From the origins of country-rock to Jimmy Page, Metallica, and a slew of modern country-pickin’ wizards, the string bender lends unique sounds to any form of music by giving players an “extra hand.”

Allan Holdsworth

The Man Who Changed Guitar Forever!

With a career spanning 45 years, Allan Holdsworth’s blistering, bop-fueled legato radically altered our approach to electric guitar, and he’s now the recipient of this 12-CD retrospective (for those in the cheap seats, check out the two-CD version, Eidolon). Listen to “Checking Out” from 1982’s I.O.U. album and you already know he’s moving into new

Jonny Wickersham

Jonny Wickersham

Social D Guitarist Does ’70s Cali Rock

Best known as the Les Paul Junior-slinging guitarist stage left of Mike Ness in Social Distortion, Jonny “Two Bags” Wickersham speaks with a laid-back SoCal drawl and peppers his conversation with modest asides. The uninitiated would never suspect he has just dropped his first solo record, Salvation Town, gorgeously layered Americana abetted by California rock

Frenzel FM-DP1 Tube Preamp

Old-School Bang Without Breaking the Bank

For five decades after he built his first guitar amp in 1952, Jim Frenzel designed tube and solidstate equipment for the military, FAA, and Texas Instruments. But it wasn’t until 2001, after his retirement, that he returned to tube guitar amps. Frenzel’s philosophy is pretty straightforward; he designs and builds amps that easily dial up

Jimi Hendrix

Morning Symphony Ideas

James Marshall Hendrix is undoubtedly the greatest rock guitarist who ever lived, and Experience Hendrix LLC is now releasing a vinyl version of this original 2000 collection. The original release consisted of studio jams and home demos recorded between 1969 and ’70, and featured Buddy Miles on four tracks and Billy Cox on one. This

Fuchs Blackjack-21 II Combo

Fuchs Blackjack-21 II Combo

Hit Me!

Fuchs Blackjack-21 II Combo Price: $1,750 Info: www.fuchsaudiotechnology.com Andy Fuchs is an authority in the world of guitar amps. One of his great accomplishments has been to closely replicate and refine certain legendary boutique-amp tones. With the Blackjack-21 II, Fuchs Audio Technology makes more accessible what the company has already put within reach of boutique

The Fender Stratocaster

Aiming High

In 1953, Leo Fender started planning a new standard guitar – the Stratocaster. His partner, Don Randall, who headed Fender Sales, Inc., came up with the name before the design was even completed. Of course, the new Fender would compete with Gibson and Epiphone professional models. But Leo intended even more. He believed his continued

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Joe Satriani

Shockwave Supernova

Joe Satriani’s latest record is a concept album that bridges the gap between traditional blues guitar techniques, and the fiery yet accessible compositions that made him famous. For Satriani it’s all about lyricism and the song, but Shockwave Supernova takes things up a notch with stronger melodies, soul, and a dramatic narrative. VG dropped in

Buzz Osborne

Heavy Bass

Over the years, fans have come to expect the unexpected from the Melvins. But they just may have outdone themselves this year, with the arrival of two albums – one started nearly 20 years ago and another that features the two main Melvins, singer/guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover, joined by a host of

McElroy OM Model

OM, Gee!

McElroy OM Model Price: $7,500 (base; $8,500 as reviewed) Info: www.mcelroyguitars.com. Brent McElroy is a Seattle luthier specializing in high-quality acoustics. One of them, the OM Model from his Generation 2 series, is inspired by old-school Martins. The concert-body guitar sports a bear-claw Adirondack spruce top (so named for its wide, raked grain), Madagascar rosewood

Elvis Presley

The Albums Collection
Guitar Royalty

Should you ever forget why the King is the King, this ultimate boxed set of Elvis’ 57 albums and soundtracks, plus three CDs of rarities and outtakes, will set you straight all over again. Yes, Col. Tom Parker may have sent him off on a wild goose chase with his film career. And yes, there

The Everly Brothers

Harmonies From Heaven

If you’re weary of rock concert DVDs with critical commentary, typically unauthorized and of varying quality, this Everly Brothers retrospective is highly recommended. Authorized, with participation of Don Everly and a 2010 interview with his younger brother, the late Phil Everly, it’s an expanded version of a 2016 BBC airing, including a previously unseen 1968

National Style 3 Hawaiian

Metal-bodied guitars built by the National String Instrument Company before World War II represent a giant leap in guitar design and technology. When they debuted in 1926, they were startling in both appearance and sound; there was simply nothing else like them. Throughout the ’20s, the guitar gained popularity with rising prominence of radio artists

Vintage Guitar magazine Namm 2017

Winter NAMM 2017

Experience Winter NAMM 2017 with James Patrick Regan (1 of 42). Experience Winter NAMM 2017 with James Patrick Regan Experience Winter NAMM 2017 with James Patrick Regan Experience Winter NAMM 2017 with James Patrick Regan Tom Feldmann live demo of a new Waterloo by Collings Guitars and Mandolins. #NAMM2017 Cool happenings at the John Page

Martin 0-42

The Martin 0-42

Through the years, Martin’s dreadnought, OM, and 000 guitars may have gained the most notoriety. But for the sweetest and best-quality sound, Martin itself recommends the size 0, exemplified by this 0-42. There’s obviously a catch to that statement, since only two of Martin’s current offering of over 200 models are size-0 guitars. The recommendation

Kenny Sultan

Left-Coast Blues Machine

Kenny Sultan is a best-selling author of music books and instructional videos covering blues guitar, and is the guitarist in a blues duo with Tom Bell. As a kid, Sultan’s older brother would take him to blues clubs like L.A.’s Ash Grove before he’d even reached his teens. An accomplished photographer, the elder Sultan built

Fargen’s John Lennon Signature JL-15 and Micro Plex Vintage Guitar magazine

Fargen’s John Lennon Signature JL-15 and Micro Plex

Instant Karma?

Fargen’s John Lennon Signature JL-15 and Micro Plex Price: $2,700 (JL-15), $999 (Micro Plex) Info: www.fargenamps.com. From 50-watt monsters to 5-watt heads, Fargen Amplification is known for building amplifiers intended for working players. Two of Fargen’s more recent releases – the John Lennon Signature JL-15 combo and the Micro Plex head – may seem miles

Pretty Things, Procol Harum, David Bowie, and Various Artists

Let’s Go Down and Blow Our Minds: British Psychedelic Sounds of 1967

For all the British psych bands you do know – such as the Move and Small Faces – you’ve probably never heard of dozens more. This three-CD set brings together more than 75 fairly obscure, but joyous tracks from acid-tripping England in 1967. You’ll hear long-gone acts like the Marmalade, Peter and the Wolves, and

The Band, Robbie Robertson

The Last Waltz 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition and Testimony
The Waltz Goes On

By now the story of the Band’s epic Thanksgiving 1976 swan song is as well-known as the music itself – how the final show by the group formerly known as the Hawks snowballed to include a cavalcade of rock stars, a complicated full-blown film shoot… and turkey dinner for 5,000 concertgoers. Unless you were at