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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

Maestro Fuzz-Tone

 
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Fuzz. It’s the sound of fury, aggravation, indignation, and – considering the history of the most famous fuzzbox of all time, Maestro’s Fuzz-Tone – dissatisfaction. It’s also fitting as some of the first recorded electric fuzz guitar was heard via Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Willie Lee Johnson, who cut tracks like 1951’s “How Many More Years” […]

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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 building amps as a ’70s teen, launching his custom-build ToneTrons […]

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Jack White

Lazaretto
Willie Wonka Rocks
 
Jack-White

Jack White was recently crowned the Willy Wonka of the rock and roll world by Rolling Stone, and a better description of the man, his music, and his Third Man Records enterprise would be tough to come by. White revels in weird; the unexpected, the unexplained, and the uncategorizable all seem to come naturally. Or […]

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Mark Makin

Palm Trees, Senoritas... and Rocket Ships!
Amazing Worlds
 
Mark-Makin

Tackling the long and winding history of the Dopyera brothers – John, Rudy, Emil, Robert, and Louis – has proved daunting for guitar historians. Mark Makin does it in style with this huge tome, chronicling the wares of National, Dobro, Supro, Airline, Custom Kraft, DB Originals, OMI, and Valco from the 1920s through the ’60s. […]

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Imelda May

Tribal
 
Imelda-May

Irish chanteuse Imelda May proved she could sing on her first discs of retro rockabilly originals. Her new album shows she can also rock. May is backed as usual by her husband, guitarman Darrel Higham. And again as usual, his playing is twang perfect. This album stretches the band’s repertoire. From classic rockabilly and jazz, […]

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Brian Setzer

Rockabilly Riot! All Original
Sparking Another Rockabilly Riot
 
Brian-Setzer

Three decades, umpteen records, and several stellar bands into his career, and Brian Setzer still makes rockabilly sound fresh and exciting. This album has much of the verve of his debut, 1981’s Stray Cats, and his so-called “’68 Comeback Special,” Ignition. For a musician this far along in his career, that’s saying something about his […]

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The Howlin’ Brothers

Trouble
Howling the Country Blues
 
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Like a long-lost radio show from the ’50s suddenly coming to life on your radio in the late nighttime hours, this hard-driving string trio summons forth the sounds of old-time bluegrass, vintage country, and roaring rockabilly. The Howlin’ Brothers have one foot tapping time in tradition, the other kicking down the doors. The howling here […]

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Selmer Modele Jazz and Stimer M.10 Amp

Electricfying Early Jazz
 
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In the 1930s, the quest for volume was the Holy Grail of guitar construction, as guitarists sought instruments to slice through the sound and fury of a jazz band. And when Django Reinhardt began playing his revolutionary jazz, he played it on a revolutionary new jazz guitar.

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Steve Toth

Dobro Roots: A Photo Tour of Prewar Wood Body Dobros
 
Dobro-Roots

Hallelujah! At long last, a book on the Dobro. No, Steve Toth’s Dobro Roots may not be the complete, encyclopedic history unraveling the tangled tale of the Dobro concern from its contentious National spinoff through its Regal association, later retwining with National, and then its various postwar strands. And no, there’s not a scrapbook of […]

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Jeff Senn and Crazy Aces

Dealing Out Twang
 
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When you build guitars for a living, you might unwind with another hobby – say, beer-can collecting or crochet. Not Jeff Senn, mastermind behind Original Senn Guitars. He started a band. Call it R&D or just plain fun, but Senn’s band, Crazy Aces, is a funky, kitschy ensemble that plays an amalgam of hard-driving surf, […]

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