Supro White Holiday

Discussion in 'Other Guitars' started by duceditor, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Once again this forum and its members have made a difference to me. I want to thank Blackspider57 for his post about this guitar and the super close-out price Alto Music was (still is as of the posting) having on it.

    Getting a new guitar, of course, is always fun. But rarely has getting one thrilled me quite so much as this one. Not only because the guitar itself is such a wowza, but because, well frankly, I did not expect it to be so to such a degree.

    Since a couple of us own these, and others may yet choose to do so -- and for that matter, knowing that there is a constant interest among us for all things geetar -- I thought a thread now when I am in the earliest discovery stage with the instrument might be fun and of interest.

    I've waxed lyrical about this thing. No one guitar is going to be to everyone's taste -- and certainly not one so out-of-the-mainstream as is this Supro. But I think most of us will at least find this guitar visually interesting with its art-deco stylings, and dome here will join me in thinking it just gorgeous.

    Anyhow, here she is. Only one day old.


    Supro White Holiday.jpg


    In the thread to follow I'll share my learning curve, observations, experiences, possibly frustrations, and as able answer anyone's questions as best I am able.

    I hope Blackspider57 will join in. And any one else who has something to share!

    -don
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
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  2. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    For those just picking this subject up anew let me first share a couple of things that make the White Holiday so unique. And if nothing else it is just that.

    Supro is a company just know becoming known again -- and this, mostly, for their amps. The company went out of business in the mid-sixties and for many players it is totally forgivable if they think it just another sort of fake "resurrection." Its not. It is very real. Nor was the company some fly-by-night. Anything but! Nor did the company go out of business because people stopped buying their product. No! They closed shop for one reason only -- a familiar one to those us us watching Gibson's current travail. A few bad business decisions killed them as they tried to grow in a quickly changing environment.

    The whole story is interesting. Here's a pracie taken from the company's own website:

    Supro’s origins date to the pre-electric guitar days and the formation of the National Resophonic guitar company around 1926, with roots in the resonator guitars that became a blues tone standard prior to amplification. National and Dobro merged in the early ’30s to form Valco, and Supro. Soon, Valco-made Supro amps were tearing it up on Chicago’s south-side scene, establishing a tone that has been synonymous with gritty blues ever since. By the mid 60’s, Jimi Hendrix was playing a Supro Thunderbolt amp on tour with Little Richard and the Isley Brothers. A few years later, Jimmy Page, inspired by the raw tones of the Chicago blues scene, cut seminal Led Zeppelin tracks on a Supro Model 24… and so the chain of influence goes, full circle from Chicago blues, to London blues-rock, with Supro the hip tone to beat.


    The story is a complex one for one simple reason: The company existed because of the need to make guitars loud. Some of its founders wanted to do that only acoustically (They as a company had invented the resonator guitar -- the "Dobro" -- for that very purpose.) Other among the founding leadership thought the answer was to be found in the strange idea of building an "electric guitar." Weird, eh?

    The White Holiday came from the period when that once "weird" idea had become accepted, but the company wanted to push it yet further. To start making their guitars in entirely new ways with the newest of materials: Things like plastics and fiberglass.

    The "new" White Holiday is a pretty good "match" for the old one. But improved in several ways.

    Then and now...

    Supro White Holiday 1964 and Repro.jpg

    Its PUP in today's White Holiday is almost identical to that in the original. One designed back in the 1950s. One very different in its basic design to anything else being made today. One whose magnetic field even was focused in a totally different direction.

    Here is the original patent drawings.


    Screen Shot 2018-10-31 at 12.27.55 PM.png

    Notice that the coil is not under, nor surrounding the pole pieces, but to the side of them, and with the field directed not toward the strings, but parallel to them.

    And that is HALF os the oddity of this guitar's PUPS. Only half. (and the other half is weirder still.) It is a piezo pickup -- one that works by turning the compression forces in the instrument's body into an electrical signal.

    Yeah. How weird is that?

