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    Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”
    This may well be the most desirable Fender Stratocaster on the face of the planet. And it happens to be a beat-up mongrel assembled from parts taken from three 1950s guitars. Nevertheless, Eric Clapton's "Blackie" is one of the most recognized celebrity-associated instruments in the...
    DeTemple Spirit Series Stellacasta
    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...

    Tedeschi Trucks Band

    You might get the idea that the band led by husband-and-wife team Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi are feeling a bit laidback on their...

    Tommy Emmanuel

    Tommy Emmanuel cautions against using “the V word” – virtuoso – when describing his work. “I want to make musical statements that stand...

    Rivera Shaman Series Pedals

    Rivera Shaman Series Pedals Price: $299 each (street) Info: www.rivera.com. With roots stretching to the late ’70s, SoCal-based Rivera Amplification is best known for their handbuilt-in-the-U.S.A....
    Ampeg VT-22

    Ampeg VT-22

    Preamp tubes: four 7025 (12AX7 types) Output tubes: two 5881 (a more-rugged 6L6 type), fixed-bias Rectifier: solidstate Controls: Bass Instrument channel: Volume, Treble, Bass; Normal channel: Volume, Treble, Bass; shared: Presence Output: 50 watts RMS Insiders from the golden era of the New Jersey amp manufacturer have frequently spoken of Ampeg founder Everett Hull’s unwillingness […]

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    HomeWrecker Pickups

    Slumbering Strats, Awake!

    In 2011, session guitarist Joshua Hernandez began winding pickups in his living room. From these modest beginnings, and with no desire simply to replicate the sounds of vintage pickups, Hernandez went a step further and set out specifically to build modern pickups suited to the sonic idiosyncrasies of Stratocaster-style guitars – or, as Hernandez puts […]

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    Movie Star, Rancher

    Mid-’50s Muse of Wire and Wood

    In the years immediately after World War II, Americans were settling into a new way of life, and plunging headlong toward an economic prosperity never before experienced by everyday people. Change was also afoot among the nation’s guitar manufacturers. Having been restricted by materials shortages and/or re-tooling to bolster the war effort, guitar makers like […]

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    The Epiphone ES-175 Reissue

    Return of a Classic

    There are plenty of affordable hollowbodies on the market, but Epiphone’s recent reissue of the Gibson ES-175 is almost a slam-dunk out of the box. Whether your guitar guru is Joe Pass, Pat Metheny, or Steve Howe, there’s a historical aura to the 175 design that transcends categorization. In that light, Epiphone has an instant […]

    Fargen Pete Anderson Tumbleweed

    Fargen Pete Anderson Tumbleweed

    Box Full Of Country

    Fargen Pete Anderson Tumbleweed Price: $299 (list) Info: www.fargenamps.com. Pete Anderson is a touring roots and country guitarist probably best known for his work with Dwight Yoakam during the latter’s tenure atop the country charts in the ’80s and ’90s. His deft Telecaster playing and conservative production techniques turned Nashville on its ear and helped […]

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    Carvin Steve Vai Legacy 3 VL300

    The Legend Continues

    Carvin Steve Vai Legacy 3 VL300 Price: $899 Info: www.carvin.com. For more than 13 years, Steve Vai has been collaborating with Carvin on a signature amp line, and their third-generation Legacy 3 VL300 sports a new look, added features, and tons of Vai vibe. At first glance, the Legacy 3 looks a bit like a […]

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    Fender Precision Bass

    The “Final” Configuration

    The Fender Precision Bass was the first commercially successful solidbody electric bass. Played somewhat like a guitar and sporting a fretted neck, the “P-Bass” won over players in almost every genre who previously had to contend with the cumbersome upright bass. In its original configuration, the instrument, introduced in 1952, had a maple neck with […]

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    Michael Schenker

    Acoustic Album, Electric Gear

    One of the most influential guitarists in hard rock history, Michael Schenker has imbued the music of UFO, Scorpions, and his own MSG with soaring, light-speed guitar solos. More recently, he released Gipsy Lady, an album by his Schenker-Barden Acoustic Project, one of several non-electric projects he’s working on, and he also maintains a brisk […]

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    Kramer Aluminum-Neck Basses

