the white stripes

The Airline Professional Vibrato was Valco's top-of-the line Res-O-Glas model.

Tonewoods can certainly live up to their reputation, but the Airline Professional Vibrato made a strong case for fiberglass.

Over the holidays, our family got together and talked about normal things—like shopping, movies, and guitars! My father-in-law plays acoustic guitar, and since we live so close to the Martin guitar factory, he has quite an impressive collection. We got to talking about tonewoods and how each of his Martins has a different feel and “vibration” of sorts. One can really dig deep into various guitar tonewoods and how they impact sound. (I once visited a factory in Japan that played classical music in the curing room because they believed that the music would have a certain tonal impact.) But whenever I’m presented with someone who is obsessed with wood quality, I think about the pine, Formica, and fiberglass electrics made by Danelectro and Valco as examples of guitar building that totally ignored the traditional process. So, this month I’m going to tell you the story of a guitar model that’s a great example of how certain guitar makers threw tonewood theories right out the window.

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