Airline Pocket Bass C-7224 Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar, made by Valco (1965)

Airline Pocket Bass C-7224 Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar, made by Valco  (1965)

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Item # 8092
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Airline Pocket Bass C-7224 Model Solid Body Electric Bass Guitar, made by Valco (1965), made in Chicago, sunburst lacquer finish, maple body and neck, rosewood fingerboard, black chipboard case.

This Airline-branded Pocket Bass is a neat (and fairly late) example of this somewhat quizzical and relatively rare bass design. While most short-scale basses use something around a 30" scale, Valco elected to use a standard 24 1/2" scale guitar neck for their first electric bass. The result is a guitar-sized 4-string with low string tension, super handy and certainly easy for beginners and guitarists to handle, but physically a bit sonically challenged compared to more conventional period basses.

The pickup scheme is eccentric as well -- there is a standard Valco magnetic unit by the neck supplemented by the National "Bridge-Tone" unit built into the rosewood bridge, which amplifies the string vibration. The controls are a master volume and a blend knob, which allows varying the mix of signal between the pickups. The result is a very microphonic instrument, but one that is very handy to play, and if handled judiciously can produce a range of interesting and useful sounds.

This is a late model Pocket Bass (the pots are dated to the 28th week of 1965) and was built near the end of the run of these rather eccentric basses. It is equipped with a larger plastic-faced headstock and full-size Kluson bass tuners, which make it much more convenient to string and tune than most which feature small guitar-style pegs. The Airline variant (sold only through Montgomery Ward catalogs) is the snazziest Pocket Bass variation, with an orange-black sunburst finish, pinstriped wing-shaped mini-pickguards, and silver-backed clear Plexiglass finger rests. This is a very nice example and the best-playing Pocket Bass we have had.
Overall length is 39 1/4 in. (99.7 cm.), 13 1/2 in. (34.3 cm.) wide at lower bout, and 1 5/8 in. (4.1 cm.) in depth, measured at side of rim. Scale length is 24 1/2 in. (622 mm.). Width of nut is 1 11/16 in. (43 mm.).

This bass overall is clean, complete, and original with just some minor finish wear. The "Airline" logo is a perfect repro; all else is as it left Chicago in 1965. There are some dings and dents to the finish and scuffs to the plastic backplate on the body, but overall a nice example. Strung up with nylon flatwound strings for the most usable sound, this bass actually plays well, with the signature very microphonic response these provide. As good an example as we have ever had. Excellent Condition.