NATIONAL MAP Guitars were made in the USA from 1958-64 by VALCO and sold through Montgomery Ward. They had Res-O-Glas (fibreglass) bodies, and several models with similar appearance came to be known as 'Map' guitars, due to the body shape being like a stylised map of the USA. One such model was the Newport 84, and this is the model Gerard Gilet, a noted Australian luthier, doubtless used as inspiration for this stunning one-off guitar when he custom-made it for Dom Turner of the Backsliders in approximately 2003. Dom used this guitar extensively, and it features on at least one album cover. A big advantage of this guitar was the fact that with its semi-rigid gig bag and compact dimensions it could be taken onto planes as cabin luggage!
Of course, one aspect of the Gilet reputation is their stunning quality of work using high-quality tonewoods, so this re-interpretation of the Map guitar idea (but using a single-cone resonator setup for distinct tone - and looks!) is made from wood.
The result is simply stunning.
Gerard copied the neck of Dom's Supro Westwood (it's really nice and chunky!) and made a smaller map shaped body. The pickup on the cone is a Fishman and the humbucker is an Eastwood from a Reissue Eastwood Airline Map guitar. The single humbucker is controlled through the volume control, while the Fishman peizo pickup on the cone appears to be constantly connected to the output. Therefore, you can roll the volume right back to get the straight amplified single-cone sound, but then roll in the humbucker to your taste to really start pushing things along. Great for songs with a laid-back, counrty-blues feel to the intro, but which then come in full strength with the full band after the first verse.
Gerard remembers that it was quite a challenge making the resonator Map body, and confirms it is the only one he has made. He has made two other Map guitars, but not with the unique resonator configuration. He also recalls that the electronics were by Colin Bloxham.
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