The 1950's Stratotone H44 was one of the coolest blues/slide guitars ever made that featured a short body with a FAT neck. The originals are becoming very hard to find and hard to play! We’ve improved the pickups and the stability of the neck but kept all the vintage appeal of the original. Better than the real thing!
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Posted by Paul Ewing on 8th Feb 2016
Hi...i'm back. So I have been playing this guitar long enough for the novelty to wear off. BUT...it just gets better. First the fat neck now has a zero effect on the speed of my playing...and I can shred with the best.
...and here is why I think that happens.
The really cool thing I have discovered since I also play a Strat...a LP ...and a Dano like Silvertone... is that with the H44 when you reach up or down the neck the body never moves. You may not notice it but on most guitars if you are near the heel or nut end of the neck it is likely you shift the whole guitar slightly to reach and position the instrument to play in those areas. The H44 neck is anchored 6 frets into an already small body. In short it is anchored in one spot all night. Wow...talk about increasing you accuracy and speed when moving around that neck. awsome.
Now when I switch to the other guitars I find this shifting really annoying!!
So to you guys just toying with the idea of getting an H44...
it's time to jump in and just get one.
Read my post on the Eastwood/airline Blog
I have turned the guitar into an LP.
I have made this guitar into an incomparable shredder. there is nothing this guitar can't do ...except one thing... it can't disappoint you.
Posted by Martin on 6th Jan 2016
Posted by Martin on 6th Jan 2016
I recently bought an Airline H44 DLX and can barely put it down to write this review. First up, the neck is one helluva chunk of wood - speed-freak-widdle-rockers stop reading now. I have always liked fat necks and this is the fattest off- the peg guitar I have played. It's just such a reassuring feeling, and doesn't adversely affect either single note runs or bar chords. The frets are finished to a high standard and the fretboard feels great.
The body is chambered for lightness and tone, and is also jolly small. This gives a great compact feel and really encourages wringing the best out of solos. As a child I always hated trying to reach over a huge dreadnought sized acoustic so its ironic that I have a great compact guitar now I'm a big boy. Mine is finished in a limited edition dazzling green (not sure of its official name) which is an acquired taste but I quite like it.
Tone-wise the two mini-humbuckers give a great range of sounds and respond well to the tone control. I have played many guitars over the years and have too often not bothered with the tone knob as it just sounded like placing a pillow over the amp. Combined with creative use of the selector switch (you might need to balance the pickup heights too as the front pickup is quite loud) you can nail a good range of tones. The bridge alone is bright but not brittle, and the front has more girth but is still well defined. They both respond well to overdrive pedals and clean up nicely. You can get rock tones (not my cup of tea) but I prefer meaty Jimmy Reed overdriven stylings. Loose the pedal and flutey jazz tones are there to be had too.
Overall I am chuffed to bits with the H44 (would quite like the earlier single pickup model too) and would heartily recommend it to anyone tired of the ubiquitous Fenders and Gibsons. Airlines are a great way to access the funky vibe of some great old designs without the hassle of (let's be honest) less-than-perfect original build quality, or make-it-up-as-we-go vintage prices. Get one, you know you want one.....
Posted by Paul on 10th Nov 2015
....so it not only lived up to my expectations but past them....
I have a Fender Custom Shop Strat and a Les Paul Special.....both needed to be set up ....and both needed to have a few their fret ends filed before they were playable. My Airline came with really low action and was ready to play right out of the box!
The quality of the workmanship is easily equal to Fender and Gibson.
I always tweek my guitars and have work done to change things that are not perfect for me.
I did not care for the tone I heard in the videos....that said the
neck pickup sounds good even for me.
I will take off the floating acoustic style bridge and installed a Fender Mustang ....the height is right...the one I have ordered is an after market improved jobbie
It looks very much the same ....but ...it has all the adjustment of a tune-o-matic. ....and because it is meant to attach to a whammy....it should attach to the H44's trapeze tailpiece perfectly.
Best of all... since Fender bridges are basically folded sheet metal with nickel or chrome plating...it should look early 50's and not spoil the retro look of the guitar.
....In am going to swap out the bridge pickup for a Harmony style Gold Foil....it should be a drop in.
The guitar that Harmony replaced this with in 58...has this style Gold Foil.
For the bridge pickup... it will be a Duncan...Pearly Gates PAF
just like my Les Paul. All my guitars have a PAF....but they each have something different in the bridge....a Strat...Soapbar....Lipstick Tube and now a Gold Foil.
Nothing beats a PAF for a solo....but for accompanying singers a wide variety of sounds is really refreshing.
