within the Continental USA are shipped USPS Parcel Select unless they weigh over 70lbs, in which case we ship FedEx Ground. International orders are shipped via USPS Priority Mail International, and in some cases Global Express (where Priority is not offered). We are happy to oblige our buyers and use more expedited shipping services if requested and all orders are shipped within three business days or receiving cleared payment.

We are happy to offer a 48 hour approval period after delivery on all of the items sold through Mike & Mike's Guitar Bar. We will accept returns only if the item has been misrepresented in regards to originality and condition. We do our absolute best to accurately describe the tonal properties of our instruments, but will not accept returns based on the subjective nature of "tone," In the event of a return, the customer pays all shipping and insurance costs and any other credit card or Paypal fees associated with the transaction. With that said, we go to great lengths to ensure with 100% confidence that you are getting the exact item you purchased in the condition and originality described.