    Then there is that body construction. Not a solid body, no. A semi hollow. One with is face made of polycarbonate -- the stuff used in motorcycle helmets. The old version was something called "Acousta-glas." It was the same stuff Corvettes were made from, just with a more musical name.

    Many other features, too, make this guitar an oddity. But really what matters isn't that. It is how it plays and how it sounds.

    More on that coming...

    -don
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
    Big tuna likes this.
  3. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    I'm in!!!
    After having this guitar almost a week, and putting roughly 25 hours of playing time in, I like it more each day. Sometimes the honeymoon can end quickly, but I think this will a long and solid marriage :)

    I will begin with the visuals. The guitar is a work of art (to my eyes). The headstock looks like something you might see in a cartoon or comic book and makes me smile every time I look at it. The neck is a perfect fit for my smaller hands, and the body contours are also a good fit for me as well.

    When I first saw a picture of it, I thought the three knobs could be a problem but have not even bumped up against them, even once. At 8.4 pounds it is heavier than expected, it weighs the same as my Squier Bullet Telecaster
    so it is really more of a contrast in expectation, as I thought a "res o glass" topped guitar would be lighter. The trem unit probably weighs a pound. That being said it feels solid and sturdy.

    And a brief word about the three knobs: Subtle adjustments make a big difference in the tonal palette. I go slow and see how they play off each other.
    As I began my original thread this guitar is the "Different" I was looking for.

    I have an ES-339 a Jazzmaster, Telecaster, Stratocaster, Les Paul Special p90 and now this, with another mystery guitar being shipped today. (More details coming) And I think I might have every color of the rainbow I need to sit in my living room, watching the seasons change, and make the music that brings happiness to me.
     
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  4. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    I really hope somebody will post a video or a sound sample. I know there are some Youtube videos but I can't hear much difference in the pickup arrangements, and I really, really want to hear the sounds it makes on a clean setting.

    I like the price and love the Art Deco-inspired design ... but I'm not a fan of single-pickup guitars as I don't play lead very much (or well) and I've found that a single pickup really limits the sound choices. I know that this guitar has a piezoelectric element in it but I don't know how much that will influence the overall diversity of the sound. Some reviewers mark that the volume drops a great deal when just the piezo is used, which is expected.

    I agree that this is a "different" guitar ...in the visual, sonic and structural elements ... but I don't think it would be something I'd purchase. Now if it had a neck pickup I'd probably hit the "buy" button ... but I can not find a good deal on one of those as with this deal.

    But I also am looking for something different and I do think this would certainly fulfill that requirement. But I don't want to buy something mainly for its novelty and I fear I may treat it as a toy and play with it for a few days and then forget about it. Again, that is just me.
     
    Caddy likes this.
  5. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    Chicago
    It’s really not a single pick up Guitar when you consider the Piezo Element... that is for all practical purposes the second pick up.

    My 339 Ultra, has a nanomag at the bottom of the neck, it really doesn’t sound like a piezo element on an acoustic, it sounds more like a good single coil pick up Mounted on an acoustic. While many guitarists do not like Piezo elements (because they say they don’t sound like the guitar does acoustically), I like them muchly, all three of my acoustic/electrics sound better amplified, than they do acoustically (and they all sound good acoustically). Piezo elements sound like the guitar “feels” in your hands/against your body when you play it (something that does not transfer well in a magnetic pickup).

    Truly... all or arguments about Tonewood, probably relate more to Piezo elements, than traditional magnetic pickups.
    The Piezo is what makes me interested in this guitar.
     
  6. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
     
  7. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Yes, the piezo PUP has a significantly lower output than the magnetic PUP. But here's the thing: The Vistatone PUP is significantly overwound. Thus if one turns it down (The closest to the neck of the small knobs) so that it matches the piezo PUP's output it will still drive an amp as loudly as an average PUP; enough to 'dity it up' some. If you wanted really clean you'd have to turn it down yet further.

    The middle of those three knobs controls the output of the piezo, and the third (closest to the bridge) little knob filters the sound of the piezo PUP.

