NATIONAL MAP Guitars were made in the USA from 1958-64 by VALCO and sold through Montgomery Ward. This AIRLINE® MAP is a tribute to the NATIONAL Newport Guitar from 1962. Today they are played by people like David Bowie, The Cure, Calexico and White Stripes. Original MAP Res-O-Glas models now sell for $3,000-$5,000.
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Posted by John Beaulieu on 21st Apr 2016
This is my first Eastwood/Airline Guitar and I should mention that I have about thirty guitars in the collect years. I don't mention this to boast, I mention it to let the reader know there is an experienced collector who appreciates the quality of this instrument.
The first thing I liked was the overall build quality. This is a world class instrument period. The Airline Map I received plays like a cream puff, sweet buttery perfection. There are zero bad for et spots. The fret crowning done at the factory is top notch and very professional in feel.
The tone from this guitar is perfection! I had a huge smile on my face playing this guitar. I played some bluesy rock, blues and some jazz too. Of course the rockabilly and beach music sounded great as well.
Overall this guitar to me is a bargain and I say this from experience. I own Gibsons, Fenders, etc. This guitar is as good as anything else out there that is deemed "professional quality". I will be looking at other models because these are worth the purchase.
Posted by Nik Farr on 21st Apr 2016
I'll preface this review by saying that this guitar is imperfect, as are all guitars, in some way. Some of my comments to follow will be enthusiastic almost to the point of hyperbole. Please bear in mind, however, that I'm not claiming that this or any instrument is without flaw.
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me tell you about how much I love this guitar.
I LOVE THIS GUITAR. I don't know what I was expecting when I ordered it--I took a leap of faith and bought one without ever having played or heard one in person before--but the Airline Map has completely exceeded my expectations. It has become my very favorite guitar incredibly quickly, but I didn't want to write a review until I'd put it through its paces. In my case, that means I needed to play it in three crucial settings: practicing, a live gig, and in a recording environment. I don't like to opine before I've taken a guitar through these situations, as they're the main ones in which a musician will find him or herself, and only once you've done so can you really begin to know an instrument's capabilities and weaknesses.
Let's get the bad news out of the way (and I don't think there is much to complain about here). I have two main issues with the Map at this point, and both are probably things I'll learn to work with as time goes on, so they're unlikely to be dealbreakers for anyone else. First, I've never owned a guitar with a Bigsby-style vibrato system before. While I didn't mind the strings that Eastwood had on the guitar to begin with, they weren't my preferred .11 size. Changing them turned out to be quite a challenge, though now that I know how to do it, I imagine it will get easier the second time around. But make no mistake, performing this operation in a pinch at a gig if a string broke would be no small task. My second issue is that I have yet to find a straight-up, totally pristine clean tone from the Map that I really love. This thing loves dirt in all forms--dial in even the tiniest little bit of grit, and the guitar seems to really come to life--but it sounds a little odd without any drive in the signal. Again, this could simply be a matter of living with the guitar for awhile and allowing my ears and taste to adjust to what the Map is. Because it is NOT a standard-sounding electric guitar, and that is without question what I love most about it. So I'll probably come around and I may not even consider it an issue in the future.
Now, the good news--and there's a LOT to talk about here. It's been remarked on in many reviews of the Airline Map how "alive" this guitar sounds when played acoustically. This is due to the chambered body and I cannot stress enough how accurate an observation this is. Aside from how breath-taking the instrument looked upon opening the case, the very next thing I noticed about it was how this guitar seems to have that lively quality that has, until now in my experience, belonged exclusively to hollow and semi-hollowbodied instruments. For reference, I have a Fender Coronado II which I absolutely adore, but I can barely use it live because the second I turn up to gig volume, it's "Welcome to Feedback City, Population: Me." But the Map doesn't have this issue. In fact, while it's far easier to generate feedback with the Map, it's much more musical and controllable, and the guitar is otherwise very quiet when you're not asking it to make any noise.
The hardware is excellent, high-quality stuff that seems tough enough to last a long time. I haven't had any reason to look inside the guitar yet, but based on the sound, I assume the electronics are well-assembled. The tuning can drift a little if you employ the Bigsby, but keep in mind that it's a vibrato system that was designed to facilitate a little wobble, not to accommodate 80s hair metal dive bombs and you'll be fine. Just stretch your strings really well when you put on a new set, and be sure to check your tuning between songs, and everything will be fine.
In addition to the aforementioned great looks of this guitar (and we'll circle back to that momentarily), the tactile experience of holding and playing this guitar is a sheer joy. The body is incredibly comfortable and the neck is well-balanced, which is a quality I personally prize; I hate being at a gig, taking my hand off the fretboard for an instant to adjust my mic stand, and having the headstock dive for the floor. Not a problem with the Airline Map. The neck itself is thin and plays exceptionally well. I don't have the biggest hands, but I can reach all the frets incredibly easily. The finish is glossy but hasn't slowed me down at all--no friction from sweating on a hot stage after 3 hours.
Finally, let's get superficial for a moment. The Map is, quite simply, a goddamned good-looking guitar. I mean, let's call it like it is: it's hot. Super hot. Dead sexy. There's no way around it. You strap it on, and nobody will be looking at you, they'll be looking at your guitar. You'll be like, "My eyes are UP HERE" but it won't matter. Play this thing at a gig, and the janitor will have to mop the dancefloor between sets to remove the sweat and drool. (Full disclosure: I bought the limited edition Sky Blue model. Your mileage may vary with different finish colors... but I doubt it.)
To summarize, if you're even thinking about acquiring a Map, you should probably just do it. I know, I'm a bad influence. But whatever, you'll thank me later. And you'll thank Eastwood, too. Now that I've gotten my hands on the Map, I'm thinking of selling off my other guitars and buying one of the '59 Newports in black. What a dynamic duo that would make...
Posted by Rob Redfern on 2nd Nov 2015
This guitar is incredible. I own a vintage Les Paul and Strat, and this instrument is as good as either of them! The build quality is flawless. The person/ people who put this guitar together are craftsmen second to none. The attention to detail is total. Anyone who has reservations about a Korean built guitar should think again. These guys are grade A guitar smiths.
The guitar looks absolutely stunning. The neck is sleek fast and perfectly finished. Better than my vintage Strat!! The sound is unique Ballsy resonant bass notes and rich bright top end. Using an overdive sound makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Thank you Eastwood
Posted by Unknown on 13th Oct 2015
Beautiful to look at plays like a dream! The pick ups work really well with effects and the tone is awesome!
Great for all kinds of music
Thanks Eastwood for making such great instruments.
I also have a folksier that is just as great
Posted by Ally Lee on 1st Oct 2015
I've owned this guitar from new for a couple of years now ...
Great build quality and looks (I get a lot if people asking about it ..)
Really comfortable to play,great neck (it's quite big which suits my large hands)
I've put a couple of Mojo goldfoil/filtertrons in mine to give it a more twangsome tone BUT the stock pickups sounded ok ....
Would love to have the matching Baritone ....One day - one day .
Highly recommended if you're looking for something a little different
Posted by The Adam on 1st Oct 2015
I got this guitar in a trade and was really worried that the humbuckers would be dark and midrangey but to my surprise they were not! They have a lot of brightness to them! and the bridge pick up has that nice vintage twang! like on The Beatles song "Day Tripper"
This thing is eye candy and sounds great to boot! It can cover a multitude of styles: Rock, Country, Jazz, Metal, Surf, ANYTHING! You should stop reading this review and just buy the guitar!
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