Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - 86

Silver Street built two Cobras for Quarterflash
guitarist Jack Charles (above), one in Candy
Apple Red, the other, White Pearl (right). The
first was delivered just in time for the band's
appearance on "Solid Gold." "It was set up
great and was extremely comfortable to
play, even though the design might suggest
otherwise," he said. "It had a lot of sustain,
and was punchy!" He continued to use
them in his solo project, Mien Street.
Today, he heads Phantom Guitarworks.

the bass in red. Hardy wired the prototypes
the night before the '82 Summer NAMM
show, in Chicago. Pickups were DiMarzio
Super Distortion Dual Sounds. Tailpieces
were Leo Quan BadAss units. The guitars
were well-received, and after the show,
Hardy ordered 50 Taxi necks and bodies
from Gibson.
Silver Street eventually employed as many
as a dozen people at its Elkhart factory. Bruce
continued to supervise manufacturing and
design new models - Taxis with one or two
pickups, the offset double-cut Spitfire, and
the triangular Cobra. All were distinguished
by near-complete treble access to the

"Those are fun guitars," Tommy Shaw said of his signature model (above,
left). "I still play the custom TS model shown on the back cover of my
1987 solo album, Ambition, and I used a red short-scale one when
Styx headlined the Texas Jam in '83. I later gave that one to Sammy
Hagar, who was also on the bill on that day." Bruce Hardy designed
the Nightwing (middle) with input from Tommy Shaw and artist
relations rep Ken Willard. A prototype Taxi bass (right).

fingerboard and a
24.5" scale. The majority of fingerboards had dot
inlays offset to the bass edge
like Gretsch thumbnails or Teisco's
bars, though they also offered other
patterns. Bridges/tailpieces transitioned to
Schaller assemblies. Early models had serial
numbers stamped inside the neck pocket,
and control cavities shielded with lead foil.
Later models had a serial number on the
back of the headstock and black shielding
paint in the cavities. Single-pickup models
had a coil tap, one Volume and one Tone.
Where applicable, they were given threeposition switch.

RAINBOW COALITION
Silver Street offered a number of options
and many players requested custom features,
so there was very little consistency. Pickups
could be DiMarzio Super II, P.A.F., or Super
Distortion in any combination, with X2N
VINTAGE GUITAR

86

March 2018

units for an upcharge. The buyer could even
select bobbin colors; Bruce and Marty did
the painting. Standard controls were master
Volume, master Tone, and three-way select,
though electronics could also be customized. Standard colors included Roadster
Red, White, Sky Blue, Rude Pink, Yellow,
Turquoise, Porsche Red, and Black. For a
little extra, you could get Champagne, Dark
Blue, Mercedes Red, Silver, Dark Green,
Steel Blue, Gold, Candy Apple Red, Candy
Apple Blue, Rose Pearl, White Pearl, Blue
Pearl, or natural. Flame-maple bodies were
an option, as were custom finishes. In '83,
base prices for the Taxi were $549.95 (onepickup) and $599.95 (two-pickup), $699.95
for the Spitfire and Cobra.
Things were going so well that Silver
Street acquired equipment for making its
own necks and fingerboards.
In '83, Bruce began working on the MX,
a hybrid V/Explorer that had more than a
little similarity to Dean's ML, and (with


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Contents
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - Cover
Vintage Guitar - March 2018 - open - IFC
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