Supro Black Holiday

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by duceditor, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    As with my recently purchased White Holiday, I thought a thread about Black Holiday might be of interest to some.

    As mentioned before I am enamoured with these Supro "Americana" series guitars. Enough to buy a second one despite, quite frankly, my not yet fully integrating the first into my playing style.

    On a certain level doing this is crazy. But more crazy yet, it seemed to me (and to my augmenter in such affairs of the heart, my musician wife, Jan), would be missing out on these while they are still available. And available at such a price that, to put it as my long past (and still greatly missed) grandmother would have put it, "you should know from it!"

    Three things have gotten to me about these guitars.

    1) Their looks. God are these lovely! Unique. And as so few things are these days, reflective of what is to me one of those electrifying styles of a then new modernity, the art deco style.

    If that term to you is somewhat nebulous, and you have any interest in such, this article will in relatively few words fully fill you in...


    In any case -- an you call simply call this "wow" -- I absolutely love this school of design. And just to have these as objects de art to admire and hold, makes their purchase to me completely worthwhile.


    Supro Black Holiday.jpg

    Supro Black Holiday Detail.jpg

    Headstock Detail.jpg


    2) The passion with which these were created.

    These guitars were objects of love by their creators. Not meaning, here at least, their original creators, but those who sought to recreate them: Supro's corporate head, David Loktai, and luthier Trevor Wilkinson. This is something you sense with every contact with these instruments. Even in ways that in the long run were detrimental to their sales success. I.e., cheaper might have been(from that perspective) better.

    3), deeply connected to the above, their absolute fineness. Everything about them is "right," -- even the things that are from common wisdom "wrong." I.e., they fit nowhere in the accepted Fender/Gibson universe. Not for looks. Not for sound.

    They are, in other words...

    4) Unique.

    With all this in mind -- my own, quite obvious I am sure, pride and prejudice -- I plan to share the 2nd voyage of guitar discovery. One comprised of my digging out their sounds, and seeing where (if anywhere) they can become my own.

    I know at least one other forum member has one. He that clued me in to them in the first place. BOTH OF THEM!!!! @blackspider57 . Perhaps other have one too. Or will.

    And those who just love all things guitar. Yes, even the weird and, especially, the wonderful.

    Hopefully much more to come! :)

    -don
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  2. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Session one proved to be a BIG one. And, interestingly, what I learned here (with the help of my musician wife's keen ear and observations) applies as much to the White Holiday as to the Black. It is this:

    These guitars are full of tone themselves.

    This, I now realize, shouldn't have been a "huh?" for me, but an obvious. They were designed and won admiration before the advent of pedals or even, for that matter, overdrive and artfully tuned for distortion, amplifiers. In other words it was the sound of the guitars themselves back then that made it or broke it.

    The hollow acousta-glas body and the Vistatone PUPs themselves created character.

    When several years ago some PUP winders started looking into the Vistatones they were amazed at the output they had. "High numbers" that reveal a lot to guys who understand what makes PUPS sound this way or that. (We have several such here on Squier-Talk -- I am not among them.)

    Jan picked up on that sound. Its complexity and sonic richness. "You have other guitars that get certain sounds for certain songs. I suggest you find and learn songs that call for these guitars' unique sound."

    Uh huh and uh huh.

    I've yet to follow that specific advice -- but I did get the essential truth she had picked up on. That these guitars have a sound inherent in them. And that these days we think of the entire signal chain to "make" a sound. With these guitars that would, of course, also be doable. But maybe the best approach to them was to instead just let their own complexity come through. And to do that I had just the tool: A mid-70s Silverface Twin Reverb. One that had less than two years ago been thoroughly gone over by a superb Boston-area amp master. New tubes, new caps, etc.

    I simply set it for neutral -- basically all 5s (Except volume. A "5" there would break windows) Connected to it and played.

    Yup. Jan was (once again) right. The sound was there.

    The two Holidays was each distinctive. The White with its available piezo could have a to-the-ear sharpness up to the point of becoming brittle if such was desired. The Black had a fullness of tone due to it's available neck position Vistatone AND (Thanks for picking up on this @blackspider57 !) its freer moving, almost jazzbox-like (but uniquely voiced), face.

    Here's the killer: Wow, are these guitars great for surf!!!! All one need do is turn the down the guitars Master Volume, or with the White Holiday set the Vistatone so that it matches the relatively low output of the piezo -- and you are there.

    Turn it up and the complexity returns. (Supro makes a big thing of the guitars having "fifties wiring." This is why. There is no loss of brightness when you turn down the volume -- merely less volume and less driving of the amp's first stage.)

    I also played some jazzy type licks. Not my forte as a player, but oh did these guitars sing with 'em!

    And that leads me to my first real sharable thought here: Older guys who remember when all one needed for a truly wide ranging gig was a single guitar and a good amp -- this will bring you back to those days.

    On the web people also speak to them being great with various "fuzz" type pedals. But I'd just use one for Satisfaction -- the song that is -- just as I did through my Abstracts years. Other than that this guitar and a good Fender (or Supro?) amp is all Id have required, and would again even now.

    Wowza!

    -don
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  3. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Lovin' this guitar more and more.

    I just posted the following review on Amazon...

    Screen Shot 2018-11-11 at 8.23.05 AM.png

    -don
     
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  4. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    Chicago
    $30 credit on the case from the White holiday, and $35 ALTOBUCKS... I’m getting a black Holiday. These things are freaky good.

    Going to unload some of my HH guitars methinks...
     
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  5. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    Well said. I agree :) FREAKY GOOD!!!!! FREAKY COOL!!!!!!
    The Black is Different from the white, in a very good way.
    Another convert to the "Church of Supro"!!!
     
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  6. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Yes!

