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Author Archives: Chip Wilson

D’Angelico’s EXL-1 and EX-SS

Deco Redux
 
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3rd Power Solo Dream/Switchback amps Price: $1,859 list/$1,149 street (EXL-1); $1,999 list/$1,409 street (EX-SS) Info: www.dangelicoguitars.com. Images of John D’Angelico crafting masterpieces in his Little Italy shop haunt guitar enthusiasts to this day, implying an era of lost glory. Happily, D’Angelico guitars, long inaccessible to average guitarists, are being revived and reinterpreted in a manner […]

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Walden Sean Harkness 12-String, CG4070E

Grand-Auditorium Cousins
 
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Walden Sean Harkness 12-String, CG4070E Price: $1,100 (Sean Harkness Model); $1,350 (CG4070E-CERT) Info: www.waldenguitars.com. With 16 years of producing attractive, understated instruments, Walden Guitars puts an accent on quality materials and environmental awareness. If you are looking for a heavily inlaid showpiece to hang on your wall, look elsewhere; Walden specializes in guitars that emphasize […]

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Blues Guitars On A Budget

A New Breed of L-Style
 
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Picture the archetypal 1930s blues man, photographed with a studio backdrop, jaunty hat, knowing leer…. What else do you see? A guy with not too much money, that’s what! That’s why the guitar in his lap was usually something like a Gibson L model – small, shapely, and sunburst. The iconic Robert Johnson L-1 was […]

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Phantom Reissue 1964 PH12

Ghost of Vintage Past
 
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Phantom Reissue 1964 PH12 Price: $1,168 (retail) Info: www.phantomguitars.com. From the Hollies to the Mahavishnu Orchestra, from Robert Junior Lockwood to the Stones, the electric 12-string has a prominent place in modern music. And arguably, the most iconic of all electric 12-strings were those Vox guitars manufactured under the auspices of the Jennings Musical Instruments. […]

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AXL USA Hand-Aged Bulldog

Bark and Bite
 
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AXL USA Hand-Aged Bulldog Price: $699.99 (street) Contact: www.axlguitars.com Unabashedly inspired by the classic Les Paul Junior, AXL Guitars’ limited-edition USA Hand-Aged Bulldog is a single-pickup guitar with a slab mahogany body and set neck. Crucial assembly tasks are performed in AXL’s California workshop, where the Bulldog is fretted, set up, tricked out, and whipped […]

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Bergen Guitars ST and TL

Messing with Perfection
 
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Bergen Guitars ST and TL Price: $2,195 (ST, base)/$2,595 (as tested); $1,895 (TL, base)/$2,295 (as tested) Info: www.bergenguitars.com. If your goal, as a solitary craftsman, is to improve upon two designs that are acclaimed paragons of industrial perfection, what do you do? Paul Bergeson, owner and luthier of Bergen Guitars in Lake Zurich, Illinois, began […]

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New Orleans Guitar Company Model 8

Sonic Mojo
 
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New Orleans Guitar Company Model 8 Price: $2,999 Contact: neworleansguitar.com For over a decade, the New Orleans Guitar Company has been producing handcrafted electrics with an attention to design and detail possible only in a small shop. The vision of sculptor/luthier Vincent Guidroz was most eloquently conveyed in his Voodoo Custom and JB Custom guitars, […]

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Henriksen’s JazzAmp 112-ER

All That Jazz
 
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Henriksen’s JazzAmp 112-ER Price: $999 (retail) Info: www.henriksenamps.com. Traditionally, jazz guitarists have sought a mellow tone in which single notes exhibit a horn-like timbre. Unfortunately, this often means sacrificing chord clarity. Henriksen Amplifiers’ JazzAmp series is a bid to give jazz guitarists fluid solo lines and warm, clean chordal articulation. The JazzAmp series’ flagship is […]

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Babicz Octave Blue Flame

Flaming Glory
 
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When a vintage-minded guitarist recollects cracking open the case of a big ol’ hollowbody and catching a glimpse of flame, minds wander to dreams of Gibson ES-5 or Kay Jimmy Reed Thin-Twin axes. As one unboxes the Babicz Octane, many of the same emotions are stirred, given the classic look of the hollowbody beauty’s flame-maple […]

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D’Addario/ Planet Waves Accessories

Goodies Galore
 

The D’Addario family has been making musical-instrument strings since before brothers-in-law Rocco and Carmine moved to the U.S. from Italy in the early 1900s. A longtime music-industry fixture, D’Addario & Company long ago branched out from strings into other areas, like a recent crop of cleaning gear, tuners, and assorted goodies. Tuners The guitar-pick shaped […]

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