Belmont University, Nashville, today held the official opening of its Gallery of Iconic Guitars (GIG), an exhibit resulting from a gift to the school from the estate of Steven Kern Shaw, grandson of composer Jerome Kern and an instrument collector and philanthropist. It includes nearly 500 instruments and an endowment worth approximately $10.5 million. Among

Eric Krasno

Funk, Soul, and Jazz

Eric Krasno is on a roll. The guitarist in the soul-jazz organ trio Soulive moonlights with the funk ensemble Lettuce, co-produced The London Soul’s upcoming record, and lends his production talents, playing, and songs to a slew of other artists; he most recently produced a new album by Aaron Neville. Then, there’s a new solo

Mike Beigel

Resurrection of the Mu-Tron III

Mike Beigel is no guitarist. But that never held him back in crafting one of the most legendary of all guitar effects pedals, the famed Musitronics Mu-Tron III envelope filter. When players think “funk,” they recall Beigel’s masterpiece stompbox. Bootsy Collins plugged in his Space Bass to craft his Parliament-Funkadelic sound. Jerry Garcia, Frank Zappa,

PRS SE 245 Single Cut

Dressed to Impress

PRS SE 245 Single Cut Price: $650 (street). Info: prsguitars.com Pick up the PRS SE 245 and turn it around a few times. After blinking repeatedly at its finish, you may have trouble believing this is a mid-priced guitar. A single-cutaway from the company’s Korean-built SE line, its intent, of course, is to provide entry-level/intermediate

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

Blackbird Guitars’ Lucky 13

Blackbird Guitars’ Lucky 13

Nice Roll

Blackbird Guitars’ Lucky 13 Price: $1,850 (list)/$2,050 (with Fishman electronics) Info: www.blackbirdguitar.com What has a 13-fret neck, a small-but-curvaceous body like a classic early-’30s Gibson, and a sound that conjures midnight hoodoo blues combined with the playability and durability necessary to jump into a street-corner jam in a Delta downpour? Why, it’s the Blackbird Guitars

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Pete Huttlinger

A Narrative (and album) From the Heart

To call Pete Huttlinger a survivor is an understatement. The notable Nashville fingerpicker has fought back from a major stroke and end-stage heart failure to record the most important album of his career, McGuire’s Landing. The effort began years ago, and Huttlinger had recorded some of its tracks before being sidelined by his health. A

Babicz Octave Blue Flame

Flaming Glory

When a vintage-minded guitarist recollects cracking open the case of a big ol’ hollowbody and catching a glimpse of flame, minds wander to dreams of Gibson ES-5 or Kay Jimmy Reed Thin-Twin axes. As one unboxes the Babicz Octane, many of the same emotions are stirred, given the classic look of the hollowbody beauty’s flame-maple

ZT Amplifiers’ Lunchbox Junior

Tasty Treat

ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Junior Price: $149 (street) Info: www.ztamplifiers.com. ZT Amplifiers is known for producing compact amps that generate sounds which defy their size. Their latest, the 35-watt ZT Lunchbox Junior, is the pint-sized version of the ZT Lunchbox (though even the larger model is very conveniently sized). The ZT Junior is about half the weight

GizmoAudio’s Ripsaw and Sawmill Jr.

GizmoAudio’s Ripsaw and Sawmill Jr.

Just Like the First Time

Durham Electronics’ ReddVerb Price: $180 each (list) Info: www.gizmoaudio.com Most guitar players’ first pedal was a distortion/OD, often acquired after enduring the taunts from friends and/or bandmates who whisper about how their tone was “thin” and “weak.” The experience takes them down the road to experimentation; the weeks and years that follow becoming a haze

Walrus Audio’s Bellwether Dela

The Bell Tolls For Thee

The Bellwether from Walrus Audio is a high-end analog delay notable for its tone, adaptability, and depth of control. The pedal’s capabilities will exceed many players’ needs, but the Bellwether is well worth a look for any musician with the desire (and the pocket change) for a delay effect that answers more serious demands. None

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Avid Technology Eleven Rack

Rack and Roll

The proliferation of digital guitar gear grows by leaps and bounds every year as more players learn to love the world of tones and effects offered by the technology. You’ll obviously get no argument from us that tube amps and analog stompboxes are great, but for more and more musicians, digital is here to stay.

Santana

Santana IV

This lineup reunites Carlos Santana with guitarist Neal Schon and other members of the 1970–1973 Santana band, reigniting their unique mix of Latin-rock, soul, jazz-rock fusion, and heavy Afro-Cuban beats. Listen to “Shake It” for a modern spin on old-school Santana, Carlos jamming on the wah-wah for the main track, while Schon is let off

Mike Zito

Back to Solo Soul-Searching

Following a stint of nearly four years in the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Texas-based guitarist Mike Zito is focusing on his solo career and has a new album, Keep Coming Back. Like his other recordings, it’s chock full of personal, gutwrenchingly honest songs. Zito was co-founded the RSB, but left in October of 2014. “It was

EKO 995

The Beatles’ appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in February of 1964 is often referred to as the most important event in the history of rock music, having inspired thousands (millions?) of teenagers to play in a band. Many budding bassists aspired to own a violin-shaped instrument like the one Paul McCartney played on the

Vintage Guitar magazine Namm 2017

Winter NAMM 2017

Experience Winter NAMM 2017 with James Patrick Regan (1 of 42). Experience Winter NAMM 2017 with James Patrick Regan Experience Winter NAMM 2017 with James Patrick Regan Experience Winter NAMM 2017 with James Patrick Regan Tom Feldmann live demo of a new Waterloo by Collings Guitars and Mandolins. #NAMM2017 Cool happenings at the John Page

Chordal Colorations

Iconic Axes of Different Hues

Though their colors are complementary, Brian May’s Red Special and Brian Setzer’s ’59 Gretsch 6120 couldn’t be more different in terms of their origin or their roles in helping to create legendary music. One is home-made, the other represents the innovation of its era. One appeared on stages worldwide, rendering purist tones of a bygone

M&V Guitars and Pickups Atlas Large-Pole Precision Bass Pickups

Big Bottom

M&V Guitars and Pickups Atlas P Bass-Style Pickups Price: $75 Info: www.mvguitars.com. Let’s face it –  when it comes to boutique pickup options, bass players have gotten the short end of the stick. And as for the venerable Fender Precision Bass, well there’s only so many ways you can put a new harness on the

Weller Guitars’ Stageliner

Jetson Moderne

More and more, guitar designers are digging deep, thinking out of the box, and using their imaginations to conjure hip, nontraditional designs. Strat, Tele, and Les Paul shapes are no longer the go-to templates. Among younger consumers, particularly, retailers see a move away from standard shapes to more futuristic profiles, early-’60s oddball, artsy flourishes, and