Airline Res-O-Glas

The original Airline Res-O-Glas guitars were built between 1962 and 1967 and were written off as toys (thanks to their hollow, plastic construction). This changed when the White Stripes' Jack White played his Airline onstage. Prices soon skyrocketed as guitarists, influenced by White, discovered the unique sounds of these strange instruments. Fortunately, we weren’t the only ones interested in reproducing these quirky masterpieces. Guitar Kits USA, an online company, sells bodies identical to vintage Res-O-Glas ones. We quickly snagged one of their seafoam green Jetson bodies.

We dove into this build hoping to modernize, yet honor the look, feel and sound of these guitars. We paired the body with a neck by Eastwood (another company paying tribute to Airline). After securing the maple center block to the fiberglass body and attaching the neck, we moved on to the electronics.

We used a set of Lollar Imperial humbuckers that were “Peter Green” modified. The neck pickup’s magnet was reversed, giving this guitar‘s middle position a hollow texture. Next, we teamed up with smith and fine jeweler, Louis Farkovitz. Louis crafted a beautiful tailpiece for the guitar with a solid nickel silver Jack of Hearts motif. We wired volume and tone controls for each pickup, as on original Airlines. With a set of Grover keystone tuners installed, we were done!

The wonderful thing about Res-O-Glas guitars is their tone. The empty chamber gives the guitar a booming resonance, yet the maple center block helps capture the bite of a solid body, creating the perfect balance. This guitar has been Victor V. Gurbo’s primary stage instrument since 2012.