I will cap the PAF with a 'toaster' style chrome cover....the original 1954...2 pickup H44 (actually called an H88) had 2 Hershey bar pickups painted black with a chrome bar down the center....the black PAF pickup will show thru the slots of the toaster cover...and be divided by the chrome going down the center. The effect will be very similar.
I will finish up with a volume and tone knob that was on the original....two cream coloured 'cup cake' knobs...one labeled tone and the other volume. The tele switch will get a 'top hat'
style knob as well. I have one in black...white...and cream. The black one is correct...but the cream one would tie in better with the knobs. The tuners will not need replacing...they are smooth...and don't slip.....so don't let their humble appearance fool you...these are excellent.
That said the buttons are pearloid....what a nice touch. Everywhere I looked on the guitar shows an endless effort to pay attention to detail.
As for the fat neck....yup...the sucker is huge...very huge
I love to "shred"...and I can play triplets at break neck speed.
I tried it tonite for the first time....zero problem...the frets are a bit small too....but I did it all...bends ...trills pinched harmonics and once again ....no problem!
I figure in a week it will feel normal....all my guitars have different necks with different feels...they too took a week too.
Once I get the work done pretty sure this will be my main guitar.
I will send in pics when it is funished.
For young guys with a budget...there are a lot of choices out there.
Let me use this analogy....if 15 years ago you bought Mini Cooper car and looked after it....the 2015 model is identical....the car....like the H44 has cache...it was years ago and still is....but other cars if you bought them...have changed their body styles twice....so if you had one...your car is no longer cool...if it had the slightest bit of cache new...it no longer has any.
So ....if your final goal is to get a custom shop strat like I have. Fine. But if it takes you years you will always have a very cool guitar .What's more...I bet you keep your Airline as a second guitar....because you will never feel ashamed of walking on stage with it.
In short....an Airline is not a stepping stone...it's an investment.
So go for it!!!!
Posted by Paul Eoghan from ...'The Unthinkable' on 2nd Nov 2015
yes....the first Harmony H44 Stratotone came out in1952 and was metallic orange with a Hershey bar single coil pickup. No longer available. And I have spent hours online checking for this pickup.
1952 saw the arrival of the first Les Paul....both guitars had the same shape...single coil pickups and a trapeze tailpiece
and in 1953 fender brought out the Statocaster
Makes me think everyone was watching everyone...afraid not to get behind...who was influenced by who we will never know. But we know Harmony did not drag its feet when it came to innovation.
It was not long that the H88 Stratotone Doublet was introduced...the Airline H44 is a very good reissue of this guitar. Even the colours are right. They offered a green (teal)
metallic as well.
If you have or get the H44...you can make it even more accurate looking with a set of cupcake ..tone and volume knobs (Allparts has them) and change the switch knob to a Top Hat Tele style.
I ordered my H44 this morning...I also ordered the little mods so I can un-update it..lol
Eastwood is amazing ....they helped me sort out details I needed for some more extensive mods I will do when my guitar arrives....and this was before I even bought one
So if you want a totally cool pro guitar at an amateurs price
here it is. I have a Les Paul 59 Deluxe reissue...and a Fender
Custom Shop Strat....If I thought for a second that this guitar was not in the same league I would not have ordered it,
So...go for it!!!
Posted by Seba Pezzani (art director of the "Dal Mississippi al Po" music and literature festival and RAB4's on 30th Sep 2015
I fell in love with the looks of this guitar when I first saw it advertised on the Internet. I checked it out and found out it was the reissue of an old instrument. I thought, "Naaa, it must be one of those cheap, Asian guitars that won't ever stay in tune and that will lose all its appeal after the first few days". But I had some extra bucks to spend and I tried my luck. Because, yes, it is a rather cheap instrument, but don't get me wrong: the Airline H44 DLX sounds as gorgeous as it looks. Not only does it feature marvellous copper finish and shiny hardware, but it also is a very efficient instrument that comes with a perfect setting. You won't need to spend extra money and time to bring it to your luthier. You can take it with you to your first gig, plug it in and play it. Its two mini-humbuckers are soulful but can growl too. Its pretty big neck (with great rosewood) is suited for strumming chords (as I tend to do) as well as for master's hands. And the looks are totally awesome. This guitar will make you look super-cool. Before I bought it, I read some of the specifics on the Eastwood's webpage and I was told that the Airline series presents some old models with important improvements. Right on! This guitar smells old but plays as a modern guitar should: efficiency guaranteed. A beauty that kills! Sorry... that rocks!
Posted by Paul Hogue on 30th Sep 2015
Yes, it's a big neck guitar. Sustain for days. Meaty sound. I don't know if John Lee Hooker ever had a Stratotone, but he would have loved this version of it. I'm making myself put it down to write this review before going to bed.
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