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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

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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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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Retro Guitar MelodyBurner

Bite and Bark
 
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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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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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Maestro Rover R0-1

The UFO of Rotating Speakers
 
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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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Gizmotron

Most Bizarre Guitar Effect of All Time?
 

Led Zeppelin’s final studio album, 1979’s In Through The Out Door, opens with an eerie, otherworldly drone that weaves and winds its way before segueing into the searing Stratocaster riffs of “In The Evening.” In the past, Jimmy Page played his Les Paul with a violin bow and waved his hands like a wizard over […]

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Tom Feldmann

The Guitar of Robert Johnson
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 (more…)

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Lucinda Williams

Down Where The Spirit Meets The Bone
Exile On A Gravel Road
 
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There’s that old saw about a good double album being a better single album if it wasn’t for an artist’s hubris. But Lucinda Williams’ first doubleheader doesn’t fit that bill. If anything, it’s too much of a good thing. Williams has never been in a hurry (more…)

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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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