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Table of Contents
Enjoy Wolf Marshall’s fresh look at the life, career, licks, and influence of country-jazz legend Jimmy Bryant, the very first player to stage a Telecaster! We talk with Wendy Melvoin, whose impressive list of credits includes years backing Prince and other pop luminaries. We delve into the new acoustic collaboration by Stooges guitarist James Williamson and Radio Birdman axe-wielder Deniz Tek, then catch up on the latest music and happenings with Big Head Todd frontman Todd Park Mohr, Primus’ Les Claypool, Jim Campilongo, prog-metaller Al Joseph, former Iggy Pop guitarist Whitey Kirst, and fusion player Rahul Mukerji, then take a look around NAMM.
Our monthly flood of in-depth instrument profiles includes George Gruhn’s look at an 1843 Martin & Coupa, Michael Wright’s “Different Strummer” look at the Westone Pantera Deluxe X350, Dave Hunter’s study of a ’61 Fender Showman, and Willie Moseley’s historical overview of the Pedulla Buzz Bass. Peter S. Kohman extends his study of the Larson Brothers’ work with a look at their Prairie State patents, Dan Erlewine finishes work on a vintage Fender Palomino, and Will Kelly converts a six-string to a budget 12-string! Finally, we offer our usual bountiful assortment of “VG Approved Gear” reviews and “Hit List” music reviews, including examinations of new music by Jimi Hendrix, the Eagles, Black Sabbath, Luther Allison, Wes Montgomery, Lee Roy Parnell, Adrian Legg, Wilco, Ronnie Earl, Carl Verheyen, and others. It’s all in the May issue, available now!
36 Retail Rarity
1843 Martin & Coupa
Key to C.F. Martin’s success in the 1830s was the collaboration with agent-sellers in New York City. Here’s an example from one of the most successful efforts, with rare body size and a host of interesting details. | By George Gruhn and Joe Spann
40 Guitar Lib
The Westone Pantera Deluxe X350
Combining several strands of history, it reminds us how the electric guitar freed builders from constraints like bracing, marquetry, or even the Spanish shape. It all meant guitars could look like anything – from a “frying pan” to this elegant example. | By Michael Wright
44 Fast and Fretless
The Pedulla Buzz Bass
Introduced in 1980, it’s one of the most-enduring examples of an upscale model offered fretless. Created with the input of two notable locals, it all started with a not-insignificant faux pas. | By Willie G. Moseley
48 The Show Must Go On
Fender’s 1961 Showman
When Fender stepped up from the tweed-covered amps of the ’50s to radically redesigned Tolex amps of the ’60s, one of the biggest leaps was in the “piggyback” head-and-cabinet sets. This was the best example of how the company answered the players’ call for a powerful, professional rig. | By Dave Hunter
86 Wendy Melvoin
Her collaborations helped unveil Prince’s world view of humanity using a funkalicious rock band that blended gender, race, and sexual identities. She has since been a sought-after session player with a litany of credits, and today continues the legacy in The Revolution. | By Oscar Jordan
90 James Williamson & Deniz Tek
Stooge Meets a Birdman
When Stooges guitarist James Williamson recently collaborated with Radio Birdman axe-wielder (and Australian Music Hall of Famer) Deniz Tek, they set aside the urge to hammer on Les Pauls and Strats plugged into amps cranked to 10. | By Greg Prato
96 Jimmy Bryant
It could only happen in California – the harmonic convergence of a guitar-slinging war hero with a newfangled Fender poised to change the world. But that’s exactly what went down when Leo Fender strode into a cowboy bar on the outskirts of Hollywood one day in 1950. | By Wolf Marshall
14 Reader Mail
18 News and Notes
McLaughlin Earns Grammy; Tipton Steps Away From Priest Tour; She Rocks Awards; In Memoriam
18 Todd Park Mohr
22 Ask Zac
22 Rahul Mukerji
Indian Fusion Fanatic
24 Les Claypool
26 Whitey Kirst
Life After Iggy
28 Al Joseph
30 Jim Campilongo
Taking Chances With Kindness
32 Bustle & Buzz
52 Vintage Guitar Price Guide
82 Effects Spotlight
102 Upcoming Events
116 Vintage Guitar Classifieds
136 Readers Gallery
56 The (Way) Back Beat
The Rod and the Staff: The Larson Brothers’ Prairie State Patents | By Peter S. Kohman
Jimmy Bryant | By Wolf Marshall
70 Q&A With George Gruhn
72 Dan’s Guitar Rx
From Factory to Track: ’66 Fender Palomino Returns to Form, Part 2 | By Dan Erlewine
76 Shop of Hard Knocks
Double the Fun: Six Become 12, DIY-Style | By Will Kelly
108 The VG Hit List
Jimi Hendrix, the Eagles, Black Sabbath, Luther Allison, Wes Montgomery, Lee Roy Parnell, Adrian Legg, Wilco, Ronnie Earl, Carl Verheyen, Sambora/Orianthi, more!
109 Check This Action
Folk-Rock (And Vice Versa) | By Dan Forte
120 VG Approved Gear
Reverend Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike, EarthQuaker Westwood Translucent Drive Manipulator, Epiphone Ltd. Ed. 1955 Les Paul Custom, JHS Charlie Brown Overdrive, Republic Classic Concert Uke, Pettyjohn Crush Compressor, Tech 21 Acoustic Fly Rig, Collings I-30 LC, Trussart SteelCaster, Ibanez AGS73FM, Vintage VSA500
121 Gearin’ Up!
The latest cool new stuff!
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