From the origins of country-rock to Jimmy Page, Metallica, and a slew of modern country-pickin’ wizards, the string bender lends unique sounds to any form of music by giving players an “extra hand.”

Vox AC50 Preamp tubes: one ECC82 (12AU7), three ECC83 (12AX7) Output tubes: two EL34s, fixed-biased Rectifier: solidstate Controls: Volume, Treble and Bass for each channel. Output: nominally 50 watts RMS, but upward of 70 watts flat-out. Where the evolution of guitar amplification in general traces musicians’ needs to be louder, the history of Vox follows,

John Brinkmann, 1937-2013

Pioneering Promoter of the Vintage-Guitar Market

John Brinkmann, an innovator of the guitar-show concept and pioneer in the vintage-guitar market, passed away October 8. He had been battling diabetes and a heart condition. Brinkmann was one of the first people to advance vintage-guitar sales from early “car trunking” at flea markets to organized, promoted events where instruments were displayed on tables

Waterloo WL-14

Waterloo WL-14

Modern Johnson

Waterloo WL-14 Price: $2,100, $1,890 (street) Contact: www.collingsguitars.com or www.waterlooguitars.com Robert Johnson slid into a photo booth, dangling a cigarette from his lips and holding a flat-top guitar. What brand was he smoking? Who knows? But scholars think he was holding a Gibson-made Kalamazoo KG-14. And acoustic blues guitarists want to know what Mr. Johnson

Metal Pedals’ Raw Hide, Hard Core XXX

Saddle Up!

Metal Pedals’ Raw Hide, Hard Core XXX Price: $175 (Raw Hide); $230 (Hard Core XXX) Info: www.metalpedals.com. For many discerning players, Dave Pantaleone at Metal Pedals is a well-known stompbox builder. His latest offerings are two distinctly different animals that offer pro-level sound and carry on with his established M.O. of solid construction, die-cast aluminum

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

Way Out West

For decades, Stuart has been one of country music’s biggest champions, and may yet be its savior. His Fabulous Superlatives are one of the tightest, most authentic country bands and possibly the most versatile – as demonstrated on the RFD Channel’s “Marty Stuart Show,” where they’ve backed everyone from Kitty Wells to Sam Moore. As

The Howlin’ Brothers

Like a long-lost radio show from the ’50s suddenly coming to life on your radio in the late nighttime hours, this hard-driving string trio summons forth the sounds of old-time bluegrass, vintage country, and roaring rockabilly. The Howlin’ Brothers have one foot tapping time in tradition, the other kicking down the doors. The howling here

Gibson J-35

Gibson J-35

Dreadnought guitars originated as early as 1916 with instruments made by Martin and distributed by Ditson, followed in 1931 with guitars sold by Martin under its own brand. The first Martin dreadnoughts were 12-fret slot-heads with an extended slope-shouldered body; in early ’34, the company introduced a square-shouldered dread with a 14-fret neck. Gibson entered

Arbiter Fuzz Face

When Jimi Hendrix released his first album, 1967’s Are You Experienced, he launched a new level of guitar heroics as well as a sartorial fad for ruffled shirts and band jackets. He also fed a fashion for fuzz. One of Jimi’s main weapons was the Arbiter Fuzz Face, a cheap, crude fuzz box that would

Jim Peterik

Jim Peterik

The Ides of a Century

Most dictionaries define “ides” as the middle of a month, based on the Roman calendar. The most famous are the Ides of March, which is also the name of a horn band from Chicago that formed in 1964, with its most famous hit being 1970’s “Vehicle.” Its lead guitarist, Jim Peterik, would go on to

Yamaha THR10

Practice Perfection?

Yamaha THR10 Price: $299 Contact: usa.yamaha.com As a rule of thumb, practice amps are a compromise. Blissfully portable, they typically lack tone and features. Yet whether in a bedroom or hotel room, a practice amp should help inspire an artist by making practice more pleasure than chore. Yamaha’s THR10 is a definite step in the

1983 Peavey T-20 and T-20FL Vintage guitar magazine

Peavey T-20

The Next Step

Introduced in 1982, Peavey’s T-20 was different from other basses in the Peavey lineup, the two-pickup T-40, and the single-pickup T-45. The T-40 (“Bass Space” October ’06) and its six-string sibling, the T-60, debuted as the first instruments to be made with parts carved using CNC machines, and their necks were bilaminated and pre-stressed. Their

Daredevil Pedals’ Atomic Cock

Daredevil Pedals Atomic Cock

Green Monster

Daredevil Pedals’ Atomic Cock Price: $150 (list) Info: www.daredevilpedals.com. Despite the many clever take-aways one could derive from its name, the Atomic Cock is “just” an effects box offered by Daredevil Pedals. A variable fixed wah with adjustable gain, it offers more tonal options than a traditional wah while circumventing the tedious search for the

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Live From The Fox Oakland
All The Way Live

Live albums can be a remedy for contract disputes or a way to stall for time during a creative dry spell. For Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, it’s really the best way to be heard on a recording. Live is their natural habitat. When they’re feeding off each other and the raw energy of an

Nalle Colt

Keeping Old-School Alive

Vintage Trouble has emerged as one of the hardest working bands on the music scene. Laced with an ultra-cool visual style and a soulful vision, singer Ty Taylor and guitarist Nalle Colt bring together groove, sweat, and sex. Their debut album, The Bomb Shelter Sessions , mixes ’60s rock-and-roll with the spirit of Otis Redding,

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Gretsch’s “Golden” Tenors

In the 1950s and early ’60s, the electric guitar was establishing itself as a key part of the new voice of popular music. Amplification provided its volume, and innovative artists were pushing the envelope of sound that could be offered by six strings. So it’s interesting that in a time referred to in retrospect as

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25

Stage, Studio, Etc.

Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25 Price: $1,299 (list) Contact: www.mesaboogie.com Housed in teensy cabinets, so-called “lunchbox” amps are all the rage, and to varying degrees do a nice job of living up to the phrase “Don’t let size fool you.” Mesa/Boogie’s entry in the category is the Mark Five: 25, a full-featured/switchable-output head weighing less than

BAKERSFIELD-HOME-MAIN-BIG

Basses from Bakersfield

The history of guitar manufacturing in the Bakersfield area of California includes names like Mosrite, Hallmark, and Standel. One of the most unusual (and rare) was the Gruggett Stradette. Guitar builder and company founder Bill Gruggett had affiliations with Mosrite and Hallmark before setting out on his own in 1967. He designed the Stradette to

Slim Harpo and Martin Hawkins

Buzzin’ the Blues: The Complete Slim Harpo and Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge

Mick Jagger admonished the world back in 1968, “What’s the point in listening to us doing ‘I’m A King Bee’ when you can listen to Slim Harpo doing it?” His statement not only summed up the early philosophy behind the Rolling Stones – despite the band’s superlative cover of that song, and later of “Shake