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One of the first guitar manufacturers to venture beyond wood for the construction of its guitars was Valco, which in 1962 introduced the National and Supro lines of fiberglass-bodied electrics. These were the famous “map-shaped” single-cutaway instruments constructed of a material Valco called “Res-O-Glas,” which was simply the company’s trade name for fiberglass. Eventually, there were nine Res-O-Glas guitars, all carrying the National name and available in just four colors: Duco Seafoam Green, Red, White, and Black. Although dubbed the “map guitars,” this was less a specific design decision than it was a coincidence based upon the aesthetics of the early 1960s, which spilled over into many products, up to and including the automobile, which had suddenly sprouted huge tailfins and unique body lines. In 1967, Valco bought the Kay Guitar Company and when Kay went out of business, so did Valco along with it. Oddly enough, the Res-O-Glas guitars were the first to offer a contact pickup in the bridge — that’s three decades before such transducers made their way into hybrid guitars like the Parker Fly line. It’s hard to believe, but in its day, the top National model was more expensive than a top-of-the-line Strat!

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