Whether they ceased production due to financial ruin or a lack of popularity at the time, several beautifully unique electric guitars and guitar brands have re-emerged in the past decade. Recently popularized by both their use in indie rock music and their individualistic appearances, vintage guitar models are rolling out onto the new and used retail market at an impressive rate.
From legendary powerhouses like Fender to recent revitalization projects like Supro, let’s take a look at eight re-released guitar models whose designs have stood the test of time.
The Guild Jetstar first caught my eye after seeing Cameron Olsen of the indie rock band “Weathers” playing one. The unique shape and reversed headstock immediately made me run to Google to try and identify it. The Jetstar has been AWOL since the 1960s, but re-emerged recently with a two-pickup setup.
The reversed, Firebird style headstock is also a new, gorgeous addition featuring Guild vintage style tuners that held tune great even after hours of chord bashing and blues bending when I demoed it recently. The two “toaster top” style humbuckers are bright and jangly—almost Rickenbacker-like—while the set neck provides plenty of sustain and the 25 ½ scale length makes it very Fender-fan friendly.
Supro Tri Tone
Based on the extremely rare Supro Triple Tone guitar, this solid mahogany body is loosely based on a Les Paul and should win over any vintage “black beauty” fans looking for those classic triple pickup tones.
The neck and middle position feature gold, Vistatone pickups while the bridge has a gold, Super Alnico Bridge pickup. While these may be humbucker sized, they are actually high output single coils, made to vintage specifications based on the famous Valco pickups made by Ralph Keller. These single coils would later go on to be cited as inspiration for the Gibson PAF design according to creator Seth Lover.
With a Gibson-esque, 24.75” scale length, this guitar surely will make a solid alternative for any Les Paul player, with some unique vintage flair and tones.
While the Jupiter itself is a new guitar, it is widely similar to the famed Harmony Stratotone, recently re-popularized by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys.
One of three new offerings unveiled by the recently revitalized Harmony guitar company, the Jupiter features all the quirks you’d want from a 60’s import guitar. Goldfoil humbuckers, a vaguely LP-esque body shape, and a 25” scale length that fits perfectly in-between the classic Gibson and Fender scale lengths.
On the whole, these unique electric guitars represent a modern, simplified version of the Stratotone perfect for blues players and garage rockers looking to get vintage sounds in a familiar yet unique package.
A very recent and faithful remake of Silvertone’s “Amp-in-case” guitar, this 1449 is the two-pickup version of the original 1448. While these guitars have been recently been brought back into popular music by alternative icons like Beck and Brad Shultz (Cage the Elephant), they have been wildly upgraded compared to the unwieldy originals.
The body and lipstick pickups are not too dissimilar from the still popular Danelectro-style guitars but with a 6 on a side headstock that is sure to draw some curious glances from those unfamiliar with the vintage-specs. With stunning finishes like red silver flake burst and light blue, you’ll be sure to stand out on stage with one of these fellas in your rig.
Danelectro Longhorn Bass
Moving into the bass universe, the Danelectro Longhorn bass—first seen in 1958—has popped back onto the scene in recent years thanks to its outlandish looks and easy to play short scale neck, not to mention the otherworldly upper-fret access.
Featuring two high output lipstick pickups, you can capture that signature Danelectro sound with a truly one of a kind bass. Used by influential Dutch bassist Rinus Gerritsen, this bass is well-poised to reemerge at a time when some claim instruments are beginning to stagnate in appearance or features.
Airline 59 2P
Airline guitars were originally made and sold by the VALCO company alongside the National and Supro brands from the late fifties to late sixties. Often found in Sears and Ward catalogs, these former budget instruments have gotten a second wind since the new millennium.
Originally featuring Res-O-Glas plastic bodies, Eastwood guitars has re-released the model with a chambered mahogany body and two vintage, large single coil pickups. But don’t worry—the variety of tonal options still remains thanks to the 3-way switching and dedicated tone and volume knobs for each pickup, as well as a master volume to top it all off.
But don’t take it from me, go watch Jack White play one—if you don’t think these are cool now, you will.
Eastwood Sidejack Pro DLX
Whether you are looking for that classic surf guitar sound or you’ve recently become the guitarist in a Ramones cover band, this guitar is for you. Based on the classic Mosrite offset, Eastwood has tweaked the guitar with some Jazzmaster-esque features to make it more playable than the narrow necked, flat fretboard having original.
A Jazzmaster-style tremolo and bridge system with medium jumbo frets makes the guitar feel more familiar while Eastwood’s own M-90 pickups provide the loud, buzzy single coil tones most will associate Mosrite with. If you’re looking for something straight out of the 60s guitar surge, look no further.
Fender Electric XII
Last but certainly not least, we have this killer reissue from Fender, who has recently been getting a little weirder in the best way, putting out some super unique electric guitars in their Parallel Universe and Alternate Reality collections.
Unlike the other models on this list, this is not from a company that went out of business or an old abandoned model that was taken up by a modern guitar hero. Fender’s originally mid-60s Electric XII’s retail for thousands of dollars making it a costly, inaccessible twelve string model stuck in the past.
Now, Fender has promised to release it this summer as part of their Alternate Reality series for a much more affordable price. The Jazzmaster body features a distinct ’65 headstock, named for the first year the guitar retailed, along with unique, split-coil pickups, specifically designed to help keep all 12 strings sounding clear. If just having a 12 string isn’t unique enough for you, try going back in time with this forgotten testament to Leo Fender’s innovation.
Were Those Unique Enough?
Recently, it seems many of these vintage-inspired unique electric guitars have been popping back up in bands all over the musical landscape. Maybe they provide a distinct spark of inspiration or maybe their unique looks help players stand out in a sea of Les Paul and Strat shredders. In any case, we dig them and we think you should too.