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    Jennifer Batten salutes Jeff Beck

    With her Washburn signature model JB 100, Jennifer Batten plays a passage from “Nadia” and explains why Beck is a hero not only to her, but guitar players of all tastes and styles. He turns 72 today. Keep up with Jennifer at www.jenniferbatten.com

    In the late ’50s and early ’60s, Gibson was apparently convinced the Vari-Tone switch was the way of the future, with its instant access to six different tones. But a high proportion of players who clocked serious miles on their ES-345 and 355 guitars had the switches disabled (and the guitars rewired to mono!). As


    Nick Moss

    Musical Horizons Beyond Chicago

    Since 2007, guitarist/vocalist Nick Moss has released five albums on his Blue Bella label, including two live discs. And while Moss still loves his Chicago-style blues, his most recent effort, Here I Am, is an adventurous album. Though it begins with a raucous Windy City-type rave-up called “Why You So Mean,” by the third/title track,

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    Kustom’s The Bag

    A New Dimension in Electro-Thoracity

    When Steppenwolf’s John Kay took the stage, it was easy to believe he was performing a suitably ’60s ceremony celebrating the wine god Bacchus, thanks to what looked like a wineskin slung over his shoulder. When he put a tube running out of the bag into his mouth and appeared to be drinking deep during

    Wayne Nelson

    Wayne Nelson

    Little River Anchor

    Bassist/vocalist Wayne Nelson has decades of experience with the Little River Band and was the first American to join the band (in 1980). He’s seen numerous changes in personnel, including his own departure from 1996 to ’99. The band recently released a new album, Cuts Like A Diamond. A native of Peoria, Illinois, Nelson grew


    Reilander’s Muckbucker Pickups

    Fat, But Not Tubby

    Reilander’s Muckbucker Pickups Price: $199 (set) Info: www.reilandercustomguitar.com In the 1970s, great guitar-pickup winders began wrapping extra wire on humbuckers, touting the resultant higher output and greater low-end response. Though this approach to pickup construction makes it easier to “overdrive” certain amps, most neck pickups that were given this overwinding sounded muddy, and most such

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    Misty Lakes, Foamy Shores

    Fender Custom Colors in the 1960s

    In the 1950s, America’s fascination with the automobile was running at a fever pitch. The booming economy of the country’s post-war years pushed the car from a purpose-built means of transportation to the center of family and social life. As a result, automakers started to offer their wares in ever-better dress. Beyond plush interiors and


    Ten Years After

    Woodstock Music & Arts Festival, August, 1969

    Click Here to read the Alvin Lee obituary. In the summer of 1968, America was starting to hear about a new blues movement exploding in England, primarily in the hipster clubs of London. Riding the wave of the worldwide success of the Rolling Stones, groups with raw sound and power such as The Yardbirds, The


    Roland V-Studio 20

    The Roland V-Studio 20

    Roland V-Studio 20 Price: $300 (street) Info: www.rolandus.com. Home digital recording has come a long way in the last 20 years, to the point where top bands are cutting full albums at home. But there is still a learning curve for the uninitiated, and the software and hardware choices are dizzying. Enter Roland, whose V-Studio

    The Yamaha THR10

    Yamaha THR10

    Practice Perfection?

    Yamaha THR10 Price: $299 Contact: usa.yamaha.com. As a rule of thumb, practice amps are a compromise. Blissfully portable, they typically lack tone and features. Yet whether in a bedroom or hotel room, a practice amp should help inspire an artist by making practice more pleasure than chore. Yamaha’s THR10 is a definite step in the


    Peter Stroud and Audley Freed

    Two Guys, Many Guitars, One Big Hat

    Many a noteworthy rock and roll band from the Cotton Belt has been propelled by guitar-playin’ good ol’ boys with names that ring through music lore in (sometimes) poetic-sounding tandems – Allman and Betts, Collins and Rossington, Caldwell and McCorkle, Petty and Campbell, Hlubeck and Roland (or Holland!), Medlocke and Hargrett, Van Zant and Carlisi,

    Oddfellow Caveman Drive

    Oddfellow Caveman Drive

    Tone Evolution

    Oddfellow Caveman Drive Price: $174.99 (list) Info: www.oddfellowfx.com. Handmade in California, the Oddfellow Caveman Drive is a boutique pedal whose simple layout belies its tonal complexities. But even before hooking this stompbox into your signal chain, right off the bat, you have to dig the cardboard box in which it comes. Sure, this looks like


    The Vox Bruno TB35C2

    Yankee Doodle Tony

    When it comes iconic guitar tone – especially “British” tone – Vox and its flagship AC30 are at the top of most players’ list. After all, the Vox AC30 is one of the most widely recorded amps, used by countless artists in nearly every genre, on both sides of the pond. Vox recently partnered with

    GIBSON F-7 1934

    1934 Gibson F-7

    Prior to Gibson’s innovations, mandolins were bowl-back instruments with a lute-like back usually constructed with rosewood or maple back ribs and a bent spruce top with an oval sound hole. Earlier guitars typically had flat tops and backs, and were designed for gut strings. In 1898, he received a patent for the concept of constructing

    Hard Rock Cafe

    Guardians of Grandeur

    The Men Who Tend to the Guitars of the Hard Rock Cafe

    “A lot of people think I go in [to a sale] with an open checkbook, but that’s not the case; we’re very strategic.” – Jerry Fraize When Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett opened the first Hard Rock Cafe in London’s Mayfair district in 1971, they simply wanted to introduce American culture and cuisine – good


    Chris Isaak

    Sun Worship

    Most pop-music fans became aware of Chris Isaak through his 1991 hit “Wicked Game” and its uber-high-profile video, directed by famed photographer Herb Ritts and featuring the singer/guitarist gettin’ all From Here to Eternity with supermodel Helena Christensen. Musically, the moody track – with Calvin Wilsey’s memorable reverb-infused guitar lick – not only put Isaak


    Robben Ford

    The One and Only

    There’s never been a shortage of young guitar hotshots, but in recent years, particularly among blues players, these phenoms seem to be promoted more for their age than their playing. The early work of Robben Ford helps put all this hubbub in perspective. In 1970, when the 18-year-old guitarist/saxophonist came out of Ukiah, in Northern

    Danelectro Baby Sitar Home Feature Image

    Danelectro Baby Sitar

    Paint It Sunburst

    Legend has it that during a break in the filming of Help!, George Harrison picked up a sitar left behind by the prop men and attempted to play it. Soon after, he began taking lessons from sitar virtuoso Ravi Shankar. Then, when John Lennon brought forward the droning drop-D composition that became “Norwegian Wood (This