Back in the late 1950s, music gear maker Valco added a new guitar to its Supro line called the Triple Tone. It cost about a hundred bucks less than a Gibson Les Paul, sported what looked like three humbucking pickups and came with three separate tone regulators. It was only sold for a year or so, making originals very hard to come by. But Supro has now relaunched this eye-catching tone-meister in the shape of the 2019 Tri Tone.
Though Valco ceased to be in 1968, its legacy has continued through Eastwood Guitars and Absara Audio. The latter relaunched the Supro brand at NAMM 2014 with a series of tube amplifiers. Guitars and basses have been added to the catalog, and the latest to join the family is the striking Tri Tone.
Visually, the Tri Tone looks almost the same as the instrument that inspired it – with a glossy black body with a white double pickguard, gold hardware and a line of three pickups dominating the design. The original featured Vistatone pickups, which had the look of humbuckers but were in fact single coils tuned to deliver hot tones.
The new Tri Tone sports two "vintage-correct" Vistatone pickups at the neck and middle positions, while the third is an overwound Super Alnico unit at the bridge. Players are promised a wide variety of tones from the 2019 Tri Tone, "ranging from warm jazz and smoldering blues to southern rock and fuzzed-out psychedelia" and each pickup is wired to its own volume knob, with a master volume controlling the overall blend and a 5-way blade used to select the pickup configuration.
Neck construction differs from the original, in that set-neck construction has been employed for better sustain. The fingerboard now has 22 frets and is fashioned from pau ferro with acrylic inlays. The tune-o-matic bridge is new, there's a "tummy cut" to the mahogany body's rear and upper fret access has been increased.
In 1959, an original Triple Tone would cost you US$179.50. The 2019 Tri Tone is not quite that cheap. It retails for $999 and is available now. The video has more.
Product page: 1275JB Tri Tone
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