6/01/2016

1963 Harmony-made Airline Hollowbody Electric Guitar



I forgot to write down the H-designation model number, but this was date-stamped to '63 inside. It's basically an Airline (Wards-sold) rebranding/slight modification of the venerable (and desirable) H49 model Stratotone Jupiter. This one was in for a setup and got some compensation added to its bridge, general cleaning (and electronics spray-out), and a bit of adjustment at the nut (plus some replacement screws here and there).

These are, basically, awesome guitars. Their only limitation (tone-wise), really, is whether it was a "good day" or a "great day" at the DeArmond factory when the pickups were made. This one happened to have that blistery, punchy, sizzling tone that one wants from this kind of guitar -- so it must've been on the up and up when these were wound.

Being a short-scale (24") hollowbody electric guitar, the bright pickups are perfect to supercharge what might otherwise become a mudfest with darker pickups.


Compared to the natural finish I expect to see on most "Jupiter" versions, the sunburst is a welcome change (as are the hip double pickguards).


The trussrod works and I was able to dial the setup in perfectly.


Nice, triple-bound fretboard and big old pearloid block markers adorne the neck. The board and bridge are also both Brazilian rosewood.



You can see that I've compensated the bridge top for 3 wound, 3 plain stringing.


The controls are volume/tone, volume/tone, and a selector switch that runs neck/middle/bridge/bridge(?). I'm now wondering if the second "bridge" was actually middle (out of phase) as it had a thinn, bass-reduced voice.






I like the three-bolt pattern on these -- it seems to hold up very well tightness-wise compared to the 2x2 Fender layout.

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