KJ Audio Hanwell 50 Price: Head $1,900; cabinet $1,600 Contact: www.kjaudio.com No apologies: Minneapolis-based amp designer Kristopher Johnson’s Hanwell 50 boutique amp is built to rock. The amp was inspired by the four-input, 50-watt Marshall JMP MKII Master Volume amps of the mid ’70s, but Johnson hot-rodded this, modded that, and made his own monster

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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

The Fender Bullet Deluxe/JP-90

No Frills, Didn’t Fly

    Fender has tried more than once to market basses with a low-budget vibe. And while the idea is laudable, most of the offerings never really caught on. In the early ’80s, Fender – then owned by CBS – was on a downward slide thanks in part to quality-control issues and uninspired products. And

Ampeg R-12-R Reverberocket

1962 Ampeg R-12-R Reverberocket Preamp tubes: two 6SL7, two 6SN7 Output tubes: two 6V6, cathode-biased Rectifier: 5Y3 Controls: Volume, Tone, Dimension (reverb), Speed, and Intensity (tremolo) Speakers: Jensen Special Design C12R Output: approximately 18 watts RMS In the view of Ampeg main man Everett Hull, rock and roll was not a musical form to which

Rock Player of the Year

Jeff Beck Awarded in 2016 The eight-time Grammy winner and hot rod enthusiast embodies the philosophy of the forward-thinking guitarist, continually moving on to fresh avenues of self-expression and arresting sounds. Find all the details in the 2016 VG Readers’ Choice Awards. Warren Haynes Awarded in 2015 Warren Haynes could hold a lot of titles,

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Eliot Lewis

Growing Up With Legends

Eliot Lewis was just 10 years old when he started rubbing elbows with legendary performers, thanks to a friend’s father who was a heavyweight in the music business. “Every week, he’d take us to see acts like the Who, Alice Cooper, and Elton John,” he recalled. Earlier, though, the music of Glen Campbell prompted him

PRS Guitars’ McCarty

Ted Talkin’

In the late 1980s, Ted McCarty, the man who served as president of Gibson during the company’s “golden age,” became a special consultant to Paul Reed Smith, sharing insight on how to build superior guitars. One fruitful byproduct of this collaboration was the McCarty model guitar, which PRS Guitars introduced about 20 years ago. To

Darin and Brooke Aldridge’s Family Album

Darin and Brooke Aldridge’s Family Album

Picture Perfect

The husband-and-wife duo Darin and Brooke Aldridge are one of the hottest acts on the traditional bluegrass/Americana scene. The couple’s sixth release, Snapshots, is a musical scrapbook of contemporary bluegrass, traditional country and gospel tunes marked by spirited picking. We recently spoke to Darin about the album. What instruments did you use on Snapshots? A

The Carvin LB70

Höfner Hybrid

When a Carvin instrument has been featured in this space over the years, it was a either a doubleneck or an unusual custom instrument. And while the 1977 LB70 featured this month was a production bass, it was still unique. Carvin was founded in the mid ’40s by musician Lowell Kiesel (1915-2009). Known for its

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Louis Electric Buster

Beyond Deluxe

Louis Electric Buster Price: $1,595. Info: louisamps.com Lou Rosano has been building amps in the Fender vein for more than 17 years. His first build wound up in the hands of the late Danny Gatton, and other greats who have played through his Louis Electric amps include Keith Richards, John Fogerty, Jorma Kaukonen, and Hubert

Vox Pacemaker V-3

1965 Vox Pacemaker v-3 Preamp tubes: three Mullard ECC83 (12AX7) Output tubes: two Mullard EL84, cathode-biased, no negative feedback Rectifier: Mullard EZ81 Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass, Speed, Depth Speaker: gold 10″ Oxford “Vox Bulldog” Output: approximately 17 watts RMS No doubt the mere appearance of that Vox logo and the diamond grillecloth beneath it has

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

MICHAEL ANGELO BATIO

Michael Angelo Batio

The Fine Art of Face Melting

Michael Angelo Batio is one of the most prodigious guitarists on Earth. Since his stint with the rock band Holland in the ’80s, Batio has written his ticket with a combination of freakish talent and hard work. His current album, Intermezzo, is a note-intensive prog-metal rollercoaster that includes some similarly gifted guests like George Lynch,

Louis Electric Gattone

Louis Electric Gattone

Play The Blues

Louis Electric Gattone Price: $2,595 (list) Contact: www.louiselectricamps.com Got the blues? Have we got the amp for you. Louis Rosano has been building boutique amplifiers from his workshop in New Jersey for 20 years, his first inspired by a ’58 Fender narrow-panel tweed Twin. His version was called the Twinmaster, and one of them wound

Mosrite Basses

The Golden Decade: Ventures and Beyond

Mention the Ventures to a pop-music aficionado and the conversation will likely focus on the surf-music phenomenon of the early 1960s or – if that person also happens to be instrument-savvy – the band’s affiliation with Mosrite guitars and basses. Though the partnership lasted only a half-decade, the Ventures have been perpetually associated with Mosrite,

Shawn Starski

His Own Blues

After spending nearly a decade with harp ace Jason Ricci, guitarist Shawn Starski has stepped out with a self-titled album that establishes him as a triple threat, not simply a guitar ace. It’s a position he’s not altogether comfortable with, mostly because, prior to composing its songs, Starski had never written lyrics. “I wrote a

Peavey RJ-IV

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