Bassist/vocalist Greg Lake, a force in the advent of progressive rock in the early 1970s with Emerson, Lake & Palmer (ELP), died December 7 following a battle with cancer. He was 69. Lake was originally from Dorset, England, a seaside town that also beget noted players Robert Fripp and Andy Summers. He came to international notice in

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

Ben Harper photo

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals

Call It What It Is
Magnificent Criminals

  The difference between Ben Harper and other contemporary blues-based artists is that Harper’s blues reflects the reality of his surroundings. If one chooses to use the blues as a canvas for personal artistic expression, re-packaging subject matter about trains, mojos, devils, and hellhounds are disingenuous. The late Nina Simone had this to say on

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


ValveTrain 205

Five Watts, Just So

Rick Gessner is a tweed amp enthusiast who has more than made a splash since entering the fray in 2005. His versions of tweed-era Fender classics (with subtle refinements), along with his Spring Thing reverb unit, have been making waves with players from Pat Travers to Brad Paisley. The ValveTrain 205 is Gessner’s interpretation of

Walter Trout

Walter Trout

Battling Back

In his decades of playing, Walter Trout has served as lead guitarist for John Mayall and Canned Heat, and forged a respectable solo career. But to say he’s been “living the blues” in recent times is putting it mildly. VG recently interviewed Trout, who just three months prior had undergone a liver transplant. He was

Real McCoy Custom Wah Pedals

Real McCoy Custom Wah Pedals

Crying Out Loud!

RMC3FL Prices: $255 RMC4 Picture Prices: $235 RMC8 Guitar Eqwahlyzer Prices: $269 RMC10 Prices: $235 Info: Geoffrey Teese began modding wah pedals in 1993, and eventually earned a reputation as the “Wah Guru.” A true specialist, he painstakingly studied the electronic, structural, and tonal intricacies of various wah pedals built from the ’60s on,


Jeff Golub

Unfinished Business

The route taken by Jeff Golub in making Train Keeps A Rolling is unlike that followed by any other artist. Just as his previous record, Three Kings, was released, Golub suffered the collapse of one of his optic nerves, which caused loss of sight in that eye. The condition doesn’t typically affect the sight in

R. C. Allen

R.C. Allen


R.C. Allen, a noted luthier who built archtops for local and regional players of note and was a fixture at vintage-guitar shows in Southern California, died March 2. Allen was renowned for sharing his secrets of guitar building and was the last of the original electric-guitar builders in Southern California. Known for his archtops, he


Robby Krieger

New Musical Directions

For all of his decades of noteworthy guitar work, Robby Krieger isn’t resting on his laurels. In 2002, Krieger and Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek formed Doors of the 21st Century (and they still perform as Manzarek-Krieger), but the guitarist’s newest album, Singularity, is an ambitious instrumental effort that expands on his desire to create music


Eastwood’s Airline Bighorn

Goin’ “Old-Store”

Most everyone has seen a department-store-catalog guitar (or two!) from the ’60s or ’70s. With their funky, cool body shapes and smorgasbord of knobs and switches, their looks grabbed ya’. Trouble was, they were usually plagued with cut-rate hardware and electronics, low build quality, and crude playability. The latest creation from Eastwood, the Airline Bighorn,

Epiphone Empero1965 Main

1965 Epiphone Emperor

The Epiphone Emperor has a long, convoluted history. It first appeared in Epiphone’s catalog in late 1935 as a response to Gibson’s Super 400, which was introduced in late 1934. Epiphone went one better on Gibson’s 18″-wide Super 400 by making the Emperor 18 1/2″ wide. This was the top model in the Epiphone line.

Vintage Guitar magazine Top 100 guitarists B.B. King: Heinrich Klaffs/Wikimedia Commons.

Top 100 Guitarists

30 Years, 30 Favorites

To help mark its 30th year of publication, VG asked readers to submit a list of their five favorite guitarists via written ballots and online. We tabulated the votes and here offer up the top 100 vote-getters in order of overall popularity. See the original article from the December 2016 VG issue with more on

The Gretsch G5655T-CB Electromatic Center-Block

The Gretsch G5655T-CB Electromatic Center-Block

Gettin’ Gainy

The Gretsch G5655T-CB Electromatic Center-Block Price: $1,275.00 (list); $899.00 (street) Contact: It’s no secret that hollowbodies don’t excel in high-gain situations. Gretsch’s Electromatic line of guitars use a solid-spruce center block designed to cut feedback when things get loud. The smallest of the line, the G5655T-CB shares the 1.75″ deep, double-cut body and 13.5″

Neil Giraldo Home Main

Neil Giraldo

Road Routine

The hard-driving husband-and-wife rock act that hits the stage as Pat Benatar and Neil “Spyder” Giraldo is responsible for more than a handful of stalwart classic-rock jams. For the past 15 years, Benatar and husband/guitarist/producer/co-writer Giraldo have spent many of their summers touring, then scratching their itch to perform with one-off and weekend gigs throughout


Tech 21’s Boost Series Pedals

The Way Up

Tech 21 Boost Pedals Price: $149 each, street Contact: Tech 21’s new Boost Series of fuzz, overdrive, and distortion pedals offers a compelling concept – premium effects with the ability to deliver a healthy output kick for solos or that big riff to bring it all home. The Boost Fuzz is Tech 21’s take

Butch Walker

Butch Walker

Hummingbirds and Ghosts

Butch Walker readily admits that when it comes to his life as a musician, performer, and producer, he has some decidedly “first-world problems,” like when a guitar he’d like to use on a song (or to photograph for a magazine spread!) happens to be at his Nashville studio instead of his other one, in L.A.

1978 Steinberger Prototype Bass

1978 Steinberger Prototype Bass

When introduced commercially in 1979, the Steinberger bass was a truly revolutionary instrument employing graphite construction and a minimalist artistic concept in its design. Much like Leo Fender and John D’Angelico, builder Ned Steinberger wasn’t a musician. His interest in instruments began in the mid ’70s, when he joined a woodworking co-op in Brooklyn. There,


John Hart

Exit from Brooklyn

“Unsung” is a good word to describe John Hart. He’s been part of the jazz-guitar scene for more than two decades, but rarely is he mentioned in conversations about the cream of the crop. That’s a shame, because, as his new trio record shows, he’s an amazingly inventive soloist and composer who is not afraid