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    Greg Martin honors Leslie West

    To honor Leslie West on his 71st birthday, Greg Martin plugged a ’59 Les Paul Junior into his 50-watt ’72 Marshall half-stack (which stays in his basement). “Leslie is one of my biggest rock influences,” Greg said. “His playing with Mountain captivated me from the first time I heard ‘Mississippi Queen’ on the radio in 1970 and their ‘Climbing!’ album should be in every guitarist’s record collection. Leslie’s playing in Mountain and West, Bruce & Laing taught me the importance of finger vibrato and big tone. For me, he’s up there with Clapton, Hendrix, Beck, B.B. King. and others.” Keep up with Greg at www.kentuckyheadhunters.net.

    Magnatone Varsity

    Less is More, Plus

    Magnatone Varsity Price: $1,699 (list); $1,799 (as tested) Contact: www.magnatoneusa.com Magnatone earned a cult of admirers in the mid 20th century. Buddy Holly and Lonnie Mack used the company’s amps, and Neil Young still has a 280 Stereo model in his live rig. The company went out of business in the ’70s, but the beloved


    Jeff Senn and Crazy Aces

    Dealing Out Twang

    When you build guitars for a living, you might unwind with another hobby – say, beer-can collecting or crochet. Not Jeff Senn, mastermind behind Original Senn Guitars. He started a band. Call it R&D or just plain fun, but Senn’s band, Crazy Aces, is a funky, kitschy ensemble that plays an amalgam of hard-driving surf,

    Peavey’s Razer, Mystic, and Foundation

    Peavey’s Razer, Mystic, and Foundation

    Contrasting Chronologies

    Just a handful of years after Peavey turned the world of electric guitar upside-down with its T-60 guitar and T-40 bass, the company was feeling its oats. While the T series caught attention because their bodies were carved by computer numerical control (CNC) machinery that produced very consistent, durable, instruments, they also weren’t overly appealing,


    Echopark Ghetto Bird

    Sweet Emotion

    Echopark Ghetto Bird Price: $6,800 (as reviewed) Contact: www.echoparkguitars.com You know you’re holding something special when the guy who previously borrowed your review guitar was none other than Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who apparently used this very Echopark Ghetto Bird – officially called Ancient Sinker Redwood Case Study #002 – for some recent recording work.


    Gretsch’s #1 Country Gent

    The Gretsch Country Gentleman 6122 was the third of four Chet Atkins signature guitar models created for the legendary guitarist in the ’50s. The little-known truth is it was also a response to all the things Atkins did not like about the first model Gretsch conjured for him – the 6120 Hollowbody. The reality is


    Bruce and Butter

    It would be an understatement to say that REO Speedwagon bassist Bruce Hall and his 1965 Fender Jazz Bass, dubbed “Butter,” have been through a lot. Born and raised in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, Hall, who has been with the band for more than 30 years, acquired this mainstay when he was 16. In an ironic twist,


    Tom Feldmann

    No Need to Sell Your Soul

    “And the Oscar goes to…” If they gave out Academy Awards for the best guitar instructional film, Tom Feldmann’s latest on Robert Johnson would be a shoe-in. We rarely review instructional videos, but this one is something special. And it’s more than just a how-to guide: it’s an in-depth, note-for-note documentary look at the playing

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    Homer Haynes’ ’59 D’Angelico Excel

    From 1932 to 1964, independent builder John D’Angelico produced some of the finest jazz guitars. After apprenticing and working in the violin trade, D’Angelico transitioned to building archtop guitars with f-shaped sound holes in his shop at 40 Kenmare Street, on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His earliest models closely resemble Gibson’s L-5 from

    Ibanez M522S

    Ibanez M522S

    F-Style For Less

    Thanks to acts such as the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, and the Punch Brothers, the mandolin is suddenly hip again, particularly among guitarists interested in expanding their stringed horizons. While the lower-end mando market is pretty crowded, the Ibanez M522S is one of the few F-style instruments in the price range. Certainly, pear-shaped “A-style”

    Oddfellow Caveman Drive

    Oddfellow Caveman Drive

    Tone Evolution

    Oddfellow Caveman Drive Price: $174.99 (list) Info: www.oddfellowfx.com. Handmade in California, the Oddfellow Caveman Drive is a boutique pedal whose simple layout belies its tonal complexities. But even before hooking this stompbox into your signal chain, right off the bat, you have to dig the cardboard box in which it comes. Sure, this looks like


    Bob’s Playboy Pickers

    Bob Wills was, first and foremost, a fiddler. But he began his career in childhood, strumming guitar and mandolin chords at rural Texas parties and dances behind his father, ace fiddler Uncle John Wills. As leader of the Texas Playboys from 1934 to ’64, Wills not only helped define the guitar’s role in western swing,

    '62 Les Paul Rarity

    ’62 Les Paul Rarity

    In its early years, the Gibson Les Paul Custom evolved through several body-style and spec changes and was the earliest Gibson solidbody to have a Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tailpiece; the Les Paul model (a.k.a. “goldtop”) did not have them until late ’55. First appearing in Gibson catalogs in 1954, the company actually made a

    Thom Douvan

    Thom Douvan

    Motown and More

    Released in April, guitarist Thom Douvan’s third album, All Over Again, is a mix of self-penned instrumentals (with one notable exception) that utilizes a plethora of classic guitars to embellish the compositions. Douvan came of age in the ’60s and counted many area influences as part of his formative years in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “There


    Supro S6651

    Supro S6651 Big Star

    Don’t we guitarists just love gear that looks like it was salvaged from our mom’s kitchen circa 1961? Give us something in high-gloss pastel, with Formica styling, gas-cooker knobs, plenty of chrome, and an emblem lifted off a fridge door and we go weak in the knees every time. When it comes to kitchen kitsch,


    Jeff Golub

    Unfinished Business

    The route taken by Jeff Golub in making Train Keeps A Rolling is unlike that followed by any other artist. Just as his previous record, Three Kings, was released, Golub suffered the collapse of one of his optic nerves, which caused loss of sight in that eye. The condition doesn’t typically affect the sight in


    Gibson EDS-1275 and EMS-1235

    It’s hard not to associate doubleneck electric guitars with images of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page or fusion guru Mahavishnu John McLaughlin in the ’70s; however, the fact is that by the time the Big Js were stopping shows with these multi-headed beasts, they were already relics of the past. Doubleneck Spanish guitars got their first

    Jack Petruzzelli

    Jack Petruzzelli

    Fab Sideman For Osborne, Wainwright, Smith

    “The first time the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan, I was in my mother’s womb,” says Jack Petruzzelli. “That was February ’64, but then when they appeared the second time I was out of the womb.” What could be more appropriate for the guitarist/keyboardist of the Fab Faux, the spot-on Beatles tribute band featuring Jimmy

    Julian Lage

    Julian Lage

    A Guitar Wizard Comes of Age

    People having been raving about Julian Lage since he was a young guitar prodigy almost 20 years ago – he even jammed onstage with Carlos Santana at the tender age of eight. Over the past half-decade, the 26-year-old has become a brilliant guitarist who’s taste and depth bely his youth. Lage’s latest recording, World’s Fair,