In the 1930s, Valco was formed by three business partners and former owners of the National Dobro Company; Victor Smith, Al Frost, and Louis Dopyera. The company name was a combination of the three partner's first initials (V. A. L.) plus the common abbreviation for company (Co.)
Valco manufactured Spanish acoustic guitars, metal-bodied resonator guitars, electric lap steel guitars, and vacuum tube amplifiers under a variety of brand names including Supro, Airline, Oahu, and National. They also made amplifiers under contract for several other companies such as Gretsch, Harmony, and Kay. In the 1960s they began producing solid body electric guitars.
Replicas and revivals
Since Valco's demise, a number of manufacturers have reissued several different reissues or derivatives of Valco instrument and amplifier models. Eastwood Guitars currently produces a variety of reissue Airline guitars, as well as at least one Supro model. Several of Valco's earlier amplifier models are currently reissued by Vintage47 Amps of Mesquite, Nevada. These amps are somewhat unique in modern times due to the fact that they implement octal preamp tubes, whereas later amplifiers leading right up to present times use miniature noval preamp tubes.
In late 2013, it was announced that Absara Audio of Port Jefferson Station, New York, had purchased the rights to the Supro trademark from noted electronic engineer Bruce Zinky. Zinky himself had used the Supro name for a series of amps beginning in 2005 from his company, Zinky Electronics. Absara announced in January 2014 that a series of new Supro amps would debut at the Winter 2014 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California. The new Supro amps are cosmetically reminiscent to their progenitors from the 1960s.
- Wright, Michael (2002). "Supro Guitars and Amplifiers Part I - Supro Part 1". Vintage Guitar Magazine (September 3, 2002).
Article about Valco's Supro brand
- Wright, Michael (2007). "Supro Resophonic FolkStar". Vintage Guitar Magazine (April 4, 2007).
Article about Supro's resonator guitars
- ADMIN (2001). "National Westwood and Glennwood - '60s Alt-materials Make Short run". Vintage Guitar Magazine (December 12, 2001).
Article about National's map guitars
- Ray, Will (2012). "Resurrecting a 1957 Supro Dual Tone". Premier Guitar (March 2012).
- Vintage Guitar Info Guy (1995–2002). "National/Valco Vintage Map-shaped Electric Models". Vintage Guitars Info.
- "History of Henry Kuhrmeyer and the Kay Musical Instrument Company. Contains Engelhardt Information". Kay Bass Information and Registration. KayBass.com.
- Tony Bacon, ed. Electric Guitars: the Illustrated Encyclopedia. San Diego: Thunder Bay, 2000. Pp. 243, 287.
- Vintage Guitar Info Guy 1995-2002.
- ADMIN 2001.
- Wright 2007.
- Ray 2012.