For seven decades, he flexed his chops on more sessions than any living guitarist, laying down famous licks on Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” and a host of others, playing in The Tonight Show Band, exchanging ideas, and enjoying his fascinating (and funny) showbiz stories.

For decades, guitarists have lovingly referred to their solidbody guitars as “planks.” In the mid ’60s, a small builder called LaBaye upped the ante by offering a guitar truly was a plank. The La Baye 2×4 Six was a minimalist guitar offered as a cheapo, and in the ’70s found notoriety in the hands of

Roy Orbison & Friends

Black & White Night 30

The year 1987 saw Roy Orbison in the midst of a triumphant resurgence. His ’60s recording “In Dreams” was featured in the hit film Blue Velvet. He joined Dylan, George Harrison, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne in the Traveling Wilburys. And that September, he taped the Cinemax special A Black & White Night at Hollywood’s

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

Don Felder

Don Felder

Six-Stringed Summer Stock

Former Eagles guitarist Don Felder is spending the summer with a few friends. On an extended tour with Styx and Foreigner in a package billed as The Soundtrack of Summer, Felder is truly enjoying himself. “Since I left the Eagles, I’ve been doing 50 to 60 shows a year,” he said. “Multi-headliners, summer festivals, casinos,

Tom Guerra

Tom Guerra

Rock and Roll Swagger

After 15 years and four albums with Connecticut trio Mambo Sons, Tom Guerra just released his first solo album, All of the Above. The CD is a collection of hook-laden rock and roll originals that pay homage to the Beatles, the Byrds, Led Zeppelin, Rick Derringer, Mott the Hoople, and many other guitar-driven acts. It’s

Roland Space Echo

The Roland Space Echo

Perfect Slap-Back

When Brian Setzer kickstarted the Stray Cats into action in 1979, his gear lineup was a hodgepodge of orthodox rockabilly ware along with the bizarre. His ’59 Gretsch 6120 and his pomade were the real deal. But he played through a Vox AC50 Royal Guardsman because the band was first recording in England. To get

Harvey Mandel and Dennis Coffey

Snake Pit and Hot Coffey in the D
Two Instrumental Masters

If it’s possible to be both unsung and an icon, then guitarists Dennis Coffey and Harvey Mandel would fit the description. Mandel is one of those rare examples of a guitarist who’s not only immediately identifiable but whose style was almost fully formed from the moment he arrived, like Chuck Berry or Lonnie Mack. From

The Ibanez Black Eagle

Time Keeps On Slippin’

Sure, it oozes coolness. But ornate instruments are sometimes about more than aesthetics, and this one represents a turning point in the history of Japanese guitars.

Charlie Parr

A Muse From Olden Times

Charlie Parr makes new music from olden times. And he makes it the old way – not only using just the simplicity of a National resonator, a bottleneck slide, boot-stomping rhythms, and his voice, but also traveling like a modern-day Delta blues man. Instead of Robert Johnson’s Hudson Terraplane, though, Parr is driving – and


Gibson EB-2

Kalamazoo’s Biggest Bass Innovation?

In the mid 1950s, Gibson president Ted McCarty was paying close attention to two new instruments impacting the musical-instruments market – the solidbody electric guitar and the electric bass. Both had been developed by an upstart company called Fender, and Gibson’s original solidbodies, the Les Paul guitar and Electric Bass (VG, February ’06) were introduced

Taj Mahal

Labor of Love

Taj Mahal plays all sorts of folk, keyboard, and percussion instruments – and just about anything with strings. His deceptively easygoing approach to music – a trot rather than a frenzied gallop – has made for a long fruitful career. As a bandleader, he introduced us to some truly fine musicians, including guitar greats Ry

'39 Gibson EH-185

’39 Gibson EH-185

Preamp tubes: three 6J7, one 6N7 Output tubes: two 6L6 Rectifier: 5U4 Controls: Instrument Volume, Microphone Volume, Bass and Treble Speakers: one 12″ field-coil speaker Output: approximately 20 watts RMS Guitarists playing anything other than big-band jazz or Western swing tend to approach pre-rock-and-roll tube amps with reservation. We’re often fascinated, and might enjoy a

Arlington Guitar Show 2011 – Check Out The Complete Gallery Of Images From The Weekend!

VG staff was busy at this weekend’s Arlington Guitar Show (a.k.a. Guitarlington) and we’ve posted more fresh photos! Check ’em out at

SRV Behind The Scenes

Four Years In Pictures: Offstage With Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1986-1990

The life of blues-rock icon Stevie Ray Vaughan was under a microscope even before his tragic death in a helicopter accident in 1990. Four years prior, a breakdown put him in a hospital while on tour in Germany, then in drug and alcohol rehab facilities in London and Atlanta, and few celebrities were as open

The Highwaymen

American Outlaws

Country’s first supergroup emerged from a 1984 Johnny Cash Christmas special taped in Switzerland. Along with Marty Stuart, the guests were longtime Cash pals friends Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson. The concept made sense to veteran Memphis producer Chips Moman, who supervised the music for the show. The quartet soon had an album

Peekamoose Model 3

Modern Retro

There’s no shortage of cool, retro-looking solidbodies on the market today, from the big guys as well as the increasing numbers of boutique builders. Cool looks are great, but for any object to truly arouse passion, form must follow function. Built by Paul Schwartz in New York City, the Peekamoose Model 3 blends classic design

Stromberg Master 400

Stromberg Master 400

The Stromberg Master 400, measuring a gigantic 19″, is considered by many to be the ultimate orchestral rhythm guitar. The instrument of choice for Freddy Green with the Count Basie Orchestra and other players who needed the ultimate in power and projection to cut through a brass band or full orchestra without the benefit of

Kelly Mulhollan

True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley
Divine Inspiration

Arkansas farmer Ed Stilley was plowing his fields in 1979 when he was struck down by a heart attack; lying in the dirt, he had a vision that God wanted him to build guitars and give them to children around the country to make music. Once recovered, he began crafting instruments of his own design,