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    Advertised as “The spirit of ZZ Top meets Texas boogie rock,” the Night Hawks play up the image of unpretentious good ol’boys you could have a beer with. They’re plaid-shirt dudes in cowboy hats and beards, ensconced in Memphis soul, blues, old cars, and...

    Rickenbacker Electric 12-Strings

    George Beauchamp and Adolph Rickenbacher founded Electro String in 1931 to manufacture what everyone would soon call “Rickenbacker” guitars. Success with musicians came early....

    The Jayhawks

    Those with only a casual ear to the pavement will likely file the Jayhawks under murky signifiers such as “Americana” and “Alt Country.” While...

    Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham and Vivian Campbell

    Thin Lizzy has cemented its place in history as one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Recognizable by its harmonized twin-guitar...
    DeTemple Spirit Series Stellacasta

    DeTemple Spirit Series Stellacasta

    Hybrid Tone

    DeTemple Spirit Series Stellacasta Price: $9,000 (list) Info: www.detempleguitars.com As an accomplished musician since the 1960s and more recently as a guitar builder and vintage collector, Michael DeTemple has long been aware of the demand for guitars that retain the sound and feel of vintage instruments but fit the needs of contemporary musicians. With this […]

    Visual Sound Route 66 V3 American Overdrive

    Visual Sound Route 66 V3 American Overdrive

    Get Yer’ Kick

    Visual Sound Route 66 V3 American Overdrive Price: $179 (street) Contact: www.truetone.com/ Over the years, the Route 66 pedal by Visual Sound (Ed. Note: the company is undergoing a rebranding, changing its name to Truetone) has gained recognition as a competitively priced, great-sounding overdrive and compressor in one. When Visual Sound announced they had reworked […]

    Luker Chameleon Combo

    The Luker Chameleon Combo

    True to Its Colors

    The Luker Chameleon Combo Price: $1,850 (list) Contact: www.lukeramps.com Considering the state of modern vacuum tubes, a surprising number of great tube amps are currently being built. And of those, every once in a while a truly exceptional amp that is also an astonishing value finds its way through the front door. The Luker Chameleon […]

    Sam Ash Fuzzz Boxx

    Sam Ash Fuzzz Boxx

    Atomic Wedgie

    Sam Ash Fuzzz Boxx Price: $149.99 Contact: http://www.samash.com. Guitarists who lived in New York City in the late ’60s might recall the Sam Ash Fuzzz Boxx. Introduced in ’67 as the Astrotone, it was popularized by Tommy Bolin, Leslie West, and Gene Cornish of The Rascals. The following year, it was rebranded and took on […]

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    25 Most Valuable Guitars

    Data compiled by Alan Greenwood and Gil Hembree Vintage Guitar is marking 25 years of publication with a year full of cool giveaways and features. This month, we continue the celebration with a list of the 25 guitars that, thanks to certain players, songs, and the laws of supply and demand, have become exceedingly valuable. […]


    Horses of Another Color

    1) This ’57, from batch 253xx, has the added intrigue of a gold G-cutout tailpiece in place of the Bigsby vibrato. In addition to the standard Amber Red stain on the 6120, the Bigsby was requisite on the Atkins-endorsed models. Having a 6120 that lacks both the finish and the vibrato seem to constitute heresy! […]


    The Gretsch Round-Up

    In 1954, what could possibly be more “contemporary Western” than a Gretsch Round-Up? Introduced in 1954, the Round-Up (listed in Gretsch literature as model PX6130) and the Rancher (PX6022) were trend-setting instruments with eye-catching finishes and ultra-hip-looking appointments. Appropriately, Western-designated models were the company’s first two instruments to be adorned in a sharp looking “modern […]

    Marty Friedman

    Marty Friedman

    En Fuego on Inferno!

    As he gears up for a co-headlining tour with Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Gus G., Marty Friedman has 13 solo albums of his own material to pick through. He’s going on the road in support of his latest album, Inferno. The album includes guest appearances by Alexi Laiho, Danko Jones, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, and Jason Becker, […]


    Eddie Clarke

    Ex-Motorhead guitarist Fast Eddie Clarke is back with his first Fastway album in more than two decades. It’s called Eat Dog, Eat and it’s a hard-hitting heavy-duty rock record with the kind of blazing guitar tones that brought Clarke to prominence. The current lineup of Fastway has been playing Europe and Japan, and has lost […]

