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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

Heil Talk Box

 
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When Peter Frampton began using the Heil Talk Box in 1974, he remembers it being viewed with skepticism as an “alien effect.” Similar contraptions had been around since 1939, but few people recognized them or their otherworldly capabilities. Frampton had yet to record with it, so when he used it onstage, it caused a furor. […]

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Mark Makin

Palm Trees, Senoritas... and Rocket Ships!
Amazing Worlds
 
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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 (more…)

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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, (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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Cry, Baby!

The Story of the Vox Wah
 
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Beyond being crowned “Album of the Century” by Time magazine, Marley and the Wailers’ 1977 LP Exodus is a wah-wah masterpiece thanks to Junior Marvin and his Thomas Organ Cry Baby. Others – from Earl Hooker to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa to Sly Stone – made their mark with the pedal, but never has (more…)

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Grammatico LaGrange

Have Mercy!
 
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Grammatico LaGrange Price: $1,850 Info: www.grammaticoamps.com. Stop the presses! John Grammatico has added a second amp to his line. Of course, this wouldn’t be headline news with most amp-makers, who boast dizzying lines of models and variations with added doohickeys and miscellaneous whatnot. But, Mr. Grammatico has (more…)

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Mike Beigel

Resurrection of the Mu-Tron III
 
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Mike Beigel is no guitarist. But that never held him back in crafting one of the most legendary of all guitar effects pedals, the famed Musitronics Mu-Tron III envelope filter. When players think “funk,” they recall Beigel’s masterpiece stompbox. Bootsy Collins plugged in his Space Bass to craft (more…)

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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, (more…)

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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 (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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