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    John Blair Honors VG on its 30th Anniversary

    Surf-guitar legend John Blair honors Vintage Guitar on its 30th anniversary by taking a request  from publisher Alan Greenwood to hear John’s original tune, “Depth Charge.” To comply, he plugged his ’63 Strat and ’62 Fender Reverb unit into to a latter-day Deluxe Reverb. Joining John for the occasion are a ’65 Jaguar, a ’57 Strat (with a ’61 neck), an American Vintage ’57 Strat, ’67 Rickenbacker 360/12, a ’91 Rickenbacker 360/12 V64, ’70 Gibson J-50, an ’03 Gibson J-200, ’59 Jazzmaster, and several American Vintage reissue Jaguars and Stratocasters. Keep up with John at www.johnblair.us.

    Brian Setzer

    Sparking Another Rockabilly Riot

    Three decades, umpteen records, and several stellar bands into his career, and Brian Setzer still makes rockabilly sound fresh and exciting. This album has much of the verve of his debut, 1981’s Stray Cats, and his so-called “’68 Comeback Special,” Ignition. For a musician this far along in his career, that’s saying something about his


    The Vox Saturn IV

    In the mid 1960s, England’s Vox company was in the right place at the right time. Buoyed by frontline British Invasion endorsers such as the Beatles and American bands such as Paul Revere & the Raiders, the instrument/amplifier maker signed deals with almost every popular band. Even one-hit-wonders such as Music Machine (“Talk Talk”) brandished


    Elliot Easton

    Different Directions

    Lefty guitarist Elliot Easton has chosen a different route for his most recent musical venture, but its sonic direction should come as no surprise to any fan who has followed his long career. Easton Island is a collection of instrumentals that showcase the melodic sensibilities of the guitarist and his current musical associates in Elliot

    Ronnie Montrose

    Remembering Ronnie

    Phillips Finishes Guitarist’s Final Recordings

    Ricky Phillips has many fond memories of his friendship and musical association with Ronnie Montrose (1947-2012). The bassist is finishing a recording project by the late guitarist on which he had participated prior to joining Styx. Montrose and Phillips met in the early ’80s, but didn’t collaborate until 20 years later, when Montrose needed a


    The Band

    Live at the Academy of Music 1971

    The Band’s double-LP Rock of Ages was released in August 1972, their first live collection – as well as their last before they disbanded with 1978’s The Last Waltz. As phenomenal as their finale show was, guest stars and all, the earlier collection captured them at a creative peak and was a much more characteristic

    Stephen Ulrich

    Stephen Ulrich

    Film Noir Guitar

    The instrumental music of Big Lazy echoes of Hollywood soundtracks – scores from gritty detective flicks, suspenseful prison breakouts, and spaghetti Westerns. Guitarist Stephen Ulrich amps this up with an array of retro parts interweaving post-war jazz, blues, country, and rock and roll. In his hands, it all becomes guitar playing you can see as

    The Peavey ValveKing II Micro-head 20-Watt Amplifier

    The Peavey ValveKing II Micro-head 20-Watt Amplifier

    Royal Rock

    The Peavey ValveKing II Micro-head 20-Watt Amplifier Price: $429.99 Contact: www.peavey.com Famous for their sturdy build and quality overdriven sounds, Peavey’s original ValveKing amplifiers were marketed to musicians who required great plug-in-and-go tones that wouldn’t send them to the poor house. The new Peavey ValveKing II Micro-head has all the nifty tones everyone knows and

    Michael Staertow

    Michael Staertow

    Gramm Backer

    You may not recognize the name, but Michael Staertow has been playing some of classic rock’s most memorable riffs for Lou Gramm, the voice of Foreigner. Hailing from Gramm’s hometown of Rochester, New York, Staertow also performed recently with the Buffalo Philharmonic, and at the 2014 Rochester Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, sharing the


    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

    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

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    Gretsch’s “Golden” Tenors

    In the 1950s and early ’60s, the electric guitar was establishing itself as a key part of the new voice of popular music. Amplification provided its volume, and innovative artists were pushing the envelope of sound that could be offered by six strings. So it’s interesting that in a time referred to in retrospect as

    Vintage Guitar magazine Tom Feldmann demonstrates one of Lightnin’ Hopkins trademark riffs

    Lightnin’ Hopkins trademark riff

    Vintage Guitar magazine presents Tom Feldmann Lightnin’ Hopkins trademark riff Tom demonstrates one of Lightnin’ Hopkins trademark riffs on his Collings 002H, in standard tuning. The lick and progression are heard on several Hopkins tunes – it’s truly the bread and butter of Hopkins’ style in E position. Submit riff lesson requests at www.tomfeldmann.com. See more lessons,


    ZT Amplifiers’ Lunchbox Junior

    Tasty Treat

    ZT Amplifiers Lunchbox Junior Price: $149 (street) Info: www.ztamplifiers.com. ZT Amplifiers is known for producing compact amps that generate sounds which defy their size. Their latest, the 35-watt ZT Lunchbox Junior, is the pint-sized version of the ZT Lunchbox (though even the larger model is very conveniently sized). The ZT Junior is about half the weight


    Ronnie Earl

    Stratocaster Royalty

    For someone who has been a professional musician for more than 30 years, Ronnie Earl is going through a remarkable production period in his career. In just the last three years, he released his first live DVD and companion CD, 2008’s Hope Radio, followed by the CD Living in the Light in ’09 and now,

    ZT Extortion Expressive Distortion

    Mutant Distortion

    ZT Extortion Expressive Distortion Price: $269 retail, $199 street Contact: www.ztamplifiers.com ZT Amplifiers put their name on the map four years ago with the compact Lunchbox solid-state amp. Now they continue along the road less traveled with the Extortion Expressive Distortion. For a departure from tonal convention the pedal features an analog overdrive that can


    Lazy J 20

    Deluxe inspiration

    The Lazy J 20 Price: $2,700 (reviewed) Contact: www.lazyjprojects.com After moving to England and leaving behind the vintage Fender Deluxe he modified as a gigging amp, Jesse Hoff decided to build a new amplifier from scratch, using the modded Deluxe as his inspiration. After many requests from other players for one for his tweed-inspired creations,


    Cole Eclipse Pro Special

    Straight-from-the-catalog instruments are fun – and reassuring – because you know exactly what you’ve got. But there’s another kind of thrill – and satisfaction – when you find something that’s totally off the radar, something that presents a mystery to be solved, like this circa 1913 Cole’s Eclipse banjo, which sports a Washburn headstock and


    Chris Dreja

    Yardbird Recall

    Chris Dreja had a front-row seat to rock-and-roll history, playing rhythm guitar and bass in the Yardbirds behind Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. Today, Dreja still plays with the vaunted Brit-pop group, co-leading the band with original drummer Jim McCarty and cranking out ’60s anthems like “For Your Love” and “Heart Full of