    I'm writing and reading these threads, realizing that a few of us (Thanks again Blackspider!) have discovered something very special, and that the vast majority of our friends even here are paying no attention.

    Okay, that's cool. But kind of mind-boggling (to me) none-the-less.

    Makes me think of words I wrote for a film soundtrack song some fifty years ago...

    It'll be our little secret
    No one will ever know
    When things get us down
    There'll be someplace to go.​

    Uh huh and uh huh.

    Black and white.

    WooHoo!

    :D

    -don
     
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  7. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    Supro guitars,
    FREAKY GOOD,
    and NOT FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!!
     
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  8. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    Chicago
    We are talking well out of the most discussed price range here...
     
  9. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    I guess.

    VM territory. CV territory.

    But, yes, different.

    I guess to me that is part of their appeal.

    Maybe it's an age thing. No longer wisin' and hopin' and trying to sound like A, B or C.

    -don
     
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  10. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    When you factor in the included hardshell case you are in Affinity and almost Bullet territory.
     
  11. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    New, yes.

    But still many seem to find greater pleasure in owning many than owning one. Especially if each of the many has to them a special sound.

    And then there are the so-and-so replicas. That means a lot to people too.

    Interestingly it seems Supro understands that. Their new site (back online after a makeover) shows that...




    Not my 'cup of tea.' But apparently desirable to some.

    -don
     
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  12. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    Chicago
    As I’m playing out, I keep finding that playability, and versatility are paramount. I keep coming back to the same guitars: Yamaha APX500III, MIM Fender Strat (USA Alnico V pickguard), Blacktop Tele (HH, Duncan/DiMarzio), and Sawtooth Tele (stock).... but when I play out, I tend to only bring one guitar, and base my song choices on that guitar.
    While I have some great sounding Gibson style guitars (Epi 339 Ultra (Stock), Epi Dot Studio (BLACKTOP Filtertron pups) Ibby AS73B (guitar madness ‘57 pick ups, nails LP tone perfectly), they just don’t play as comfortable/sound as versatile as the afore mentioned ones I use live. I can say unequivocally that I will play the White holiday out, unique, playable, dynamic, AND versatile! I have a feeling... the black will be the same.
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018
    duceditor likes this.
  13. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    radiotech,

    I look forward to hearing how the "Holidays" work for live stage application.
    I myself am currently playing an extended gig at the "livingroom Lounge" (Mine) playing to an SRO audience (me and the cat) and will never get the chance to hear how these sound in live battlefield conditions. :)
     
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  14. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Okay, the learning curve with the Black Holiday continues as well.

    In truth this is a much softer curve. Two VistaTone PUPs and very simple, rather common controls, makes it so.

    But still its uniqueness. Its out of the Gibson/Fender paradigm is real here too.

    In the videos of this guitar two words stood out when describing its neck PUP's sound. "Swampy" and "wooly." And both describe its sound well - which fits best depending on the how the amp is driven.

    I love this guitar through my everyday favorite amp: The early Champ-like Sweet Baby. And either "swampy" or "wooly" can easily be gotten there.

    Indeed anything can except, perhaps "fleeced." The PUP is just too hairy for that.

    Today I played with all three PUP settings with the same 8 1/2 (of 12) volume setting on the amp, and with the speaker soak taking most of its energy so the power amp was right on the edge depending on the guitar's volume setting and/or picking used.

    Sweet, baby, it is! Adding some more sustain with an X-Drive pedal put her out there yet further, but (amazingly) did not rob her of her character.

    I may work this tone into my playing. Super saturated but with grain. Think SRV on steroids.

    (Now, if I could just play like him.) :D

    More to follow...

    -don
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018 at 4:45 PM
  15. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Oh, one other important thing. Yesterday I hurt my back enough where just standing is painful.

    The Black Holiday is so light that I was able to enjoy a full playing session with no increase in pain.

    The White Holiday is a fairly light guitar. The Black is much lighter yet.

    I'll need to weight it at some point, but it is I am sure the lightest of my electrics by a good margin. I hardly feel it at all. (And that is sweet as well)

    -don
     
  16. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    My learning curve had a "screwball" thrown in.

    I have been puzzled for the past two weeks as to why this guitar will not stay in tune.
    The most unstable guitar I have ever owned.
    What is going on???

    I lubed the nut, no improvement. I let it acclimate to the room before playing. No improvement. I cussed at it, NO IMPROVEMENT!!!
    Then I noticed that this guitar creaks more than my 101-year-old house.
    Is it the wooden bridge? Nope.

    And then I feel an ever so slight shift in the neck. Ka-ching!!!
    I pop off the little hubcaps that cover the neck screws, and what do you know.
    The neck is loose. I mean really loose. Two full turns of each screw to tighten it up, and now ladies and gentleman,
    we have achieved tuning stability.

    It probably should have been more obvious to me,
    but that being said,
    I have a little less hair on my head, as I have been pulling it out :)
    Now back to the delayed learning curve.
     
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  17. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    Chicago
    First Blush: Plays similar to the white, but hangs a bit different on the Strap due to being lighter, balanced, but seems a twinge on the edge of neck-divey (solved with a better/wider strap).

    My hand hits the tailpiece on heavy strums, and it either 1) Added vibrato, or 2) hurt (sharp), so different strumming position than the white.

    Tomorrow: Tone
     
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  18. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Yup! "Hub caps." Hey, this is 1960s tech. When a guitar came with a lug wrench that should have been a hint! :D

    -don
     
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  19. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    On a more serious note, how did you remove the "hub caps"? This might be worth checking on all the Americano series guitars.

    -don
     
    theflow likes this.
  20. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    On the Black Holiday just lightly pushed my fingernail under, and off they came. The White Holiday has a different setup, and I am not quite sure how they work. If you figure it out "pass it on" :)