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Author Archives: Bob Tekippe

The Framptone Talkbox

Do You Feel (Like Frampton)?

The Framptone Talkbox When you hear the words “Do you feel,” what comes to mind? If you’re of a certain age demographic, you know how ubiquitous Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive was in the 1970s. It made Frampton an international mega-star. Commercial success aside, Frampton’s abilities with the guitar are somewhat underappreciated. He wrote great […]

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Louis Electric KR M12

Ready To Roll

Louis Electric KR M12 Lou Rosano, founder and namesake of Louis Amplifiers, was one of the first of what has since become dozens of “boutique” amp builders, having first produced a Fender tweed clone back in 1992. In April, 2005, we tested his Swing King 210. Like most indie builders, Rosano spent his share of […]

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The Vox AC15 Custom Classic

A Classic Improvement?

Vox AC15 Custom Classic. In the lore surrounding Vox Amplification, the AC30 is the king of the hill, the alpha male, the one that first springs to mind. But history reminds us that when they were introduced in the late 1950s, the AC15 actually preceded the AC30 by almost a year, which makes it the […]

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Zemaitis GZ-3200DF

One For the Rest of Us

Zemaitis Greco GZ-200DF. Looking to score one of those legendary guitars made by the late British luthier Tony Zemaitis? Yeah, so are we. But given that Tony’s work today occupies its own unique space in the “axe strata,” chances are it won’t happen for any of us anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you can’t […]

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Martin D-18VE

Bring It On, Pre-War D!

The C.F. Martin Company has been around longer than any instrument manufacturer. It’s an icon whose guitars have consistently set the standard by which production (and often custom) acoustics are judged. And if you’re into vintage acoustics, you know that few guitars make a collector perk up like an old Martin. It’s that vibe that […]

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Smit Boosted Classic and Bucker Lite pickups

PAF Plus? S

Smit Boosted Classic/Bucker Lite Being a guitarist for more than 30 years, Kevin Smith learned much in his quest for great tone. For years he has dissected pickups while devising his own “recipe,” and today he builds pickups for a living in a one-man shop that specializes in a line of production and custom-wound humbuckers. […]

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Reverend’s Stage King Series Charger 290

Set to Out-Do

Reverend Charger 290 Guitar Reverend Musical Instruments’ luthier/boss Joe Naylor singlehandedly designs every Reverend guitar, and chooses their components and materials. And in some cases, Naylor provides specs for “external” builders who produce instruments for his company. One example is the company’s new Bolt-On series of guitars, which is built in Korea and consists of […]

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DST MarWatt and UV6 amplifiers

Small-Watt Punch

DST MarWatt/UV6 Bob Dettorre and Jeff Swanson are longtime gearheads who played in bands starting when they were just kids. As adults, one went to college and worked a “real” job, while the other tackled life as a working musician. A couple years ago, they established Dettorre/Swanson Thermionics (DST) Engineering. Dettorre, the son of a […]

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Bixonic Expandora 2000R

Full-Range Distortion

Bixonic Expandora 2000R. Bixonic introduced the Expandora distortion/fuzz pedal in 1995, and it quickly became popular among guitarists the likes of Billy Gibbons, Joe Satriani, Megadeth, and Bootsy Collins. The original Expandora was loved, but had its drawbacks, such as having its DIP switches inside. It was also a little thin-sounding. In ’01 we saw […]

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Sweet Swingin’ Royalty


Louis Rosano, proprietor of Louis Electric Amplifier Company, has been building and repairing guitar amps for 15 years. After spending a great deal of time digging around in the inventions of Leo Fender and Jim Marshall, in 1993 he began building his amps completely by hand, using the best components, including his own hand-wound transformers […]

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