Gibson Basses in The ’70s

Plucky Trio from the “Downer Decade”

Guitar enthusiasts have long heard that the 1970s were the “downer decade” for Fender and Gibson, both of which introduced a few duds and struggled with quality control. Their travails continued until both were sold to new owners – Fender in ’85, Gibson in ’86. Exemplary of those unsuccessful instruments was a trio of solidbody

Fender Princeton feature

The Fender Princeton

1962 6G2 Fender Princeton Preamp tubes: One 7025, one 12AX7 Output tubes: two 6V6GT in fixed bias Rectifier: 5Y3 Controls: Volume, Tone, Speed, Intensity Speaker: one 10” Oxford 10J4 Output: approximately 12 watts RMS For the past couple decades the Fender Deluxe of the ’60s and early ’70s – in its several variants – held

Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack

1944-2014

Guitarist, soul singer, and songwriter Bobby Womack passed away June 27. He was 70 and had suffered from diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. Womack’s career spanned more than 50 years. His soulful essence and music had a far-reaching influence on contemporary music around the world. His expansive catalog crossed musical boundaries, ethnic groups, and left an

Majik Box Paul Gilbert Fuzz Universe Custom

“Scarifying” OD

Majik Box Paul Gilbert Fuzz Universe Custom Price: $329.99 retail Contact: www.majikboxusa.com Since Dave Simpson and Rob Nishida joined forces to form Majik Box, they’ve been the go-to stompbox company for guitarists like Doug Aldrich, Dave Navarro, James “Munky” Shaffer, and Victor Johnson. Their most popular offering is the Paul Gilbert Fuzz Universe. At Gilbert’s

Letritia Kandle

and the Magnificent Grand Letar

The story is really about two people, Kandle and Paul Warnik, a steel-guitar historian/collector who was haunted by a photo in Tom Wheeler’s American Guitars showing a young woman from decades past posed in front of a multi-neck steel guitar. Its caption reads, “Teacher Letritia Kandle poses with National’s Grand Letar Console Steel.” Though he

1963 Fender Twin Reverb Prototype

1963 Fender Twin Reverb Prototype

The Twin has long been the flagship of Fender’s high-wattage amp lineup, and it achieved/retained that status through several iterations in the company’s formative years. In the October issue, we studied a rare early-’54 “wide-panel” tweed Twin from the era of sub-50-watt amps. After the bump up to 80-plus watts, then a brief pit stop

3rd Power Dream Weaver

Tone Cubed

3rd Power Dream Weaver Price: $3.299 Info: www.3rdpower.com. Purchasing a new amp is much more than buying a piece of gear – think of it as hiring out a job. In most cases, you hope this new employee will help you sound great, cover the required tonal bases, prove reliable, and have the right amount

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Mick Mars

Shows Off A Piece Of His Action

Since emerging from Hollywood’s Sunset Strip in the early 1980s, Mötley Crue has defined the Los Angeles metal scene. Fueled by the catchy powerhouse riffage of guitarist Mick Mars, the group dominated the rock charts throughout the ’80s, producing a stream of anthemic albums and hits that have echoed through the decades. Crüe soldiered through

Toronzo Cannon

Blues The Chicago Way

“I’m not trying to be a starving artist at 48 years old,” says blues man Toronzo Cannon when asked if he’d consider playing blues full-time. A bus driver for the Chicago Transit Authority by day, as a guitarist he headlines local blues clubs, plays festivals, and goes on frequent tours to Europe. He recently signed

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The Guild and Gibson Johnny Smith Models

The name “Johnny Smith” is synonymous with class, elegance, and style. Most guitar players are familiar, if not with the man or his music, certainly with the guitars that bear his name. The instruments reflect Smith’s unique approach to playing and jazz guitar, in particular – ultra-smooth and restrained, yet sophisticated. From the Gretsch Synchromatic

E.W.S. Little Fuzzy Drive

E.W.S. Little Fuzzy Drive

Tiny Footprint, Huge Sound

E.W.S. Little Fuzzy Drive Price: $160 (list); $130 (street) Info: www.ews-us.com. At 1.5″ x 3.5″, the E.W.S. Little Fuzzy Drive looks fun and toy-like, but, when plugged in, thoughts of cuteness disappear. Designed to use half the space on a pedalboard, the Little Fuzzy Drive (LFD) is sturdy despite is size, and is capable of

Chordal Colorations

Iconic Axes of Different Hues

Though their colors are complementary, Brian May’s Red Special and Brian Setzer’s ’59 Gretsch 6120 couldn’t be more different in terms of their origin or their roles in helping to create legendary music. One is home-made, the other represents the innovation of its era. One appeared on stages worldwide, rendering purist tones of a bygone

The Mavericks

Brand New Day

Since reforming five years ago, the Mavericks have released two studio albums and 2016’s All Night Live, Vol. 1. And again here, the core quartet of vocalist-guitarist Raul Malo, guitarist Eddie Perez, keyboard player Jerry Dale McFadden, and drummer Paul Deakin are augmented by added musicians. Malo’s original tunes remain powerful and eclectic, beginning with

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Mu-FX Octave Divider

The Mu Is Back

This is rocket science. Or at least as close as a stompbox gets. Sure, building a pedal that tweaks a guitar’s signal around and about isn’t exactly putting a man on the moon. But then, when an effects mastermind like Mike Beigel launches a new box, it’s almost guaranteed to propel your sound into the

Fender Precision Bass

The “Final” Configuration

The Fender Precision Bass was the first commercially successful solidbody electric bass. Played somewhat like a guitar and sporting a fretted neck, the “P-Bass” won over players in almost every genre who previously had to contend with the cumbersome upright bass. In its original configuration, the instrument, introduced in 1952, had a maple neck with

Seth Walker

Gotta Get Back

Seth Walker has issued a string of fine records that come together in his latest. Walker and Dave Gross man the six-strings on a collection of strong cuts, and while the approach offers plenty for guitar-music fans, it’s subtle. Electric licks are prominent on the funky “Fire In The Belly” and the funky New Orleans

Revisiting The Jazzmaster

While volumes have been written about its more-famous sibling, the Stratocaster, surprisingly little attention is paid to the Jazzmaster – Fender’s top-of-the-line guitar when it was introduced in 1958. Then, again, maybe it’s not so surprising… Out of the gate, the Jazzmaster was ill-conceived by Leo Fender and his design crew. As evidenced by its

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: www.gretschguitars.com 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″