The DoleSonic Vintage 108 Woody

Not Your Dad’s Boutique Amp

The guitarist’s greatest quests is most often that of the tone that resides within their heads. That quest drove guitarist Ken Doles to design his own amplifier. The tone in his head was a mix of vintage sound with new ideas, and the result is the DoleSonic Vintage 108. A hand-wired, Class A combo in

Adrian Legg

Adrian Legg

The Wizard of Strings

Aside from witty asides on social issues, natural disasters, and Renaissance history, Adrian Legg’s formidable fingerstyle and deep musicality remain his calling card. His latest album, Dead Bankers, continues the bedazzlement. On “Marco’s Bounce,” you put a piece of foam under the strings to create a percussive effect. I owe the foam trick to [Brazilian

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Traynor YBA-2 Bass Mate

Canadian amp maker Traynor gets a lot of respect in some circles for turning out solid, good-sounding tube amps that are built with quality components and, in many cases, can easily be modified toward a sonic condition more substantial than when they left the factory. It’s also frequently noted that they “blend British and American

GIBSON F-7 1934

1934 Gibson F-7

Prior to Gibson’s innovations, mandolins were bowl-back instruments with a lute-like back usually constructed with rosewood or maple back ribs and a bent spruce top with an oval sound hole. Earlier guitars typically had flat tops and backs, and were designed for gut strings. In 1898, he received a patent for the concept of constructing

Peekamoose Model 3

Modern Retro

There’s no shortage of cool, retro-looking solidbodies on the market today, from the big guys as well as the increasing numbers of boutique builders. Cool looks are great, but for any object to truly arouse passion, form must follow function. Built by Paul Schwartz in New York City, the Peekamoose Model 3 blends classic design

Nioma Guitars

Rarities from a West Coast Music School

NIOMA musical instruments from the 1930s and ’40s – with their vaguely Hawaiian-looking name – have mystified vintage-guitar enthusiasts over the decades when they’ve occasionally surfaced in retail shops and guitar shows. The seven known models – three acoustic guitars, two dobro-like resophonics, and two electric lap steels – were oriented to those who made

Gretsch 6134 White Penguin

1958 Gretsch 6134 White Penguin, serial number 26389. Photo courtesy Gruhn Guitars. There’s no doubt the White Penguin is one of the rarest Gretsch instruments. It is estimated that no more than a few dozen were made from the introduction of the model in 1955 through 1964, when it was discontinued, though exact production totals

Mike Keneally

Mike Keneally

Gainfully Employed

Mike Keneally has made a career of inconspicuously assisting Frank Zappa, Andy Partridge, Steve Vai, Dethklok, and Joe Satriani fulfill their musical vision. But, there is another side to this multi-instrumentalist and sideman. Besides pulling triple-duty as a keyboardist, guitarist, and producer, Keneally is a prolific composer. He is compiling a catalog of music from

DoleSonic Half Back Stack

Tone Meets Crafts-manship

Shaw Audio Bass 130 Price: $1,350 Contact: www.tremcaster.com, phone: (330) 608-2043 In a day where gear companies often focus on utilitarian products, it’s nice when high-end craftsmanship rears its head. Ken Doles and the crew at DoleSonic Amplifiers are a good example with their latest offering, the Half Back Stack. A Class-A/10-watt offering, the amp

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Gibson EB-2

Kalamazoo’s Biggest Bass Innovation?

In the mid 1950s, Gibson president Ted McCarty was paying close attention to two new instruments impacting the musical-instruments market – the solidbody electric guitar and the electric bass. Both had been developed by an upstart company called Fender, and Gibson’s original solidbodies, the Les Paul guitar and Electric Bass (VG, February ’06) were introduced

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,

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

Tom Keifer

Thick and Thin

Tom Keifer is a tad young to be on the (very) long list of musicians inspired first and foremost by the Beatles’ “arrival” in the U.S. in 1964. But he’s not too young to inspired by a TV show inspired by the Fab Four. Keifer’s earliest musical memories were born as he plopped in front

Martin OM-18P Plectrum Guitar

Martin OM-18P Plectrum Guitar

While the most commonly played and collected Martin guitars have a six-string neck, the company has also made a number of historically noteworthy four-strings. Beginning in the 1920s and carrying into the ’60s, it produced several tenor guitars. In the ’30s, it offered plectrum guitars in an era when tenor banjos and guitars were far

Walter Trout

Walter Trout

Battling Back

In his decades of playing, Walter Trout has served as lead guitarist for John Mayall and Canned Heat, and forged a respectable solo career. But to say he’s been “living the blues” in recent times is putting it mildly. VG recently interviewed Trout, who just three months prior had undergone a liver transplant. He was

The Guild Starfire Bass

In the mid ’60s, Guild took its knocks for making guitars that looked “inspired by” Gibson models. Fans of the brand think the sterotype is unfair, of course, and certainly, many Guilds from the era have their own intrigue. One very good example is the Starfire Bass. Guild was founded by musical-instrument importer/distributor Al Dronge

Warren Haynes

G-Mule Shout!

Gov’t Mule’s blues-based rock has never followed a formula, opting instead for an improvisational modus operandi that gives its music unique breadth and scope – a fact supremely illustrated in its new album, Shout! An 11-song outing and the band’s first studio album in four years, the double disc – recorded at bassist Jorgen Carlsson’s

Bill Pitman

Bill Pitman

The Man From Wrecking Crew

On a recent episode of his TV talk show, David Letterman mentioned to guest Cher that he’d just seen the new documentary, The Wrecking Crew, which chronicles the coterie of L.A. studio musicians that helped create many of her records and hundreds of other hits for more than three decades. She immediately responded by naming