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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

Leo “Bud” Welch

Sabougla Voices
 
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In this day and age, it’s downright incredible that 81-year-old Mississippi bluesman Leo “Bud” Welch has remained unknown to the broader musical world. Unknown – until now, that is. Welch was born in 1932 in Sabougla, a crossroads burg in central Mississippi that’s so small most maps can’t find it. Welch has called the area […]

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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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John Thomas

Kalamazoo Gals: A Story of Extraordinary Women and Gibson’s Banner Guitars of WWII
 
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Intrigued by that “Only A Gibson Is Good Enough” decal on the headstock of his World War II-era Gibson Southern Jumbo, musician and writer John Thomas began delving into the story behind the famed Banner guitars. What he discovered is part thrilling mystery, part pure Americana history. The legend long upheld by Gibson’s own historians […]

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John Jorgenson

John Jorgenson’s Gypsy Jazz Orchestra
 
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Call it a “Gypsy jazz wall of sound.” John Jorgenson’s new album, Istiqbal Gathering, features the master guitarist backed by the full Orchestra Nashville – strings, woodwinds, brass, even percussion. The result would make Django Reinhardt himself envious. For Jorgenson, it all came naturally. “Recording solo guitar with a full orchestra is very different than […]

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Jerry Douglas

Slide Ruler - Jerry Douglas’ Love Affair with the Dobro
 
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You know, it’s the coolest-looking instrument that ever was made!” It should come as no surprise that Jerry Douglas is speaking about the Dobro and the various other resonator-equipped guitars in orbit around the Dopyera brothers’ creation. As probably the world’s most famous dobroist – and certainly the most recorded – he knows a thing […]

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The Morley Rotating Wah

Chromed Tone
 
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There was a time in the mythic ’70s when guitarists were real men and lugged around 15-pound Morley Rotating Wah pedals to gigs and studios. And if they weren’t real men, they had roadies who were! From the accelerator-like pedal to the chrome-plated chassis, Morley’s RWV and the firm’s other super-duty pedals were the American […]

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Robert Shaw and Peter Szego

Inventing the American Guitar
 
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To start with the conclusion, this is hands-down one of the all-around best books on guitars ever published. From the scope of the coverage to the quality of the text and photos, the elegant design to the overall packaging, it’s simply glorious – an example all others guitar books should aspire to. Now, back to […]

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Steve Cropper

Homage to Lowman Pauling
 
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All but forgotten today, with his low-slung guitar, stylish rhythm licks, and tasty leads, Lowman Pauling was one of the great guitar heroes of the ’50s. Guitarist for the R&B doo-wop band the 5 Royales, not only did Pauling pick melody lines and play leads, he also composed many of the band’s songs, sang in […]

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Magnatone Twilighter

King of Vibrato
 
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Magnatone Twilighter Price: $2,249 (12″ combo, list) Info: www.magnatoneusa.com. Magnatone is dead, long live Magnatone! The original Magnatone amp company died in 1969 after several decades of making storied “Golden Voice” amps noted for their “real” vibrato effect. Buddy Holly played his Strat through one, Scotty Moore swore by his, and Neil Young remains a […]

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Arbiter Fuzz Face

 
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When Jimi Hendrix released his first album, 1967’s Are You Experienced, he launched a new level of guitar heroics as well as a sartorial fad for ruffled shirts and band jackets. He also fed a fashion for fuzz. One of Jimi’s main weapons was the Arbiter Fuzz Face, a cheap, crude fuzz box that would […]

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