Silvertone SSL3 Electric Guitar Pack, Cherry Sunburst Review

Posted by Sherrie Kearney on Sunday, November 7, 2010

Silvertone SSL3 Electric Guitar Pack, Cherry Sunburst
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This review covers the Silvertone SSL3 Cherry Sunburst Guitar Pack including SMART III Amplifier.
The guitar is gorgeous, beautiful. First thing I did was to remove the stickers on the back. Not objectionable, but looked nicer without them to me. Took WD-40 to remove traces of adhesive. A knowledgeable instructor pointed out that the flame top is a photographic overlay, but if not for his expert observation, I'm not sure one could notice. Still looks beautiful to me. Checking the Gibson Internet site, seems to me even their very costly models use a veneer for the Cherry Sunburst as the 360 view shows a mahogany back, very similar to the Silvertone in appearance.
I watched a movie about the life of Les Paul called Chasing Sound and he made a guitar from a piece of 4 x 4 lumber with guitar looking wings on the sides.
Ordinary people tend to gasp when first seeing this guitar, it really is lovely.
I took it to a guitar repair shop for set up, and no adjustments were required.
After bending notes the tuning seemed to slip, so I used the locking string method at the tuning posts and wrapped the strings over the bridge with a new set of Elixir .009, and seems to be fine now. I also purchased nut lubricant for a few dollars, and added very small amounts to nut grooves and bridge contact points. Previously there had been some clicking at the nut when bending the G string, and this now vanished.
Initially the tone control for the neck pickup was intermittent. I removed the back plate to check for quality of solder joints. One lug seemed light on solder, so I re soldered it. No change. The guitar tech tightened the mounting nut, checked all the wiring. Looked good to him. No charge, and after that it has worked just fine.
The vinyl gig bag works just fine for carrying the guitar but offers no real protection or storage. Purchased Musician's Gear gig bag, and very pleased with the upgrade. Lots of storage. Well made. I hang it on the wall and space requirement is minimal.
I found the amplifier to be fairly good for "clean" amplification but pushing the Overdrive button immediately muddied the sound such that it was very difficult to hear notes on the strings even with the Drive control at minimum setting. I don't know if I just got a bad unit or they are all like this. I purchased a cable at Radio Shack and plugged the guitar into my stereo receiver accessory input. This worked well for clean only playing, but not too much different from playing an acoustic guitar with lighter gauge strings.
Acquired a reasonably inexpensive small modeling amplifier, the Roland Micro Cube and the transformation is extraordinary. Really brings the instrument to life.
The guitar strap seems fine to me. Adjusts easily and stays in adjustment, is firmly attached at the ends.
Overall I am extremely pleased with this guitar. Purchased as an experiment to see if I would like an electric after forty years of occasionally playing my Fender acoustic. With the new strings properly attached, and the new amplifier, it is a joy to play.
I replaced the guitar cable with a Monster cable with gold plated ends and this also may have improved the sound.
I read a book from the library about guitar maintenance and set up by Dave Burrluck and found it enjoyable and informative. I did adjust the bridge height, but after trying to measure the last 64th of an inch, just turned the adjustment to where I liked it. It also showed how to lock the strings at the posts. This information is also available online, but the book has clear instructions and color photoghraphs. The key is to keep tension on the string when first establishing the lock. First time I tried it did not work, so I bought a second set of strings and was more careful, then it was fairly easy.
I should mention the tone and overall sound of this guitar is very good. With the various modes on the Roland Micro Cube it really sounds extraordinary. This is a small portable amplifier, but models sound using a "composite object sound modeling" "virtually" reconstructing the audio configuration of a group of classic amplifier sounds. Roland says their amplifier modeling uses virtual components that reflect each aspect of the original amplifiers, so when volume or gain are increased, the effect is like the original. Works for me and replicates the sound of some very expensive gear.
There seems to be a condition with many guitarists where they constantly seek new, more expensive equipment, but I am perfectly satisfied with this set up. (Hope this lasts, but I am pleased.) If I ever needed to perform on a stage (not likely) I could upgrade to a more powerful amp model in the same line, or place a microphone in front of the speaker. The guitar seems perfect, that is the tuning machines work well and can be tightened with Philips screw adjustment on the chrome knobs, rosewood finger board is good, chrome finish on the hardware is very good, wood finish is very good, pickups, tone and volume controls work well. My last guitar (acoustic) was purchased used, so I'm really enjoying brand new fret wires. Ends are smooth, properly cut and beveled.
The packaging was lacking during shipment so there was very little protection. In working on the solder joint under bright light, there are some small cracks in the finish near the neck, but the guitar tech confirmed they are only cosmetic in the surface. Apart from looking very carefully that one time, I've never even noticed them again. This rough handling during shipment and lack of adequate cushioning in the packing probably knocked the tone controls loose as well. The pickup selector switch was also loose, but that could be tightened with firm finger pressure on a knurled ring.

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Product Description:
The Silvertone SSL3 has the classic lines and impeccable fit & finish that make it a great guitar to play and own. This complete package deal includes a Silvertone SMART III guitar amp, a guitar gig bag, an electronic tuner, an extra set of strings, an instructional DVD packed with lessons, picks, a cable and a guitar strap.

A versatile axe with wide tonal options. Click to enlarge.
Includes tuner, gig bag, guitar strap, cable, guitar picks, strings, and an instructional DVD.Click to enlarge.
Silvertone SSL3 Electric Guitar
The SSL3 features a set-in neck and two humbucking pickups mounted on an arched HT quilt top so it delivers all the raw, bluesy power that you expect from this classic design. Equipped with a tune-o-matic stop tailpiece for additional sustain and volcano style volume and tone controls, the SSL3 is definitely the lead guitar players guitar. Let someone else play backup.
SSL3 Features:

    Single Cutaway Carved Top Solid Body
    Set Neck (Mahogany)
    Rosewood Fingerboard
    22 Fret 24 3/4" Scale
    Chrome Precision Die-Cast Tuning Machines
    Flamed Top
    Dual Humbucking Pickups w/3-Way Selector Switch
    Limited Lifetime Warranty

Silvertone Smart IIIs Amplifier
Silvertone's Smart IIIs 10-watt amplifier includes a switchable overdrive, 6.5-inch speaker, bass and treble controls, and a headphone output--great for private practicing.
You can use the additional input for playing along with MP3s, Tapes, CDs or whatever else you hook up.
Included Accessories
This package also includes an electronic tuner, gig bag, a guitar strap, cable, set of guitar picks, an extra set of strings, and an instructional DVD to get you going.
About Silvertone
For more than 50 years Silvertone has been an icon in the American guitar industry. Our mission now, as it was when we began, is to make quality instruments from quality materials with contemporary styling while providing exceptional value. We have confidence in what we are doing, so many Silvertone products come with a Limited lifetime warranty.
Your new Silvertone guitar or bass may well be the only instrument you will ever need to buy.
What's in the Box
Silvertone SSL3 (Cherry Sunburst), Electronic Tuner, Gig Bag, Guitar Strap, Instrument Cable, Picks, Srings, Instructional DVD

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