    "Filter" is the word I have seen applied to what it does. Supro does not refer to it as a "tone" control but as a control used to control feedback from the piezo PUP. -Something I have not experienced, btw, even playing quite loudly in a home context.

    My understanding is that there are two piezo units within the body of the guitar, and that these are out of phase. Thus the filter may be a phase control, or it may simply change the relative output of those two elements. In any case what it does very definitely affects the timbre os the guitar. But not in a way that as easy to describe as "it rolls off the treble."

    Yes, this guitar really is different! And it will thus require a learning curve. But the range of sound possibilities seems huge. "Clean" or dirty.
     
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  8. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    Picking up from above: The Master volume is key here. The little knobs are used to set the sound, but then the large knob becomes the workhorse. Well, or so it seems to me so far. :)

    -don
     
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  9. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    And I would add,
    that to my ear, the few online videos of this guitar do no justice to how it sounds in person.
    NO JUSTICE!!!!!!!!!
     
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  10. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    As to my own progress...

    I today set the action and oiled the fingerboard and bridge.

    Both were done by merely slightly loosening the strings. The bridge by masking the body with sticky note paper.

    Half done...


    Oiling the Bridge.jpg


    The bridge is not free, but it does "float" in the sense that it is string pressure that holds it in place.

    The trem unit on the guitar is brilliant. Both in design and in use.

    It was designed by Trevor Wilkinson combining some of the best design principles seen the Stratocaster and the Bigsby.

    Here is the mechanism. (You can easily see both influences.)

    Trem System Internals.jpg


    I earlier mention the quality of the finish, and (especially) the chrome. Here's a photo I took as a means of demonstrating that... :D


    Reflection in Chrome.jpg

    And here's that gorgeous body with the wood oiled. So lovely! Everything is pure class!


    So Beautiful!.jpg

    -don
     
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  11. Papa Joe

    Papa Joe Squier-Axpert

    Age:
    89
    Dec 12, 2009
    Swanton Ohio
    If I buy one, will I get Don's pic on the Vibrato cover ??HUH ??
     
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  12. Ralph124C41

    Ralph124C41 Squier-holic

    Feb 10, 2016
    I must have missed this, but what does the 3-position tone switch adjust?

    Also any intonation problems? I ask because although it seems to be a compensated bridge there are no individual saddle adjustments. So in that regards it is somewhat like a wooden version of the wraparound non-adjustable bridge on my Epiphone SL (which I have tried for six months to sell but no takers.)
     
  13. marklk

    marklk Squier Talker

    36
    May 10, 2018
    KC
    Thanks for all of the info. I usually like more traditional guitars but this one speaks to me for some reason
    . If I only had the absurdity little amount of money they are asking for a guitar like this I would own one.
     
  14. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    Piezo, both, or bridge pickup.
     
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  15. radiotech

    radiotech Dr. Squier

    Apr 23, 2014
    Chicago
    It IS a compensated bridge, so much like buying a PRS SE standard (or ANY acoustic), you decide when buying it that you’ll be likely playing it in standard tuning, and not changing the string gauge too drastically.
     
  16. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    I think so. It is there every time I look! ;)

    -nod
     
  17. Big tuna

    Big tuna Squier-holic

    May 6, 2014
    east Tn
  18. blackspider57

    blackspider57 Squier-Nut

    Age:
    61
    500
    Mar 11, 2017
    Great Falls Montana
    Don, how did you oil the fingerboard with the strings still on?
    Reveal your secrets, sir!
     
  19. duceditor

    duceditor Dr. Squier

    Age:
    71
    May 29, 2014
    The Monadnocks, NH USA
    I laid the guitar on its back on a soft towel, loosened the strings five half turns - this to make getting back to pitch easy - and used a Q-Tip to carefully apply a Dunlop lemon oil product. Then a soft cloth to remove the excess.

    -Been doing this for years with no issues.

    -don
     
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  20. Bluzy

    Bluzy Squier-Meister

    Age:
    53
    345
    Nov 20, 2017
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Another fine write up Don. You make me want to buy one of these
     
    duceditor likes this.