a 1959 short scale classic revived
Valco was a manufacturer of musical instruments and amplifiers from the 1940’s through 1968, making products under a few different brands – National, Supro and others.
The National brand is widely recognized for their resonator-bodied dobro style instruments but there was also a line of solid-bodied 6 string guitars from Valco, when Gibson and Fender were having success with that style of guitar. These solid body guitars were also badged under the Supro brand with different colour schemes and pickup variations.
the instrument that i inherited had no badge left on the headstock – i have seen photos of this one under both Supro and National branding. However, the serial number tag on the back of the headstock survived and i was able to date this one to 1959……
this instrument had kicked around for a long time in my sister’s husbands family for a long time- it had been played for sure (Mark Anthony and the Imperials), and painted and goofed-off on and then, when the kids were older – likely sat in a closet for the rest of the time.
My brother-in-law handed this one off to me a long time ago to kinda clean it up a bit and see if it would still play. I took all the house-paint off and did my best to set it up and returned it. A long time after, this guitar came back to me and i started to look into what it was and decided to take it apart (again) and revive it. It is a great short-scale relic with all parts intact. Kluson deluxe tuners, single pickup, volume and tone controls, ‘bright’ switch and floating bridge.
so, when i got this back, 2nd time, it was in much the same condition from when i stripped it down the first time – just a bit more weathered….there was a large water(?) stain on the back that i thought would not come out completely so i thought i could do a whole refinish of the body in a solid colour.
i had seen photos of this exact guitar as a Supro model 1507, with solid colours or a silver-burst finish- Valco also had a line branded Tosca (with pickup variations) that were a lovely copper colour. So, with a nod to it’s family and heritage, it was going to be an orange solid colour.
the guitar when i got it – stripped-down (pick guard removed)
take off all the hardware….everything is original – Kluson brass tuners, all pots, switch and pickup, floating bridge, strap buttons and tailpiece.
it is a very simple setup -well made with quality old-school components circa 1959
levelled out, body sanded smooth and primed
the neck had a great feel to it, so i didn’t want to touch it, except for the front of the headstock.
the neck is chunky, C-shaped and straight, frets only a bit worn in the first 5 frets….
after colour-paint and clearcoat….
my first attempt at base-clearcoat finish, aerosol can products and lots of sanding/rubbing….
putting back together
after paint and all hardware cleaned up, ready to string-up and set up…..
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