Fifty years ago or more I spent hour after hour staring at and dreaming about the electric guitars on display at Lyon & Healy, Chicago’s largest musical instrument store.
This was the era before Fender Strat and Gibson Les Paul copies so dominated guitar design. Local guitar manufacturers such as Kay, Harmony, Valco, Supro and more were experimenting with wonderful “out of the box” designs. These were soon followed by imports such as Teisco, Greco, Guyatone and others.
Crazy shapes, crazy electronics, crazy colors and crazy materials; I drooled over them all. Some had vibrato systems, most of which barely worked. Some had built in speakers – you can imagine how that sounded. Body styles and designs were as varied as can be. Remember, this was the time when automobile design was featuring fins and tons of chrome. Product design in general was beginning to reflect the culture’s fixation on outer space. Electric guitar design didn’t escape this trend. But all of these electric guitars had one thing in common – they were cool, very, very cool!
And now Sylvan Music is about to make that cool available again. We’re set to receive our first shipment of Airline electric guitars in about a week and we’re all excited about it. These instruments have the same cool factor as the originals but are built much better, sound much better, and feature better overall playability than the originals. Best of all, this retro cool is available at very reasonable prices. Make sure to come by soon and try them out.