    When it entered the music-instrument market in 1976, Kramer Guitars made a big splash with an aggressive marketing campaign, big-name endorsers, and – most importantly – an improved approach to the then-fresh concept of aluminum necks. In terms of stability, the aluminum neck was seen as an improvement over wood. And while Kramer Guitars followed […]

    Z.Vex Fuzz Probe

    Z.Vex Fuzz Probe

    There-Mayhem

    Z.Vex Fuzz Probe Price: $369 Contact: www.zvex.com The Z.Vex Fuzz Factory pedal unleashed sonic possibilities ranging from a horde of wasps to the (presumed) sound of the end of the world and became a go-to stompbox for extreme-rock and heavy metal guitarists. The company’s latest twist, the Fuzz Probe, takes the Fuzz Factory and adds […]

    Bobby Womack

    Bobby Womack

    1944-2014

    Guitarist, soul singer, and songwriter Bobby Womack passed away June 27. He was 70 and had suffered from diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Womack’s career spanned more than 50 years. His soulful essence and music had a far-reaching influence on contemporary music around the world. His expansive catalog crossed musical boundaries, ethnic groups, and left an […]

    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 […]

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    Dickerson Standard Lap Steel

    Though today they are viewed as little more than curious relics of a lost era, during the Great Depression, “mother of toilet seat” Hawaiian lap steels were one of the most popular types of guitar. You could argue that these little electrics blazed the trail for the later popularity of electric Spanish guitars. There were […]

    Gibson Barney Kessel Custom Prototype Vintage guitar magazine

    Gibson’s Experimental Kessel Prototype

    Gibson Barney Kessel Custom model

    This is a guitar which for all practical purposes appears to be a Gibson Barney Kessel Custom model, but the label clearly indicates it was made as an experimental prototype. The date of this instrument precedes the introduction of the Barney Kessel. Our shop obtained it from the original owner, Jon Hines, who purchased it […]

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    ’53 Gibson Les Paul Junior

    Gibson’s records tell us the Les Paul Junior was introduced in 1954. But here we have what appears to be a 1953 example. This instrument has no serial number on the back of the peghead, though the tone and volume pot codes indicate they were made in 1953, and the guitar differs in specifications from […]

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    Cort’s Sunset I and II

    Jonesin’ For Tone

    Cort’s Sunset I and II Price: $1,195 (Sunset I), $750 (Sunset II) Info: www.cortguitars.com When Cort isn’t busy making guitars and basses for major musical instrument companies, they’re hard at work building some pretty cool instruments under their own name. From jazz boxes to the Gene Simmons AXE Electric Bass, Cort covers a lot of […]

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    Rodrigo Sanchez

    Cuban Orchestra Helps Create Area 52

    Rodrigo Sanchez is one half of the fiery acoustic duo known as Rodrigo Y Gabriela. They have evolved from a stripped-down dual-acoustic-guitar sound to catapult their music in new directions. On their latest release, Area 52, Sanchez and partner Gabriela Quintero enlisted the help of producer Peter Asher and a 13-piece Cuban orchestra. The result […]

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    Between Gibbons and Holdsworth

    John Ziegler Of Volto!

    John Ziegler’s band, Volto!, emerged from L.A.’s fusion scene with bassist Lance Morrison and drummer Danny Carey, who’s primary gig is with Tool. After cutting its teeth playing ZZ Top and Allman Brothers covers, Ziegler began to write songs, motivated by Carey’s playing. “He’s such a stylized drummer,” said Ziegler. “The originals kind of squirted […]

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    Mike Matthews

    The Special Effect at Electro-Harmonix

    As a child of four, Mike Matthews’ mother taught him how to play classical-style piano. Formal lessons followed; the child took to the instrument, and performed at elementary-school concerts from the time he was in first grade. His interaction with the instrument led to one of his fondest – and most prescient – childhood memories; […]

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    Vox Pacemaker V-3

    1965 Vox Pacemaker v-3 Preamp tubes: three Mullard ECC83 (12AX7) Output tubes: two Mullard EL84, cathode-biased, no negative feedback Rectifier: Mullard EZ81 Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass, Speed, Depth Speaker: gold 10″ Oxford “Vox Bulldog” Output: approximately 17 watts RMS No doubt the mere appearance of that Vox logo and the diamond grillecloth beneath it has […]