Alquier kicked off his conceptual triptych of guitars with the Air Mail Special at the Montreal Guitar Show in 2009. Air Mail Special stood out among a gaggle of worthy guitars from renowned luthiers.
This hollow electric honors legendary jazz guitarist Charlie Christian, who died in 1942 at the tender age of 25. Christian, who played for Benny Goodman’s Sextet, was a key player in shaping cool jazz and bebop. “Air Mail Special” is one of the influential songs Christian wrote with Goodman.
Pay close attention. You’ll notice that Alquier designed the guitar’s pickup as a throwback to Christian’s Gibson ES150. Otherwise, the idea behind Airmail was to picture what Christian’s guitar would look like in the year 3000—but in the mind of a 1940s pulps illustrator. Very trippy, right? The result would be something with strong personality and kitsch, with the looks of a UFO or a retro-futuristic car in punchy red. These wild ideas were tamed by detailed craftsmanship.
-A two-piece body. The top is made from solid maple and the back from solid mahogany.
-The recurring motif engraved in the titanium pickguard
-Oval, aluminium chromed openings on the sides
-Custom, individual bridge saddles made from aluminum. They can be adjusted for tone and height
-Single tailpieces in titanium tubular chords (6mm diameter)
-Single coil Benedetti Pickup made for the Air Mail
-Fretboard in African blackwood. Gibson style frets with polished aluminum binding.
-The motif sculpted, titanium head has an open design with a central polished aluminum support
-Custom made Lacote style tuning machine by Rodgers. The black mother-of-pearl buttons are meant to be discreet.
-Neck is made of mahogany
-Volume knob styled after Chevy radio
-Comes with a Dugain pick, designed for the Air Mail, in titanium and blackwood (first of the series).