Kramer 84/Pacer Vintage Price: $1,166 (84); $1,267 (Pacer Vintage) Info: It’s hard to think of ’80s guitars as vintage, but since all things get older, the guitars of the shred generation have indeed acquired a certain patina. And of the many wild guitars of that epoch, arguably no other manufacturer exemplified the decade more

Saint Blues

St. Blues Bluesmaster, Blindsider, and Delta Blues Box

Straight from the Delta

Saint Blues Bluesmaster/Blindsider Price: $2,399 (Bluesmaster); $2,550 (Blindsider) Info: St. Blues’ history stretches back to the days when its founders customized guitars for the likes of Jimmy Page, Billy Gibbons, and Duane Allman as their tours passed through Memphis. Today the company has a storefront just a few yards from the legendary Sun Studio,

Valco El Grande

Valco El Grande

Preamp tube: one 6SL7 Output tube: one 6V6GT Rectifier: 5Y3 Controls: Volume, Tone Speaker: 8″ Rola speaker Output: 5 watts RMS We dig old Valco-made amps wearing Supro, National, Airline, Oahu, Bronson and other badges for the way they deliver a sweetly burnished, chocolatey overdrive at studio-friendly levels when you inject a six-string electric and

Ray Cummins

Pal of Chet, Friend of Les

Chester and Lester were enamored of his talent. Moreover, they called Ray Cummins a friend, and his journey includes turning adversity into a career as one of the country’s more-respected guitar soloists. Though a modest guy, Cummins would have every right to boast of his amazing credentials. For starters, he’s enjoyed headline status at the

Gibson J-35

Gibson J-35

Dreadnought guitars originated as early as 1916 with instruments made by Martin and distributed by Ditson, followed in 1931 with guitars sold by Martin under its own brand. The first Martin dreadnoughts were 12-fret slot-heads with an extended slope-shouldered body; in early ’34, the company introduced a square-shouldered dread with a 14-fret neck. Gibson entered

1978 Gibson RD Artist

Throughout most of the 1970s, Les Pauls ruled the guitar roost. But toward the end of the decade, some players became interested in more-sophisticated electronics, especially active circuitry. Suddenly, souped-up guitars by Alembic, B.C. Rich, Ibanez, and Aria Pro II surged in popularity. This new trend did not take Gibson by surprise, and the challenge was

Booker White’s 1933 National Duolian

Hard Traveled

“Hard Rock.” That’s the name used by Mississippi blues man Booker White to christen his 1933 National Duolian. And Hard Rock was a hard-traveled guitar – much like White himself. Booker Talifiero Washington White had many a nickname too, a testament to his years as a cotton picker, mule driver, hobo, Negro League shortstop/pitcher, boxer,

Colby Dual Tone Booster 50

Double Versatile

Colby DTB50 Price: $3,800 (head); $750 (cabinet) Contact: From 1978 through 2010, Mitch Colby helped Marshall become a preeminent name in amplifiers. He recently founded Colby Amplification, where he builds amps by hand, one at a time, and his first model, the Dual Tone Booster (dtb), was built in collaboration with Jim Weider, best

Moniker Dixie Solid

Click to Customize

Moniker Dixie Solid Price: $849 (base) Info: Moniker Guitars recently launched a line of customizable electric guitars that players design using an online configurator. Customizing a Moniker begins with selecting among three body types: the LP-style Reedsdale, Tele-style Dixie, or Jaguar-style Zuma (all in alder and available as semi or solid). From there, options

Billy Gibbons Goes Solo

Rev Rock

“BFG ain’t anybody ’cept BFG,” proclaims ZZ Top co-founder/front man/face Billy Gibbons, discussing his first solo album, Perfectamundo. “What is heard is heard, just like that.” Such idiosyncratic turns of phrase flow readily from Gibbons while discussing the effort, which came about following an invitation to perform at the Havana Jazz Festival. The idea sent Gibbons

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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

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

Jerry Douglas

Slide Ruler - Jerry Douglas’ Love Affair with the Dobro

You know, it’s the coolest-looking instrument that ever was made!” It should come as no surprise that Jerry Douglas is speaking about the Dobro and the various other resonator-equipped guitars in orbit around the Dopyera brothers’ creation. As probably the world’s most famous dobroist – and certainly the most recorded – he knows a thing

Spacey T

Spacey T

Eclectic Journeyman

Tracey Singleton, better known as Spacey T, is a post-Hendrix guitar wizard with an eclectic soul and chops to match. In the 1980s, he and his group, Sound Barrier, held the distinction of being the first all-African-American metal band to sign with a major label. He has also cast his spell in several ground-breaking bands.

Paul Gilbert

All About Vintage - Import Style

Paul Gilbert was a teenager when he appeared on the music industry’s radar after Mike Varney of Shrapnel Records introduced him in Guitar Player magazine’s “Spotlight” column. After attending Hollywood’s Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT), Gilbert unveiled Racer X to the mid-’80s shred generation and made his mark as a top player in the genre.

Fano Alt de Facto RB6

Classic That Never Was

Fano Alt de Facto RB6 Price: $2,495 Info: In recent years, a trend in the guitar realm has been to re-create the magic of vintage-style instruments. This has ranged from player-modded updates of classics to manufacturers painstakingly attempting to age/“relic” guitars. Dennis Fano uses both approaches in his Alt de Facto line of guitars,

Chris Dreja

Yardbird Recall

Chris Dreja had a front-row seat to rock-and-roll history, playing rhythm guitar and bass in the Yardbirds behind Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. Today, Dreja still plays with the vaunted Brit-pop group, co-leading the band with original drummer Jim McCarty and cranking out ’60s anthems like “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of

Joanna Connor

Joanna Connor

Going Viral

Her overnight success was decades in the making, but a video gone viral of a jaw-dropping slide guitar performance at the 2014 North Atlantic Blues Festival has helped bring Joanna Connor to the world. With nearly a half a million views, the performance displays scholarly blues virtuosity and crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics. In recent years, she has