Most guitar aficionados are comfortable with the notion of guitar brands being made by the company of the same name. But when it comes to guitars made by one company and sold by another, we frequently stray out of our comfort zone. Yet, some of the most significant players in American guitar history never actually

Waterloo WL-14

Waterloo WL-14

Modern Johnson

Waterloo WL-14 Price: $2,100, $1,890 (street) Contact: or 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

Return of the Trashmen

Return of the Trashmen

Bird Is Still The Word

Surf’s up – again! Thanks to the prodding of guitarist/impresario Deke Dickerson, The Trashmen recently recorded their first album in 25 years. “I was an obsessed fan,” Dickerson says of the band, whose 1963 hit “Surfin’ Bird” vaulted it to near-legendary status. “They were doing rockabilly mixed with surf, and it was unique in that

Tone Pump Solara Studio

Tone Pump Solara Studio

Clean ’N Dirty

Tone Pump Solara Studio Price: $1,099 (list) Contact: The story is a familiar one. A guy learns to repair amps and then gets frustrated with the shortcomings of the stock amps available. So he starts offering modifications to existing amps before going off the deep end. That’s when he gets the hare-brained idea to

Martin 00-18

They were days, before Kent State, when everywhere you looked, kids sat under trees, singin’ songs and swappin’ licks. Fresh-faced young girls with names like “Star” painted flowers on their cheeks and drifted between you and the sun wearing diaphanous tie-dye gauze dresses. For a moment, you couldn’t remember the words of the song or hear the

Black River Delta

Devil On The Loose

Swedish disciples of pre-World War II blues Erik Jacobs, Erik Nilsson, and Pontus Ohlsson, hauled a bunch of gear up to a remote cabin and got down to business. The result is an album so full of genuine love for the genre, it’s impossible to dismiss. Sure, the band consists of three young Swedish guys

Brad Whitford

Aerosmith’s Master of Wicked Licks

Aerosmith’s 2011 Back On the Road tour was a two-month jaunt that consisted of 18 shows and took the band to places it had never been in Latin America before concluding in Japan. Normally, such a tour doesn’t create much hoopla, but this was different. The band hadn’t played there in seven years, but more

Chris Spedding

Chris Spedding

Convergence of Legends and Friends

The career of guitarist Chris Spedding has spanned more than four decades and included a commendable solo career, a stint in bassist Andy Fraser’s first post-Free venture (Sharks), and later, an association with Roxy Music. Spedding has always been primarily a studio musician, but has recorded several albums of his own music. He recently released

Gibson J-185

The Gibson J-185

The J-185 is regarded by many players and collectors as the finest-sounding Gibson flat-top made after World War II. The only flat-top of its size and shape made by Gibson in the 1950s, the company offered nothing comparable even in its pre-war catalogs, and though it is in many ways similar to the J-200, it’s


Bill Kirchen

Telemaster Offers A Word To The Wise

Trying to top 2006’s Hammer Of The Honky-Tonk Gods, Bill Kirchen’s eighth solo album, would seem a mighty tall order. Then again, he set what would have been a surprisingly high bar for anyone else with his ’94 solo debut, Tombstone Every Mile. Word To The Wise (Proper American) manages to push the Tele-toting “King

Carl Verheyen

The Tools of Trading 8s

Carl Verheyen is a member of that elite (and shrinking) group of musicians known as “session guitarists.” Super-qualified pickers, they’re the hired guns brought in for the most demanding and important recording dates. They command triple-scale fees, but work in a pressure cooker where time is money, where skillsets call for expertise in blues, jazz,

Jack Casady

Hot Tuna, Part II

Jazz bass great Anthony Jackson (August ’11) once told Bass Player magazine, he was drawn to Jack Casady’s “big, rich, metallic sound with a full bottom and a curious, guitaristic way of playing.” When Jackson saw Casady perform live, he was “struck by his dignity and serious mien.” For about 45 years, Casady has been

Jenny Boyd

Jenny Boyd

Searching For The Source

Dr. Jenny Boyd is founder and director of Spring Workshops, “organizing psychotherapeutic groups for people in need of personal development.” She is also the “Jennifer” who inspired Donovan’s “Jennifer Juniper.” Like her sister Pattie, Jenny became a model in swinging-’60s London. Pattie married and divorced both Beatle George Harrison and Eric Clapton; Jenny married and

Danelectro’s Four-String Basses

The guitars and basses made by Danelectro in the ’60s epitomized “no frills.” And though they were considered the nadir of American-made electric instruments of their time, many a babyboomer cut their musical teeth on one. The construction of most “classic” Danelectro-made guitars and basses – whether they were branded as Danelectro or the more-popular

Recording Electric Guitars – The Art of Home Recording

Recording Electric Guitars

The Art of Home Recording

Now that our studio is set up and we’ve selected our microphones following the first two installments of this series (July and November ’14), we’re ready to put those tools into position and get to some tracking. In this installment, we’ll concentrate on one of our favorite in-studio skills – miking amps to record electric

Michael Staertow

Michael Staertow

Gramm Backer

You may not recognize the name, but Michael Staertow has been playing some of classic rock’s most memorable riffs for Lou Gramm, the voice of Foreigner. Hailing from Gramm’s hometown of Rochester, New York, Staertow also performed recently with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and at the 2014 Rochester Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, sharing the

Dingwall Super P

Fanning the Flames

A time-honored approach to guitar and bass design is to take a classic and improve it. That’s certainly the case with the Dingwall Super P. Straight from Saskatoon, Canada, it’s a refreshing take on the Fender Precision and also full of hip appointments. The Super P neck has 22 smaller banjo-style frets and a compound

Mu-FX TruTron 3X

ToneVille Amplifiers Broadway

Red-Carpet Ready

ToneVille Amplifiers Broadway Price: $2,295 Contact: What is it that drives boutique amp builders to expend gallons of skull sweat striving for a more-perfect union between the pluck of steel strings over wire-wound magnets and obsolete 1950s audio technology? If you have to ask (or if you can’t appreciate the differences between an overdriven