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    Greg Martin honors Leslie West

    To honor Leslie West on his 71st birthday, Greg Martin plugged a ’59 Les Paul Junior into his 50-watt ’72 Marshall half-stack (which stays in his basement). “Leslie is one of my biggest rock influences,” Greg said. “His playing with Mountain captivated me from the first time I heard ‘Mississippi Queen’ on the radio in 1970 and their ‘Climbing!’ album should be in every guitarist’s record collection. Leslie’s playing in Mountain and West, Bruce & Laing taught me the importance of finger vibrato and big tone. For me, he’s up there with Clapton, Hendrix, Beck, B.B. King. and others.” Keep up with Greg at www.kentuckyheadhunters.net.

    Each year, VG asks readers to select Readers’ Choice winners for Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, and Player of the Year in four musical categories, based on artists and recordings featured in the magazine between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015. Included in the annual vote are nominees for the VG

    1985 Guild Nightbird Prototype Home Main Big

    1985 Guild Nightbird Prototype

    In early 1984, Mark Dronge, son of the Guild founder Alfred Dronge, was president of Guild. That year, Mark and I struck a deal to design six acoustic Guild guitars in two different body sizes. These were introduced at the 1984 summer National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Chicago. Reaction to the acoustics

    Blake Aaron

    Blake Aaron

    Melodic Passion

    Blake Aaron’s fifth solo release, Soul Stories, features eight originals and a couple of covers that have at least one thing in common. Each instrumental relies heavily on the listener keeping the melody in mind. “That’s really important to me; it’s what a song is all about. It’s got to be catchy and deep, which


    Misa Kitara

    Axe of the Future?

    Misa Kitara Price: $789 Info: www.misadigital.com. The guitar synthesizer has been around for more than 30 years and made significant inroads to contemporary music, thanks to fusion heroes like Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola, Steve Morse, and Allan Holdsworth. The latest wrinkle is the Misa Kitara, which shifts the paradigm. Instead of a


    50 Years Ago Today

    The Beatles Conquer America

    Sunday, February 9, 1964, was the day that forever changed music and pop culture. “The Ed Sullivan Show” was one of the most popular television programs in the United States and at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, The Beatles made their live debut on American national television before an estimated 73 million people. This single

    Amptweaker’s FatMetal Distortion

    Amptweaker’s FatMetal Distortion

    Metal To the Pedal

    With all of the subgenres of heavy metal out there, it was only a matter of time before the pedal industry began tweaking its many circuits to meet the needs of discerning heshers everywhere. Such is the case with Amptweaker’s FatMetal Distortion – a variation on the brand’s TightMetal, but warmer and – according to

    Tommy Castro

    Tommy Castro

    Amped Up

    Fans of Tommy Castro might be shocked with some of the guitar tones on his latest record, The Devil You Know. His straightforward R&B sounds are still there, but, he says, “I had fun trying new stuff.” On his dozen or so career albums, Castro has made significant effort to mix it up. “I’ve done

    Airline Bojotar

    Airline Bojotar

    Hybrid G-String Machine

    There’s something about the Airline Bojotar that makes one ask, “What if Keef had added a high-G banjo string to the bass side of his five-string Tele?” With a scale length of 24.75″, the Bojotar’s strings are tuned G/D/G/B/D (low to high) and sit on a 1.5″ nut. A sixth string, tuned to G, is

    Korg Nuvibe

    Korg Nuvibe

    Big Box

    Korg Nuvibe Price: $499.99 (street) Contact: www.korg.com Korg is not known as a guitar company, but to their great credit they worked with Fumio Mieda – developer of the original Uni-Vibe from 1968 – to resurrect his classic modulation effect as the Nuvibe. A late-’60s Uni-Vibe is like the snow leopard of guitar effects; seldom seen and


    Sitori Sonics pedals

    New Highs with Sitori Sonics’ Doob Dreamer, Tidal Phase, and Reel Repeat

    Sitori Sonics pedals Price: $188 list (Doob Dreamer, Reel Repeat); $168 (Tidal Phase) Info: sitorisonics.com. Despite the vast possibilities of electronic guitar effects, boutique pedal builders perhaps sometimes focus their effort in the cheeky names to evoke a vibe. Sitori Sonics is no exception, with offerings such as the Doob Dreamer, Tidal Phase, and Reel

    Scott Henderson

    Scott Henderson

    Vibe Station

    On his new album, Vibe Station, Scott Henderson once again redefines fusion within a groove-heavy power trio format. As always, the blues informs his jazz-rock workouts with virtuosic jabs of rock edginess and humor. Despite Henderson’s obvious talents, he’ll be the first to say he’s all about hard work and intestinal fortitude. Famous for his


    Railhammer Hyper Vintage Humbucker

    Poles Apart

    Railhammer Hyper Vintage Humbucker Price: $139 list/ $89 direct Info: www.railhammer.com Developed by Joe Naylor of Reverend Guitars, Railhammers are passive humbuckers that use a combination of pole pieces on the treble side and rails on the bass side. It’s an interesting motif with an effective purpose. The Railhammers’s six oversize poles under the treble


    Cry, Baby!

    The Story of the Vox Wah

    Beyond being crowned “Album of the Century” by Time magazine, Marley and the Wailers’ 1977 LP Exodus is a wah-wah masterpiece thanks to Junior Marvin and his Thomas Organ Cry Baby. Others – from Earl Hooker to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa to Sly Stone – made their mark with the pedal, but never has so


    Most Bizarre Guitar Effect of All Time?

    Led Zeppelin’s final studio album, 1979’s In Through The Out Door, opens with an eerie, otherworldly drone that weaves and winds its way before segueing into the searing Stratocaster riffs of “In The Evening.” In the past, Jimmy Page played his Les Paul with a violin bow and waved his hands like a wizard over

    Siegmund Midnight Special

    Siegmund Midnight Special

    Tried ’N True, Twisted

    Siegmund Midnight Special Price: $1,895 (list, as tested) Contact: www.siegmundguitars.com Driven by a quest for preserving the original tonal qualities of a player’s instrument, builder Chris Siegmund created the Midnight Special, an attractive and great-sounding single-ended Class A amp that brings many of the bells and whistles of larger units to a small amp that

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    Ibanez PN1-NT

    Parlor for Pennies

    In recent years, the parlor guitar has exploded into popularity, reviving a 19th century instrument that was, as its name implies, played in the parlor – the small room used for entertaining guests or as a gathering place for family. In a diminutive space like that, guitarists didn’t need a booming, big-body guitar, hence the


    Joe Bonamassa


    Joe Bonamassa’s latest record, Driving Towards The Daylight, is a return to the blues. After two successful studio albums with the heavy-rock band Black Country Communion, Bonamassa’s latest solo effort explores some of his early influences. While covering Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon, he got help from heavyweight guitarists including Brad Whitford, Pat

    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