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    James Patrick Regan riffs on another of his famed three-in-one musical birthday greetings.

    This time, his ESP/Edwards guitar (strung with Dunlop Super Brights) is running through a George L’s cable into a ’53 Fender Deluxe to honor Marc Bolan (who would’ve turned 69 this year) with a bit of “20th Century Boy” and “Get It On,” Marty Stuart on his 58th with a sampling of “Country Boy Rock & Roll” and “La Tingo Tango,” and finally… well, you’ll have to watch!


    Some years back, an insurance company promoted itself as “the quiet company.” While they probably wouldn’t like to hear it, in many ways that description fits Yamaha guitars. Whether you say acoustic or electric, Yamaha is almost never the first name that leaps to mind. Nevertheless, since the mid 1960s, Yamaha has been quietly turning

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    The Selmer Zodiac 50

    The Zodiac Twin Fifty

    An amp maker at the very heart of the British guitar boom of the late ’50s and early ’60s, Selmer was, for a time, the leader in the field, though it’s all too easy to forget. Briefly ahead of Vox, certainly ahead of the fledgling Marshall, this was a company that had it all to

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    Donald “Duck” Dunn

    Memphis Blues Legend

    Click Here to view Donald “Duck” Dunn Obit. In the history of popular music, the story of Memphis-based Stax Records stands as a unique, enduring legacy. Memphis was the focal point of the gritty, greasy southern soul music in the 1960s, and Stax was the label. And two bands – the Mar-Keys, and Booker T.

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    Blackstar ID:30TVP

    Tone in the Digital Domain

    Blackstar ID:30TVP Price: $399.99 Info: www.blackstarampsx.com. Since forming in 2007, Blackstar has been building user-friendly amplifiers and attracting high-profile artists like Leslie West, Neal Schon, and Gus G. The company’s ID series would seem to represent the next logical step: Blackstar’s first digital non-tube amp line. The 30-watt entry in the ID series has many

    Blackberry Smoke

    Blackberry Smoke

    Beyond Southern Musical Borders

    Comparisons between Blackberry Smoke and earlier Southern-rock bands may be inevitable, but the Atlanta-based quintet takes such observations in stride. “That’s way better than being compared to the Bay City Rollers,” wisecracked vocalist/guitarist Charlie Starr, who recently went on the record with VG along with bassist Richard Turner. “The musical freedom those bands enjoyed is

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    Johnny Winter

    Returning To His Roots

    In December, 1968, Mike Bloomfield asked Johnny Winter to perform at the Fillmore East in New York at a Super Session jam with Al Kooper. That night, Winter played B.B. King’s “It’s My Own Fault” and blew away the audience. Reps from Columbia were in attendance, and Winter was signed to the biggest advance in

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    Horses of Another Color

    1) This ’57, from batch 253xx, has the added intrigue of a gold G-cutout tailpiece in place of the Bigsby vibrato. In addition to the standard Amber Red stain on the 6120, the Bigsby was requisite on the Atkins-endorsed models. Having a 6120 that lacks both the finish and the vibrato seem to constitute heresy!

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    Cort Z44

    Single-Cut Shuffle

    Cort Z44 Price: $569 list/under $400 street Contact: cortguitars.com Just about everywhere you look these days, manufacturers are devising new spins on the single-cutaway solidbody. Cort has been a player on the import scene for decades and, with its Zenox-series Z44, shows it’s serious about being a player in the world of the single-cut. The

    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,

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    Billy Bauer

    Jazz Guitar’s Hidden Giant

    Billy Bauer’s career was so steeped in tradition that he is often thought of as one of the first jazz guitarists. And while that’s true, his pioneering, progressive attitude and contribution to the artform endured for decades. His big-band time with Woody Herman’s First Herd was a precursor to his association with jazz visionary Lennie

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    Lollar’s Gold-Foil Pickup

    After the Gold Rush

    Lollar’s Gold-Foil Pickup Price: $180 (list, each) Info: www.lollarguitars.com Gold-foil pickups are exotic beasts – just like many of the 1960s Japanese-made Teisco guitars that sport up to four of them crammed between neck and bridge. These pickups may look like the grille of a ’59 Eldorado, but Teisco aficionados will tell anyone that original

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    AXL USA Hand-Aged Bulldog

    Bark and Bite

    AXL USA Hand-Aged Bulldog Price: $699.99 (street) Contact: www.axlguitars.com Unabashedly inspired by the classic Les Paul Junior, AXL Guitars’ limited-edition USA Hand-Aged Bulldog is a single-pickup guitar with a slab mahogany body and set neck. Crucial assembly tasks are performed in AXL’s California workshop, where the Bulldog is fretted, set up, tricked out, and whipped

    Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25

    Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25

    Stage, Studio, Etc.

    Mesa/Boogie Mark Five: 25 Price: $1,299 (list) Contact: www.mesaboogie.com Housed in teensy cabinets, so-called “lunchbox” amps are all the rage, and to varying degrees do a nice job of living up to the phrase “Don’t let size fool you.” Mesa/Boogie’s entry in the category is the Mark Five: 25, a full-featured/switchable-output head weighing less than

    L-5 to Super 400

    L-5 to Super 400

    The Story of Gibson’s Big Archtops

    The archtop guitar is a uniquely American instrument which can be traced directly to the creative genius of one person – Orville Gibson. In the mid 1890s, the man who later formed the company started building guitars and mandolins with carved tops and backs, and though his creations were quite different from a modern jazz

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    Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham and Vivian Campbell

    Live and Still Dangerous!

    Thin Lizzy has cemented its place in history as one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Recognizable by its harmonized twin-guitar leads and a hard-edged sound, Lizzy inspired generations of musicians in the U.K. and around the world. The classic and most identifiable lineup paired guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson, though

    Peerless Retromatic

    Peerless Retromatic

    Modern Vintage

    Peerless Retromatic Price: $1,699 Info: www.peerlessguitars.eu While many new guitars of the last decade have touted authentic (or semi-authentic) “retro” features, the Peerless Retromatic represents an evolution in the retro-guitar revolution. That’s because in addition to its sexy design and vintage-inspired accoutrements, the Retromatic is refreshingly modern, giving its player the choice between a humbucker

    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

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    Realistic Entertainer-34

    As prolific as the Radio Shack chain was in the ’60s, it’s surprising we don’t see more vintage Realistic guitar amps today. Maybe they were never valued enough to be handed down, much less hunted down. If anything, you’re likely to have stumbled on the Carnival 34, a straightforward 1×12″ combo, but even those are