CLOSE

Airline 59 Custom Electric Guitar

Airline Custom 59Airline Guitars were originally made in the USA from 1958 to 1968 by VALCO. Artists such as David Bowie, The Cure, and The White Stripes currently favour these guitars and some of the original models can fetch up $3,000. The new Airline guitars are part of the retro-themed Eastwood Guitars family. Made in Korea, The Airline 59 Custom is one of the more daring models in the current collection.

Firstly, this guitar looks amazing. The Airline 59 Custom features a tone-chambered mahogany body, which is available in a red or black finish and complemented by groovy rubber body binding with a striped pick-guard. The guitar is most certainly eye-catching and is pleasingly comfortable to play which can be a problem that more-uniquely designed instruments sometimes face.

Electronics-wise, two Airline vintage voiced single coil pickups and a three way switch provide a highly useable array of sounds, augmented by unique individual volume and tone controls for each pick up as well as a master volume control. As a result, the variety and quality of tones available are quite reminiscent of a Fender Mustang guitar.

Most importantly, the 59 Custom is a joy to play. A bound maple bolt-on neck coupled with a rosewood fingerboard in 25 ½” scale gives this guitar a general feel similar to some Fender Telecaster or maybe even Rickenbacker models. The Tune-O-Matic machine heads and a custom chrome tail provide stable tuning across the fretboard; even wide interval jumps and extended chord voicings in the higher frets retained sonic integrity.

The guitar has a great bite for funk and pop sounds as well as a balanced darker tone for blues and country playing. Even the middle of the road tonality on less adventurous pickup settings lends itself well to light rock and arpeggiated chord sequences. Despite the bold look which will probably polarize some players, the 59 Custom is a great-sounding and feeling all-rounder guitar.

A deluxe Airline case is included in the RRP of $1495.

CHRIS GIBBS

Reviewed at The Rock Inn, Mt. Lawley.