Lipe Guitars Maestro

Whole Lotta Mahogany

Lipe Maestro Price: $4,900 Contact: lipeguitars.com; phone (818) 352-6212 Mike Lipe has a wall of gold records. Why? Not because he’s a musical star, but because he’s a star to the stars. A former top builder at Ibanez, his creations have helped Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons, and many others become luminaries on the

The Vox AC30C2X and AC15C1

Brit-Rock Mojo in a Box

Fully appointed in classic Vox dress, the famed British amp maker’s new AC30C2X and AC15C1 both sport enough of that beloved AC30 look to make most any player yearn for Beatles boots and Fab Four suits. The AC30C2X is a 30-watt, 2×12 combo loaded with Celestion Alnico Blue speakers (there’s another version of this amp

Kevn Kinney

Kevn Kinney

Small 'n Happy

As any fan of Drivin ’N Cryin can attest, Kevn Kinney at his creative best surrenders little to the greatest singer/songwriters in pop – his message is delivered in succinct, pointed turns of phrase transmitted by a voice like no other and accompanied by riffs that sink deeper than a treble hook. As any fan

The Steepwater Band

More Players, More Music

The Steepwater Band, based in Chicago, has been a trio for most of its career, purveying guitar-based Americana. Guitarist Jeff Massey, bassist Tod Bowers, and drummer Joseph Winters recently added guitarist Eric Saylors, and the change has worked well. “Eric was playing in an Indianapolis-based band called the Healing Sixes, and on occasion we would

Tom Feldmann, R.L. Burnside, Poor Black Mattie, acoustic Lesson

R.L. Burnside – Poor Black Mattie

Tom Feldmann demonstrates how to play the signature lick from R.L. Burnside’s classic “Poor Black Mattie.” Tom is playing a Hauver Guitars Charley Patton model, which has a ladder-braced spruce top and mahogany back/sides. Tom’s new Mississippi Hill Country Blues Guitar instructional video (available through Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop) is reviewed in the May issue of Vintage Guitar. Learn more at tomfeldman.com and guitarvideos.com.

Lazy J Cruiser Deuce

Lazy J Cruiser Deuce

Revved Up

Lazy J Cruiser Deuce Price: $420 Info: www.lazyjprojects.com. The Lazy J Cruiser Deuce is more complex than your classic stomp-and-go pedal, though its functionality is intuitive. The Cruiser Deuce’s brown finish and cream knobs (Gain, Volume, Drive, and Sat, i.e., saturation) give it a vintage look; In/out jacks on the side, two footswitches, and a

Taylor Baritone-8

Crazy Eight

The Taylor Baritone-8 Price: $3,998 list; $3,200 street Info: www.taylorguitars.com Some guitarists are happy with conventional guitars and basses. Others, however, feel the urge to explore other sonic ranges. In recent years, several new configurations have made their way to the market; five- and six-string basses; extended-range harp and “touch” guitars; and seven- and eight-string

Awesome Musical Instruments T3 Pickup Switch Upgrade

Wicked Switch

Awesome Musical Instruments T3 Pickup Switch Upgrade Price: $149.99 (black or white three-ply); $164.99 (white pearloid); $169.99 (brown tortoiseshell) Info: www.awesome-guitars.com. When Leo Fender was designing the Strat back in the early ’50s, he equipped it with a surplus three-way pickup selector. Three pickups, three choices – simple and straightforward. Players ever since have tried to

The Fender Showman

The Showman

In addition to several significant shifts in style and presentation, for Fender, the transition of the late 1950s into the early ’60s represented a more concerted push into big-amp territory. Having introduced the 80-watt “high-powered” tweed 5F8 Twin (VG, March ’09) in ’58, this rapidly expanding Fullerton manufacturer sought another model to help take it

Feature Guitar

Cardinal’s Magpie

Bird in Hand

Cardinal Magpie Price: $4,300 Contact: www.cardinalinstruments.com While most folks are happy to buy guitars off the rack, the Cardinal Magpie is a prime example of today’s handcrafted, built-to-order guitars that exist apart from the masses. Coming from the shop of Austin, Texas, luthier Sam Evans, the Magpie exudes old-world craftsmanship and crisp attention to detail.

Bill Pitman

Bill Pitman

The Man From Wrecking Crew

On a recent episode of his TV talk show, David Letterman mentioned to guest Cher that he’d just seen the new documentary, The Wrecking Crew, which chronicles the coterie of L.A. studio musicians that helped create many of her records and hundreds of other hits for more than three decades. She immediately responded by naming

Eastwood La Baye 2x4 Devo Signature Model

Eastwood La Baye 2×4 Devo Signature Model

Whip It Good

For decades, guitarists have lovingly referred to their solidbody guitars as “planks.” In the mid ’60s, a small builder called LaBaye upped the ante by offering a guitar truly was a plank. The La Baye 2×4 Six was a minimalist guitar offered as a cheapo, and in the ’70s found notoriety in the hands of

Peerless Retromatic

Peerless Retromatic

Modern Vintage

Peerless Retromatic Price: $1,699 Info: www.peerlessguitars.eu While many new guitars of the last decade have touted authentic (or semi-authentic) “retro” features, the Peerless Retromatic represents an evolution in the retro-guitar revolution. That’s because in addition to its sexy design and vintage-inspired accoutrements, the Retromatic is refreshingly modern, giving its player the choice between a humbucker

Guyatone LG-160T

The Secret's Out!

Like plants, Japanese guitars have an almost secret life of which few people outside are aware. While many Americans in the ’60s were seeing fairly low-end commodity guitars at the neighborhood Western Auto, there was actually a thriving and fairly innovative domestic guitar scene that produced some cool and relatively decent guitars, including this Guyatone

Weissenborn Style #4

Weissenborn Style#4

The acoustic Hawaiian guitar of Hermann Weissenborn is one of the most specialized instrument designs of the 20th century. Weissenborns were made for guitarists who played the newest craze of the late 1910s and 1920s – Hawaiian music – and with their koa-wood construction and square, fully hollow necks, they were unsuitable for virtually any

Supro’s Dual-Tone 1624T, Coronado 1690T

Supro’s Dual-Tone 1624T, Coronado 1690T

1964 All Over Again

Supro’s Dual-Tone 1624T, Coronado 1690T Price: $1,595 (Dual-Tone[LEFT]); $1,795 (Coronado) Contact: www.suprousa.com If there was a time machine handy to scoot us back to 1964, where we would naturally stock up on new guitars and amps, a blue-and-silver Supro would be at the top of most guitarists’ must-grab lists. Happily, time travel isn’t necessary. Fifty

1942 Martin D-45

The Martin D-45, offered by the company from 1933 through 1942, is well-known as the Holy Grail of acoustic guitars. While players and collectors may argue whether it is the absolute best guitar ever made, in terms of value, it easily outdistances any other acoustic model in the vintage market. Ironically, the D-45 was not

Leslie West

Leslie West

Hangin' With Unusual Suspects

In deciding who to hit up to play on his new album, Unusual Suspects, Leslie West put a lot of thought into his musical and personal connections. And he’s justifiably proud of the recruits; decades-long friend Steve Lukather, Billy Gibbons, Slash, Zakk Wylde, who affectionately refers to West as “Dad,” and labelmate Joe Bonamassa, who