Airline was a store brand of consumer electronics and musical instruments originally marketed and sold by American retailer Montgomery Ward via their catalog and retail stores. Products included radios, televisions, record players, guitars and amplifiers. In the early 2000s, Eastwood Guitars acquired the rights to use the "Airline" brand-name.
The Airline brand was used by Montgomery Ward on a range of electric and acoustic guitars from 1958-68. These were made in Chicago, Illinois, by the Valco Manufacturing Co., Kay Musical Instrument Company, and Harmony Company. Valco Airline guitars have been played by a wide array of bands and artists including: J. B. Hutto, David Bowie, The Cure, PJ Harvey, Calexico and Jack White.
Airline-branded amplifiers were also marketed. These were manufactured by Valco and Danelectro.
Eastwood Guitars reissue
After Eastwood Guitars purchased rights to the "Airline" trade name in the early 2000s, they reissued the early 1960s "JB Hutto" Airline shape as the "Airline DLX." The new version set aside the defining hollow fiberglass body of the Valco-made original in favor of the simpler and less-costly chambered mahogany body, giving it a more traditional electric guitar feel and tone, rather than the unique playing feel and response of the original.
Eastwood Guitars later released the "Airline '59 Custom" in two- and three-pickup models in December 2008, which come with striped pickguards and rubber-bound bodies, in the spirit of the originals.
- Kay Musical Instrument Company
- Harmony Company
- Eastwood Guitars
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- Robinson, Mike (April 14, 2014). MyRareGuitars.com. Retrieved October 7, 2014
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- "White Heat: the White Stripes' 21st Century Blues" by Darrin Fox. Guitar Player Magazine, edited by Michael Molenda, June 2003, Pp.72.
- "The House That Jack Built" by Christopher Scapelliti. Guitar World Magazine, edited by Brad Tolinski, May 2004, Pp.150.
Media related to Airline Guitars at Wikimedia Commons