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!
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 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.
Posted by Unknown on 30th Sep 2015
I've been wanting one of these for quite a while. My Airline fleet is growing.
Can't wait to get it in my hands!
Posted by Unknown on 30th Sep 2015
Hey it arrived today (quick!) and I just got done unpacking and played for an hour or so. Mmmmmmmm, mighty nice indeed! Small, light, plays great, sounds terrific. All kinds of mojo Americana tones are right there. W-I-D-E tonal palette. A birthday gift from my lovely wife, thanks Babe!