Silver Street Owners’ Stories
This page is devoted to all the Silver Street owners who have contacted me via this website. Your Silver Street stories belong here!
Check out the amazing creation below! This metal Silver Street Tribute Sign was created by Larry in Michigan. The inspiration came from Larry’s brother Tim, a dedicated Silver Street fan and collector. Tim’s Silver Streets can be seen on various pages of this website.
I’m the webmaster for SilverStreetGuitars.com; the only online info source for Silver Street guitars. My interest in these instruments began almost two decades ago. I spotted an ad for a TAXI on Craigslist and it became my first Silver Street. I was impressed by its innovative design and the quality of its components and construction. As the years passed, I found additional Silver Streets and built a collection. Most owners I met lamented the absence of an info source for these interesting guitars. As a result, in 2010, I created the first rudimentary SilverStreetGuitars.com website. In 2012, I designed the larger and better-organized site that exists today. Another redesign and expansion is planned for 2018. SilverStreetGuitars.com would not exist without the images, information and advice provided by former Silver Street Inc. employees and Silver Street owners in the USA, Australia and Argentina. I am grateful for all their help. Every Silver Street guitar has an interesting backstory! Murray
The lovely Tommy Shaw, Cobra and MX trio above are from the estate of Ronald Delano “R.D.” Sisk of Chesapeake, Virginia (1956-2017). Originally from Texas, R.D. worked for 42 years as an electrician, musician and sound engineer. He had a passion for music and was known throughout the music industry as one of the best sound engineers in the business. The story of RD’s acquisition of these Silver Streets is unknown. Thanks to Alpha Music in Virginia Beach for facilitating the relocation of these instruments. The trio is now with Tim, an appreciative Silver Street collector in Michigan.
I remember first hearing about Silver Street guitars in the early 1980’s through little ads in the music magazines. They were made in Elkhart, IN. In mid-1983, the factory was relocated to Shelby, MI; a town near my hometown. Around 1985, my local music store became a dealer for Silver Street guitars. If memory serves me right, I remember a couple Taxis, a couple Nightwings and a sunburst Tommy Shaw model. My guitar-playing friends and I were very impressed with these guitars that were built in our backyard but, working as a busboy, I just couldn’t take the plunge. It was a great time back then as Shelby is near Mears, MI where we had all the big rock concerts at Val Du Lakes Amphitheatre. We would always ride past the Silver Street factory on our way to the rock concerts. What was really cool was a lot of pro players were turning up with Silver Street guitars. I remember seeing David Huff with the Christian rock group David and the Giants at our local Armory putting a beautiful white Spitfire model through the paces. Also, a few local musicians were using Silver Street guitars. I remember seeing a local guitarist by the name of Leif with a beautiful burgundy Nightwing with Kahler Tremolo being played through a Peavey Renown 2-12. That Nightwing sounded amazing and really turned me on to what a Silver Street guitar was all about. The Nightwing weighed a ton but played like a dream. To this day, the Nightwing is my favorite model due to this first encounter. I went along my musical path with the more popular Fender and Gibson wares but always kept Silver Streets in the back of my mind. Fast forward about 25 years and, while surfing the internet, I came across the great SilverStreetGuitars.com website and my youth came flooding back. I thought then that maybe I should find a Silver Street guitar to relive the old days. After looking for a few years and studying all of the great information on the website, I finally found a Silver Street guitar I was interested in on Craig’s List. It was a single pickup Sunburst, gold hardware, perfect condition Spitfire model from a great lady Dawn in Grand Rapids, MI. After the purchase, I thought the search was over but little did I know it was just beginning. After seeing what a great guitar the Spitfire was, I decided I probably should have one of all the seven models. I didn’t think it was possible as some of the models are super rare and very hard to find. With some help from a special dude and good friend I was able to accomplish that goal. Every time I pick up one of my Silver Street guitars it takes me right back to high school when the world was a simple place and I was going to be the next rock star. Everything about these guitars says 1980’s; pointed headstocks, Dimarzio pickups, Kahler and Floyd Rose Tremolos. I would highly recommend trying one for yourself. “Designs of The Future – Today”. A very special Thank You to my dear friend Murray, the guru of all things Silver Street. He has been so very generous and kind with all my questions and inquires through the years. Thanks for keeping Silver Street guitars and the dream alive. Tim.
Silver Street produced two Michigan Map guitars. They differ slightly in design. The second of the two is owned by Don in Michigan. He sent this backstory: “I was teaching beginner guitar lessons at Bird’s Music in Muskegon, Michigan. It was somewhere around 1986. I came out of the lesson room and it was out on the floor sitting in a guitar stand. It had a price tag of $150. The store owner said that a guy traded it along with some cash in exchange for a keyboard. I immediately asked the store owner how much cash I would have to fork over to make sure it didn’t leave the store with someone else. He countered with “How much you got?” I had $40 on me. It was enough. For the next few months a portion of my lesson money went to pay off the guitar. I have had it ever since in spite of many offers to purchase it from me. I visited the factory in Shelby, Michigan many years ago and the story they gave me was that it was one of three specially built instruments that they took to the National Association of Music Merchants show that year. The guitar is a pretty good playing and sounding guitar, but not one that would knock your socks off. In fact, the pickup selector switch is actually wired backwards compared to the typical wiring. On this guitar the bridge position is up and the neck position is down. I never fixed it.”
This special Spitfire is an early one with serial number S0006. It is owned by John in California; author of “The Flight of the Pickerings”. Here’s John’s fascinating story: “I bid on and won this wonderful Silver Street at a charity auction in 1995 (I think). Chris Hayes of Huey Lewis and the News donated it to the cause. I think I was the only guitar player in the crowd because I was the only bidder! Anyway, I was lucky and subsequently became friends with Chris. He told me that he had written one of their hits “I Want a New Drug” on this guitar. As a result of the Oct. 2017 Northern California wildfires I lost the original case and accompanying documentation. But fortunately I had the guitar packed in a soft shell case stashed at a different house, so it’s safe and sound. I still play it.”
Melanie in Lexington, KY sent the two photos above. The first photo shows her playing her Taxi with her band The Usual Suspects in 1983. The second photo shows her playing her 1957 re-issue Strat with The Bats comedy/cabaret band. Here’s Melanie’s story: “The moment I saw a counselor playing a ukulele at Girl Scout camp in 1965, I was hooked. I taught myself to play uke and guitar and played the rest of my life. Things took a turn towards the electric guitar in 1975 when my boyfriend and future husband asked me to sit in on a few songs in his band. With Nancy Wilson of Heart as my role model, I started playing with the guys. In 1978 I studied jazz guitar in New York and was ready to be the sole guitarist for two of our bands. In those bands I used a custom Les Paul that was so heavy I began looking for something lighter. That’s when I saw the Taxi and loved it: obviously lighter, cooler looking and it fit right in with our 1980’s, MTV style band. I had it customized to switch from single coil to double coil pickups; it was a workhorse for our cover-band material. I retired from playing after the birth of my first child but continued to write and record in our home studio. In 1998 I was a founding member of a comedy/cabaret group called The Bats, writing quite a few of our comedy songs. In that band I used my ’57 re-issue Fender Strat. I was with The Bats for 16 years until I finally retired from playing in 2014. Now my plans are to write a book and a musical–we’ll see!”