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

Nils Lofgren

Great American Journeyman

Nils Lofgren’s resumé stretches 47 years and counting. He joined Neil Young’s band at age 19 and was a member of Crazy Horse before his own band, Grin, landed a record deal in 1971. After Grin, he forged a solo career and in ’84 joined Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. His tenure with

Eric Clapton

Live in San Diego with Special Guest J.J. Cale

With Eric Clapton’s 2014 announcement that he would no longer tour, his tribute album to J.J. Cale the same year, and subsequent revelation that he’d been suffering from peripheral neuropathy, the double-CD release of this 2007 concert recording makes total sense. Cale, Clapton’s longtime inspiration who died in 2013, made a rare appearance with E.C.,

Scott Metzger

Scott Metzger

Spontaneous Composition

“We started as three side men scheduled to back a singer who was a no-show at this bar in Brooklyn,” said Scott Metzger, recalling the origins of the trio Wolf!. “After 45 minutes waiting, the club manager said, ‘Just go out and play.’ We knew the song list wouldn’t work without vocals, so we made

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

Reverend Descent H90 Baritone

Deep Twang

Electric baritones have increased in popularity for the last 20 years. Filling the gap between standard-tuned electric guitar and bass, these solidbodies are useful among those in the roots-rock set (surf and country, in particular), as well as anyone in the metal and post-grunge camps. With its single-coil pickups, Reverend’s Descent H90 is designed for

Ricky Byrd

Cool and Greasy

“I wanted to make the type of album I would’ve liked to have heard when I was 13 – cool and greasy,” said ex-Blackhearts guitarist Ricky Byrd of his debut solo album, Lifer. Byrd worked with Joan Jett and her band from 1981 to ’91, while they amassed a string of hit records, most notably “I

Cort Z44

Single-Cut Shuffle

Cort Z44 Price: $569 list/under $400 street Contact: Just about everywhere you look these days, manufacturers are devising new spins on the single-cutaway solidbody. Cort has been a player on the import scene for decades and, with its Zenox-series Z44, shows it’s serious about being a player in the world of the single-cut. The

tone movement sponsored by Vintage Guitar magazine Where Are My Vacuum Tubes Coming From?

Where Are My Vacuum Tubes Coming From?

Tone Movement sponsored by Vintage Guitar magazine A brief history of audio tube manufacturers In this episode we sit down with Mojotone owners, Michael McWhorter and Andy Turner, for an in-depth look at how the vacuum tube market has changed over the last 20 years. There is a lot to know about the rise and

Luker Chameleon Combo

The Luker Chameleon Combo

True to Its Colors

The Luker Chameleon Combo Price: $1,850 (list) Contact: Considering the state of modern vacuum tubes, a surprising number of great tube amps are currently being built. And of those, every once in a while a truly exceptional amp that is also an astonishing value finds its way through the front door. The Luker Chameleon

Gibson GA-20

Gibson GA-20

• Preamp tubes: two 12AY7, one 12AX7. • Output tubes: two 6V6, cathode-bias. • Rectifier: 5Y3 • Controls: volume for each channel, shared tone. • Speaker: Jensen Special Design P12R. • Output: approximately 16 watts RMS. Behold, this specimen that checks off all the right boxes for fans of vintage amps; beautifully clean, it has

Robben Ford

The Space Between the Notes

When it comes to blues, Robben Ford has always been inspired by the most profound practitioners of the form and gone his own way with the understanding that true blues is about honesty and individuality. His latest, Bringing It Back Home, joins his indelible style and touch with the compositional talents of Allen Toussaint, Earl

TTS Music BMT Overdrive

TTS Music BMT Overdrive

Fine-Tune Your Crunch

TTS Music BMT Overdrive Price: $175 Info: No, the “BMT” in the name of TTS Music’s overdrive pedal does not stand for a “bacon, mayo, and tomato.” The initials simply indicate Bass, Middle, and Treble, which are all this pedal needs to be interesting. No groovy, ironic hipster name – just a nice dark-red

Steve Cropper

An MGs/Rascals Soul Summit

Before they were called Booker T. & The MGs, the first song the house band for Memphis’ Stax label cut on their own was the instrumental “Green Onions” – which went to number one on the R&B chart and number three on Pop in 1963. Since then, Tele man Steve Cropper has become perhaps the

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

Tinsley Ellis

Tinsley Ellis

Tougher Than Ever

After decades of roadhouses, bars, and international touring, bluesman Tinsley Ellis is still going strong. A 1979 graduate of Emory University, he always aspired to play blues guitar. “The first bluesy stuff I ever heard was by the British Invasion acts,” he recalled. “Hearing ‘Little Red Rooster’ by The Rolling Stones for the first time

Carr Impala

Big-Block Tone

Carr Impala Price: $2,490 (retail, in black); $2,640 (two-tone) Info: While the new Carr Impala amplifier gets its name and some of its aesthetic inspiration from the classic Chevy muscle car, its tone inspiration comes from one of the classic ’60 workhorse amps – the Fender Bassman. The Impala’s overall look and vibe are

Alairex H.A.L.O.

Heavenly Possibilities

Alairex H.A.L.O. Price: $399 Info: Guitarist Alex Aguilar is a veteran player, former guitar-mag columnist, and today runs an effects company that recently released its first box, the Alairex H.A.L.O., an overdrive pedal designed to produce rich overdrive and multidimensional sounds. H.A.L.O. is an acronym for Harmonic Amp-Like Overdrive, and the box is two