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Author Archives: Michael Dregni

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams

Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams

Multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell is the consummate hired gun. He picked his licks as part of Bob Dylan’s eight-year-long Never Ending Tour, led the Levon Helm Band’s Midnight Rambles, and served as a sideman with Sheryl Crow, Paul Simon, and many (more…)

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The Cash Box Kings

Holding Court
Blues Mission

The Cash Box Kings are on a mission. This hard-working ensemble is committed to keeping the spirit of 1940s and ’50s Chicago blues alive and well. Their style and sound is gloriously retro, with an inspiring eloquence and grace to their (more…)

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Cry, Baby!

The Story of the Vox Wah

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


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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Steve Cropper

Homage to Lowman Pauling

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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ToneTron’s Billy-Rocker

Best Amp You've Never Heard of

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


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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Frank Meyers

History Of Japanese Electric Guitars
Impossibly Cool Guitars

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

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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The Carr Skylark

Desert-Island Amp
Carr Skylark

The Carr Skylark Price: $2,390 (list) Contact: www.carramps.com If you could own only a single guitar amp – horror of horrors! – Steve Carr’s new Skylark just might be the one. When it comes to building modern boutique amps inspired by classic vintage designs, few people (more…)

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