    Reverend Guitars Ron Asheton Model

    Raw Power

    Reverend Guitars Ron Asheton Model Price: $1,079 Info: www.reverendguitars.com. If Ron Asheton had recorded just one album in his musical career – the Stooges’ 1969 debut – he still would be regarded as a legend. The Stooges’ proto-punk opus laid the blueprint for a thousand punk, alt-rock, and grunge bands that followed and featured the […]


    Widman Set Neck

    An Eye For Detail

    Widman Set Neck Price: $3,900 Info: widmancustomelectrics.com. John Widman is a custom guitar builder whose artistic leanings began while he worked as a graphic designer and photographer. After building bolt-neck instruments using off-the-shelf parts, he began crafting instruments from scratch, and recently introduced the Set Neck. A chambered single-cut, the Set Neck is built from […]


    Fender’s “First-Gen” Strat

    The Fender Stratocaster is arguably the most popular electric guitar model in the world. From the time of its introduction in 1954, no other electric has outsold its archetypical design. And unlike its fellow archetype, the Gibson Les Paul and its numerous variants including the Junior, Special, Standard, and Custom, the Stratocaster was always been […]

    Matchless DC-30

    Matchless DC-30

    Preamp Tubes: One EF86, three 12AX7s (one for PI) Output Tubes: Four EL84s in class A, cathode-bias. Rectifier: GZ34 Controls: Channel 1 – Volume, Bass, Treble: Channel 2 – Volume, Tone: Shared – Cut, Master Speakers: one Celestion G12M Greenback, one Celestion G12H-30 (modified) Output: 30 watts RMS While one-man operations like Dumble and Trainwreck […]


    Carr Bloke

    No Regular Fella

    Carr Bloke Price: $2,450 Info: www.carramps.com. From early models such as the Carr Slant 6V and the Rambler to more recent offerings such as the Artemus and Sportsman, North Carolina-based builder Steve Carr creates impressive tube designs that are never mere copies from the past. His latest circuit is the Bloke, which is his take […]

    Michael Kelly 1957

    Michael Kelly 1957

    Bargain Boutique

    Michael Kelly 1957 Price: $875 (list) Contact: www.michaelkellyguitars.com Michael Kelly Guitars has steadily gained a reputation for offering big bang for the buck. The Michael Kelly 1957 model solidbody extends this continuum, representing that meeting point between thoughtful design and quality execution, where modern guitar-manufacturing techniques deliver on their promise. The 1957 abounds with design […]

    Victoria Vic 105

    The Victoria VIC 105

    Raw And Responsive

    Victoria VIC 105 Price: $1,495 Contact: Victoria Amp Co.; phone (630) 820-6400; victoriaamp.com. In the 1990s, Mark Baier put himself on the map making quality reproductions of choice ’50s tweed-amp circuits. For the last decade, Baier has broadened his amp line with models that are not reproductions, but the product of his own fertile imagination. […]


    Fender’s First Reissues

    The CBS Era Concludes in Style

    By the late 1970s, cumulative changes in the details of the various classic guitar models on the market – Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster, and Gibson’s Les Paul – were so numerous that the instruments barely resembled their original versions. Serious electric guitar players and collectors clamored for reissues of the original instruments. But both manufacturers, […]

    The ViVi-Tone Aggrandizer

    The ViVi-Tone Aggrandizer

    • Preamp tubes: 6C5, 6F5 • Output tubes: two 6B5 • Rectifier: 80 • Controls: Volume, on/off switch • Speaker: 10″ field coil • Output: barely scraping double digits… if you’re lucky. “Aggrandize: v.tr. 1. increase the power, rank, or wealth 2. cause to appear greater than is the case.” So says the Oxford English […]


    Gretsch Jet Firebird

    One of the flashiest Jets in the Gretsch Company’s Air Force

    Given the number of jet-related model monikers in Gretsch’s 1950s and ’60s catalogs, one might get the impression the company built airplanes. There were the flashy “fighters” like the Duo-Jet, Silver Jet, and Jet Fire Bird. Then there were the sturdy, reliable “tankers” represented by laminated archtops like the Corsair and the seldom-seen Jet 21. On the “commercial” […]

    Gibson’s Mastertone Banjos

    Gibson’s Mastertone Banjos

    This Gibson RB-3 five-string from 1925 is a rare piece, as is any five-string banjo from the era dominated by tenor banjos. But it’s more important as a representative of one of Gibson’s first steps in a desperate attempt to develop a competitive banjo. Gibson recognized the impending popularity of the tenor banjo as early […]