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When introduced commercially in 1979, the Steinberger bass was a truly revolutionary instrument employing graphite construction and a minimalist artistic concept in its design. Much like Leo Fender and John D’Angelico, builder Ned Steinberger wasn’t a musician. His interest in instruments began in the mid ’70s, when he joined a woodworking co-op in Brooklyn. There,

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Joe Bonamassa

Driving

Joe Bonamassa’s latest record, Driving Towards The Daylight, is a return to the blues. After two successful studio albums with the heavy-rock band Black Country Communion, Bonamassa’s latest solo effort explores some of his early influences. While covering Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, and Willie Dixon, he got help from heavyweight guitarists including Brad Whitford, Pat

Bill Nelson

Still Deluxe

Most people remember Bill Nelson as the front man/guitar hero in the English band Be Bop Deluxe. Since folding that outfit 35 years ago, he has led a fertile solo career, releasing dozens of solo albums ranging from guitar rock to pop electronica. His latest, Blip!, showcases his hot playing with lush pop. Who were

Martin’s “12-Fret” 000-42

Martin has never been a stranger to producing certain guitars in very limited quantities. But just how rare is the 12-frets-to-the-body 000-42? It has long been held that Martin has done a yeoman’s job of tracking its production through the years (few manufacturers have been so meticulous, especially going back so far), but it has

Carr Skylark

The Carr Skylark

Desert-Island Amp

The Carr Skylark Price: $2,390 (list) Contact: www.carramps.com If you could own only a single guitar amp – horror of horrors! – Steve Carr’s new Skylark just might be the one. When it comes to building modern boutique amps inspired by classic vintage designs, few people have the mojo like Carr. He founded his concern

Fender’s First Reissues

The CBS Era Concludes in Style

By the late 1970s, cumulative changes in the details of the various classic guitar models on the market – Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster, and Gibson’s Les Paul – were so numerous that the instruments barely resembled their original versions. Serious electric guitar players and collectors clamored for reissues of the original instruments. But both manufacturers,

Movie Star, Rancher

Mid-’50s Muse of Wire and Wood

In the years immediately after World War II, Americans were settling into a new way of life, and plunging headlong toward an economic prosperity never before experienced by everyday people. Change was also afoot among the nation’s guitar manufacturers. Having been restricted by materials shortages and/or re-tooling to bolster the war effort, guitar makers like

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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

The Fender Showman

The Showman

In addition to several significant shifts in style and presentation, for Fender, the transition of the late 1950s into the early ’60s represented a more concerted push into big-amp territory. Having introduced the 80-watt “high-powered” tweed 5F8 Twin (VG, March ’09) in ’58, this rapidly expanding Fullerton manufacturer sought another model to help take it

Ethan Brosh

Ethan Brosh

Living The Dream

In case you were wondering, shred is not dead, and Ethan Brosh is determined to keep it that way. The Israeli-born Berklee grad is a young man with an old soul whose style harkens to the early musical fury of Tony MacAlpine and Vinnie Moore. His second album is called Live The Dream, and Brosh

Stanley Clarke

Stanley Clarke

Godfather of Bass

Despite being widely credited for pushing the electric bass past its status as a rear-of-the-stage device intended to simply help drummers provide rhythmic backing, and in turn influencing two generations of players, Stanley Clarke remains deferential and unassuming. In the decade and a half before his arrival on the music scene in Philadelphia, the bass

The Pigtronix Envelope Phaser 2

Sophisti-Phaser

Pigtronix Envelope Phaser II Price: $249 (street). Contact: Phone (631) 331-7447; Pigtronix.com. Pigtronix effects are known not only for their tones, but their sophistication. So it’s no surpise that the Envelope Phaser II has a potentially daunting array of control knobs and switches, some with familiar names (Sensitivity, Depth, Speed), others less common (Resonance, Staccato,

DigiTech iStomp

Morph For Less

DigiTech iStomp Price: $149.95 Info: www.digitech.com/istomp If you’re the type of gearhead who turns heel and runs from DSP effects, let alone any equipment with a lower-case “i” in front of its name, set your preconceptions aside and dig into the DigiTech iStomp – a hardware stompbox that can be instantly reconfigured into the pedal

Echopark Ghetto Bird

Sweet Emotion

Echopark Ghetto Bird Price: $6,800 (as reviewed) Contact: www.echoparkguitars.com You know you’re holding something special when the guy who previously borrowed your review guitar was none other than Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, who apparently used this very Echopark Ghetto Bird – officially called Ancient Sinker Redwood Case Study #002 – for some recent recording work.

Paul Nelson

Main Man to the Blues Man

Paul Nelson is not only Johnny Winter’s second guitarist, but the blues icon’s musical director, producer, songwriter, and – many say – life saver. Fans who have recently seen Winter will attest to Nelson’s guitar prowess and ability to complement Winter. The resulting fireworks provide some of the best shows of Winter’s long career. The

Retro Guitar MelodyBurner

Retro Guitar MelodyBurner

Bite and Bark

Retro Guitar MelodyBurner Price: $999 (options available) Info: www.melodyburner.com In the realm of hot-rodded cars, there’s a cool genre known as rat rods – old, relic’d automobiles that sport a lowdown vintage vibe. Meet the rat axe. Retro Guitar’s MelodyBurner is a similarly cool guitar that also bites as loud as it barks. This Junior-styled

Gibson’s Experimental Archtop

Orville Gibson invented the carved-top guitar in the 1890s. The Gibson company refined the design with the addition of f-holes in 1922, and brought the concept to full potential in the mid ’30s with larger-bodied archtops. • While Gibson inarguably blazed the trail in the industry when it came to archtop design, that trail had

ValveTrain 205

Five Watts, Just So

Rick Gessner is a tweed amp enthusiast who has more than made a splash since entering the fray in 2005. His versions of tweed-era Fender classics (with subtle refinements), along with his Spring Thing reverb unit, have been making waves with players from Pat Travers to Brad Paisley. The ValveTrain 205 is Gessner’s interpretation of