Chordal Colorations

Iconic Axes of Different Hues

Though their colors are complementary, Brian May’s Red Special and Brian Setzer’s ’59 Gretsch 6120 couldn’t be more different in terms of their origin or their roles in helping to create legendary music. One is home-made, the other represents the innovation of its era. One appeared on stages worldwide, rendering purist tones of a bygone

Ray Benson

Ray Benson

Where There’s a Wills, There’s a Wheel

Asleep At the Wheel’s latest album is the band’s third tribute to Bob Wills. Long-time leader Ray Benson recently talked about it with Vintage Guitar. How did Still the King get rolling? I was getting ready to do another album and had some ideas when my son, who produces records with me, said, “No, you’ve

Dan Fogelberg’s Gretsch White Penguin

Dan Fogelberg’s success as a singer and songwriter far overshadows his reputation as a musician, but the man whose tenor voice and sentimental songs ruled the Adult Contemporary charts in the early 1980s was actually quite an accomplished guitarist. Evidence is on The Innocent Age and Windows and Walls – the albums that yielded his

PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow

Multi-Functional Gem

While most guitarists are familiar with PRS (and some dream every day of adding one of the company’s Private Stock axes to their collection), the company’s import SE line typically gets much less play in the git-tar press. Developed at the request of Carlos Santana so beginners and “weekend warriors” could experience playing a PRS

GIFFIN VITKA

Giffin Vikta

Feelin’ Special

Giffin Vikta Price: $2,295 Contact: premierbuildersguild.com. Roger Giffin is a guitarmaker to the stars, having built for Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle, Mark Knopfler, Andy Summers, David Gilmour, and many others. He also ran the Gibson Custom Shop in California for many years before striking out on his own. Now producing his own

Carl Bradychok

Carl Bradychok

Rockabilly’s Newest Guitar Wizard

Carl Bradychok’s instrument and genre of choice seemed destined from day one. “There are pictures my parents took of me as a baby, sitting in front of the TV watching ‘Carl Perkins and Friends,’ from ’85 – ‘The Rockabilly Session.’” Born in 1991, he got his first guitar at seven and was playing professionally at

Big Knob Pedals

Big Knob Pedals

What’s in a Name?

Big Knob Pedals Price: Tube 808, $139; Echo Flex, $149; Vibe Tone, $159; Octavius, $129 (all list) Contact: www.bigknobpedals.com Gary Kibler started making pedals almost by accident. Originally from Los Angeles, Kibler moved to London when his wife was offered a terrific job. With a background in IT at Sony Studios, Kibler found work at

Mu-FX Tru-Tron 3X

Get Tha Funk Out

The Mu-FX Tru-Tron 3X Price: $369.63 Contact: www.mu-fx.com. Think funk. Think Bootsy Collins’ wacked-out Parliament Funkadelic Space Bass lines. Think Stevie Wonder’s wah’d Clavinet on his ’73 hit “Higher Ground.” Think Mu-Tron III. The secret mastermind behind that sound was engineer Mike Beigel, creator of the original Musitronics Corporation Mu-Tron. When that pedal hit the

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,

Vintage Guitar magazine Top 100 guitarists B.B. King: Heinrich Klaffs/Wikimedia Commons.

Top 100 Guitarists

30 Years, 30 Favorites

To help mark its 30th year of publication, VG asked readers to submit a list of their five favorite guitarists via written ballots and online. We tabulated the votes and here offer up the top 100 vote-getters in order of overall popularity. See the original article from the December 2016 VG issue with more on

'39 Gibson EH-185

’39 Gibson EH-185

Preamp tubes: three 6J7, one 6N7 Output tubes: two 6L6 Rectifier: 5U4 Controls: Instrument Volume, Microphone Volume, Bass and Treble Speakers: one 12″ field-coil speaker Output: approximately 20 watts RMS Guitarists playing anything other than big-band jazz or Western swing tend to approach pre-rock-and-roll tube amps with reservation. We’re often fascinated, and might enjoy a

Richie Kotzen

Goin’ Supergroup

Veteran guitar monster Richie Kotzen has done it all from opening for The Rolling Stones, recording with Stanley Clarke, to coming to the rescue for Poison and Mr. Big. Having recorded a stack of solo albums, he now joins former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan, to form The Winery

’68 Truetone by Kay/Valco

The year 1968 was not a good one for American manu­facturers of stringed instruments. M.C.A. closed the original Danelectro, and what was left of Kay and Valco was locked in a tailspin. Valco bought the remnants of Kay in ’67, and attempted to combine the brand with their own products, but to no avail. This

Eliza Gilkyson

Not Your Typical Folkie

“My dad was my biggest influence, especially melodically. He loved dark melodies,” says Eliza Gilkyson of her father, the late Terry Gilkyson. As the title of her latest CD hints, The Nocturne Diaries mostly habitates the darker side. Her dad sang with the Weavers in the Folk Boom and co-wrote the Dean Martin hit “Memories

Rybski Cougar

Wild Cat

Rybiski Cougar Price: $3,850 Info: www.rybskiguitars.com. Before moving to the United States, Rybski founder Slawomir Waclawik repaired and built upright basses and violins for top jazz and fusion players in his native Poland. With newfound digs in the States came a newfound focus on crafting cutting-edge basses and guitars alongside builder Benjamin Harrison. Though the

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

Steve Kimock

Last Danger Of Frost

There comes a time in a musician’s life when he confronts the inevitable question, “Who am I? Am I a mimic simply regurgitating other people’s ideas? Do I blindly repeat stylistic patterns and guidelines I’ve been fed? Or am I free? Am I an artist?” This is the motivation behind Steve Kimock’s latest. The rock

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Echopark Clarence

Wayback Machine

Gabriel Currie’s Echopark Guitars have been played around the world by some of the music industry’s heaviest hitters. His is a line of handmade gems that just ooze vintage flavor. With the help of Eric Bernstorff, Currie has expanded his offerings to include amplifiers. Echopark Amplifiers produces a series of all-tube/point-to-point, hand-wired amps based on