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    Greg Martin’s tribute to Big Bill Broonzy

    In tribute to Big Bill Broonzy, Greg Martin brushed up on his country-blues licks and grabbed one of his favorite parlor guitars.  “Eric Clapton and Ron Woods have cited Big Bill as a major influence, not to mention Muddy Waters, Memphis Slim, Ray Davies, John Renbourn, Rory Gallagher, Ben Taylor, and Steve Howe,” he said. Here, Greg plays a variation of Broonzy’s 1941 classic, “Key to the Highway.” Enjoy! Keep up with Greg at www.kentuckyheadhunters.net


    Peavey RJ-IV bass, serial number 04938996. Photo: Bill Ingalls Jr. Instrument courtesy of Naffaz Skota. Americans by the millions “know” Randy Jackson. But not many realize that his gig as one of three judges on TV’s “American Idol” is just the tip of the iceberg in his long musical career. The veteran bassist has played

    Ecco-Fonic

    Ecco-Fonic

    John Adomono was an American guitar hero of the Cold War years. JFK named him his favorite guitarist, and Adomono played a command performance at the White House. He performed on “The Ed Sullivan Show,” jammed with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, and Martin Denny. And at the dawn of the Space Race,

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    Analog Man BC183 Sun Face

    Here Comes the (Black Hole) Sun

    Analog Man BC183 Sun Face Price: $185 Contact: www.analogman.com Mike Piera has been building his line of stomp boxes bearing the Analog Man name since the mid ’90s. Famous for a wide assortment of pedals with a vintage vibe, Piera boasts a customer list that includes guitar aficionados like Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Doyle Bramhall II,

    Elliot Easton

    Elliot Easton

    Shifting Gears Again

    Not long after he released an instrumental album with an aggregation known as the Tiki Gods, veteran southpaw guitarist Elliot Easton abruptly put the project into stasis when an opportunity arose to make music with fellow veteran musicians. The new band is known as the Empty Hearts, and includes Wally Palmar (Romantics) on guitar and

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    La Baye 2X4

    1967, the Summer of Love. Everything still seemed possible, and anything went. No more war, racial and gender equality, Fresh Cream, the Beatles best record ever, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Phew! What a difference the next year would bring! And that applied to guitars. None more than this classic minimalist La Baye 2×4 “Six.” This

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    Budda’s Baby Budda Amp Head

    Big-Boy Tone

    Budda’s Baby Budda Amp Head Price: $1,199.99 (retail) Info: www.budda.com. Budda Amplification staked its claim in 1995 with the Twinmaster boutique amplifier. Its hand-wired construction and user-friendly tones were hits in the guitar community and led to a broader line of amplifiers that catered to modern guitarists who craved old-school touch responsive. The Baby Budda

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    Awesome Musical Instruments T3 Pickup Switch Upgrade

    Wicked Switch

    Awesome Musical Instruments T3 Pickup Switch Upgrade Price: $149.99 (black or white three-ply); $164.99 (white pearloid); $169.99 (brown tortoiseshell) Info: www.awesome-guitars.com. When Leo Fender was designing the Strat back in the early ’50s, he equipped it with a surplus three-way pickup selector. Three pickups, three choices – simple and straightforward. Players ever since have tried to

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    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

    GIBSON FIREBIRDS

    Gibson Firebirds

    Say the words “custom color” to a collector or enthusiast and most will think of “Fender.” But Gibson had its own multicolored baby – the Firebird. Born in 1963 and put to rest in ’69, the Firebird was Gibson’s third full-line attempt at the solidbody market. While it did not do as well as the

    Les Paul Remembered

    Les Paul Remembered

    When news of the passing of Les Paul spread through the guitar community August 13, reaction was swift and heartfelt. Claimed by complications of severe pneumonia at a hospital in White Plain, New York, Paul was 94. His name is synonymous with Gibson’s early solidbody electric guitars, and for a time he was one of

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    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

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    Forty Quid of Klunk

    Tales of the Harmony Bass

    Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh, Klunk! It’s not the most artful musical introduction, but it was effective. And by the time a screaming Hammond organ slides in over the pounding bass-and-drums, most listeners are hooked. The song is “Gimme Some Lovin” by the Spencer Davis Group, and the 1966 record is a showcase not only for the vocals and

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    Frank Gambale

    Soulmine

    Frank Gambale has had an amazing career playing the music he loves. From being the go-to guy for sweep-picking, and later replacing Al DiMeola in Return To Forever, Gambale drops jaws wherever he goes, and whether playing straight jazz, instrumental rock, or contemporary fusion, he plays from the heart and head. Gambale’s current project is

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    Gretsch Roots Collection: Jim Dandy Flat-top, Dixie 6 Guitar-Banjo

    Back to the Country

    Gretsch Roots Collection: Jim Dandy Flat-top, Dixie 6 Guitar-Banjo Price: $239 retail (Jim Dandy Flat Top) and $499 retail (Dixie 6 Guitar-Bajo) Contact: www.gretschguitars.com Cynics inclined to dismiss Gretsch’s Roots Collection as a crass ploy to hop aboard the current washboard-rock chuckwagon popularized by the likes of Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers will

    BB King Vintage Guitar magazine main home

    Remembering B.B. King

    Ed. Note: Everyone associated with Vintage Guitar magazine is saddened to learn of the passing of B.B. King. In 1995, Mr. King sat for an interview with VG‘s Willie G. Moseley, and we offer it here as part of our remembrance of the King of the Blues. Riley B. King was born on a cotton plantation in

    Fender Vaporizer Amp

    Fender Vaporizer Amp

    Retro on 11

    Fender’s Vaporizer Amp Price: $399.99 (street) Info: www.fender.com Given the popularity of smartphones, tablets, digital recorders, and amp modeling in today’s music industry, when it comes to guitar amps, what was once “old school” is “retro cool” and remains incredibly popular among players young and old alike. Fender’s new Vaporizer all-tube combo amp takes retro

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    Bergen Guitars ST and TL

    Messing with Perfection

    Bergen Guitars ST and TL Price: $2,195 (ST, base)/$2,595 (as tested); $1,895 (TL, base)/$2,295 (as tested) Info: www.bergenguitars.com. If your goal, as a solitary craftsman, is to improve upon two designs that are acclaimed paragons of industrial perfection, what do you do? Paul Bergeson, owner and luthier of Bergen Guitars in Lake Zurich, Illinois, began

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    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