Already busy touring and recording with Deep Purple, axe virtuoso Steve Morse has added another dish to the menu – Flying Colors. Featuring well-known aces like drummer Mike Portnoy and keyboardist/singer Neal Morse (no relation), this quintet straddles the line between rock, prog, and pop with extraordinarily melodic songs. With the release of its second

BC Audio Amplifier No. 10 Mk. II

BC Audio Amplifier No. 10 Mk. II

Big-Tone City

BC Audio Amplifier No. 10 Mk. II Price: $2,495 (list) Contact: www.bcaudio.com Bruce Clement is known for his quality amp work, including models housed in military ammo cans. One of his 50-watt heads, the Amplifier No. 10 Mk. II, might not be quite that unique, but it sports fresh features in a crowded “boutique” market.

Jim Marshall

Father of the Mighty Marshall Stack

When it comes to guitar amplifiers, two names stand tall beyond the others: Leo Fender and Jim Marshall. Even “civilians” recognize these names. Two names, from two different countries, with two very individual sounds. Although Marshall’s original amplifier designs were largely influenced by Fender’s original Bassman, the resulting amplifier later took on a whole new

Steve Wariner

The C.G.P. Connection Willie G. Moseley

Steve Wariner is among the handful of guitarists designated as a certified guitar player (C.G.P.) by Chet Atkins. The last guitarist to receive the personal honor, Wariner served a pallbearer at Atkins’ funeral in 2001. He also performed at the service. In the dozen years since the release of No More Mr. Nice Guy, Wariner

Popa Chubby

Head, Heart, and Hands

Popa Chubby is back on the road again, preaching the gospel to blues fans around the world. His new album, Universal Breakdown Blues, is a rollercoaster through the many facets of blues and rock. His stamp on tradition brings new life to the genre with a combination of tongue-in-cheek humor and mean guitar. Chubby plays

Nate Bergman

Skankin’ With Lionize

The members of Lionize blend heavy rock with reggae to create infectious tunes… kind of like if the guys in Deep Purple were Rastafarians wrapped in trippy sci-fi imagery. Nate Bergman is the SG-wielding architect of the group, and recently shared the strategy on the band’s latest album. You guys worked hard on Jetpack Soundtrack.

Chris Poland

Metal Fusion Equinox

Chris Poland’s signature legato was born from tragedy. As a teen, his left hand accidentally punched through a plate-glass window and cut tendons in his fingers. He lost the ability to bend his index finger, and lost feeling in his pinkie. As a result, he learned unique fretting techniques that set the bar for inventive

Mick Abrahams

This Was (And Still Is…)

British guitarist Mick Abrahams is best remembered for his work on Jethro Tull’s first album, This Was, followed by a stint as the founder/leader of Blodwyn Pig. Abrahams has stayed active in the ensuing decades with numerous solo albums and other projects. However, after recuperating from health issues, Abrahams, now 72, was motivated to record

Redplate Amps’ BluesMachine66

Redplate Amps’ BluesMachine66

Welcome to the Machine

Redplate Amps’ BluesMachine66 Price: $2,799 (list) Contact: www.redplateamps.com Redplate builds boutique amplifiers with point-to-point wiring and meticulous hands-on attention to detail. Their BluesMachine66 1×12 was created for the discerning guitarist with a predilection for British flavors. Its 12AX7 preamp tubes run at 50 watts using KT66 power tubes. The BluesMachine66 has knobs and switches galore,

Vic Johnson

At Your Service

Music fans might remember Vic Johnson as the wickedly eclectic guitarist from the ’80s band The Busboys; it thrived in heavy rotation in the early days of MTV, appeared in the Eddie Murphy blockbuster 48 Hrs., and enjoyed a hit album with Minimum Wage Rock & Roll. In the years since, Johnson made his mark

Alvin Youngblood Hart

Alvin Youngblood Hart

Electric Gutbucket

Alvin Youngblood Hart surfs the musical landscape of blues-based music to make his own great art. His influences range from Howlin’ Wolf, Link Wray, Thin Lizzy, and Skip James, to Sly & The Family Stone. He has received five W.C. Handy Blues Award nominations and won Best New Artist. He’s also the recipient of two

Earthquaker Devices Sea Machine

Earthquaker Devices Sea Machine

Chorus of Praise

Earthquaker Devices Sea Machine Price: $215 Contact: www.earthquakerdevices.com Known primarily for its monstrous distortion and fuzz units, the folks at Earthquaker Devices have decided to tackle what has often been lamented as the wimpiest of effects – the chorus pedal. Their take on the effect, the Sea Machine, is certainly a challenge to the notion

Moniker Dixie Solid

Click to Customize

Moniker Dixie Solid Price: $849 (base) Info: www.monikerguitars.com. Moniker Guitars recently launched a line of customizable electric guitars that players design using an online configurator. Customizing a Moniker begins with selecting among three body types: the LP-style Reedsdale, Tele-style Dixie, or Jaguar-style Zuma (all in alder and available as semi or solid). From there, options

Gretsch’s ’55 Falcon G6136-55

Gretsch’s ’55 Falcon G6136-55

Look at that “Cadillac”

Gretsch’s 1955 White Falcon was the pink Cadillac of guitars – quite possibly the most outlandish guitar ever produced. The latest Vintage Select Edition Falcon is all that and more. Unveiled at the 1954 NAMM show, the White Falcon was billed as “The Guitar of the Future.” Indeed, it was a dream instrument even then;

Tony MacAlpine

Post-Modern Neo-Classical

If you’re going to play neo-classical guitar, nothing beats having a conservatory education. Guitarist Tony MacAlpine has that and is partially responsible for the neo-classical shred boom of the 1980s. But don’t hold that against him. While guitarists have imitated his style, MacAlpine raises the bar by challenging his own abilities and compositional vision. His

Mark Knopfler

Straitforward

Very early in life, Mark Knopfler had a connection with music. His mother cared for the family while BBC programs like “Listen with Mother” played on the radio with its child-oriented stories, songs, and nursery rhymes. But it was an uncle named Kingsley who had the biggest impact on young Mark’s informal music education when

Taylor Baritone-8

Crazy Eight

The Taylor Baritone-8 Price: $3,998 list; $3,200 street Info: www.taylorguitars.com Some guitarists are happy with conventional guitars and basses. Others, however, feel the urge to explore other sonic ranges. In recent years, several new configurations have made their way to the market; five- and six-string basses; extended-range harp and “touch” guitars; and seven- and eight-string

Joanna Connor

Joanna Connor

Going Viral

Her overnight success was decades in the making, but a video gone viral of a jaw-dropping slide guitar performance at the 2014 North Atlantic Blues Festival has helped bring Joanna Connor to the world. With nearly a half a million views, the performance displays scholarly blues virtuosity and crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics. In recent years, she has