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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

ToneTron’s Billy-Rocker

Best Amp You've Never Heard of
 
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ToneTron’s Billy-Rocker Price: $1,200 Info: www.tonetroamps.com. On a quiet residential street in Minneapolis lives a mad scientist. Erstwhile rockabilly guitarist Jeffrey Falla is the brains behind ToneTron. And from his laboratory come some of the best-sounding amps you’ve never heard of. Falla began modifying and (more…)

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Tom Feldmann

No Need to Sell Your Soul
 
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“And the Oscar goes to…” If they gave out Academy Awards for the best guitar instructional film, Tom Feldmann’s latest on Robert Johnson would be a shoe-in. We rarely review instructional videos, but this one is something special. And it’s more than just a how-to guide: it’s an in-depth, (more…)

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Lotus Pedal Designs’ Snowjob Underdrive

Love That Yellow Snow
 
Lotus Pedal Designs’ Snowjob Underdrive

Lotus Pedal Designs’ Snowjob Underdrive Price: $149 Contact: www.lotuspedaldesigns.com You may be wondering, “What in the world is an ‘underdrive’ pedal?” Good question. Well, you know the traffic-jam of overdrive pedals you likely have crowding around your amp, all designed to push it (more…)

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DeArmond Tremolo Control

 
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Even now – four decades on – Billy F Gibbons remembers the first time he heard a DeArmond Tremolo Control work its peculiar magic. “We first heard the effect not knowing what it was,” he says, speaking in the royal plural and summoning up recordings including Muddy Waters’ (more…)

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Maxon Fuzz Elements Pedals

Elemental Fuzz
 
Maxon Fuzz Elements Pedals

Maxon Fuzz Elements Pedals Price: $189 to $199 Contact: www.maxonfx.com Classic fuzz pedals are some of the fine wines of the vintage guitar world. Guitarists talk like Frenchified sommeliers when discussing Fuzztones, Tonebenders, and Tube Screamers as if they were hundred-year-old bottles of (more…)

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Maestro Rover R0-1

The UFO of Rotating Speakers
 
Maestro’s Rover R0-1

To record “Little Wing,” Jimi Hendrix plugged his Stratocaster into his usual amplifier, then did the unthinkable; he ran guitar signal into an organ speaker – a Leslie rotating-speaker cabinet. Inventor Donald Leslie had designed the unit for Hammond organs, offering a swirling, otherworldy sound ideal for church services, scary or watery sonic effects for […]

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Frank Meyers

History Of Japanese Electric Guitars
Impossibly Cool Guitars
 
Frank-Meyers

Frank Meyers’ first axe was a ’63 Fujigen EJ2 – a cheap-o, two-pickup solidbody like so many Japanese electrics used by beginner guitarists the world over. Though unremarkable, it spurred in him a love of the instrument that inspired this book. Meyers spent 15 years researching Fujigen (more…)

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Norman Blake

Wood, Wire & Words
 
Norman-Blake

Long time gone. It’s been four years since Norman Blake’s last album – and 30 years since he last recorded his own original music. Now 77, he suffered a mini stroke several years back that required prolonged recovery. (more…)

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Brian Setzer

Rocking Back to the Future
 
Brian Setzer

Brian Setzer wears several hats – rockabilly, swing, even hard-rocking Christmas music. But through it all, by and large he plays only one guitar – a Gretsch. And ideally, just a Model 6120 at that. With his new album, Setzer gets back to his roots, both in (more…)

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Retro Guitar MelodyBurner

Bite and Bark
 
Retro Guitar MelodyBurner

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 (more…)

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