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Author Archives: Pete Prown

Budda’s Chakra and ZenMan Pedals

Zen and the Art of Tone Maintenance

Budda’s Chakra and ZenMan Pedals Price: $149.99 Contact: Best known in guitar circles as an admired amp builder, Budda has released a pile of new stompboxes that cover all bases from modulation and delay to the crunchy stuff. Two of these offerings are the ZenMan overdrive/boost and the Chakra compressor, straightforward-looking boxes with some […]

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Providence Silky Drive and Stampede DT

Japanese Silk (and Stomp)

Providence Silky Drive and Stampede DT Price: $394 (Silky Drive); $249 (Stampede DT) Info: From the Land of the Rising Sun, Providence pedals have been building an audience among players in the Western Hemisphere thanks to a buzz regarding their versatility and stout construction. Indeed, two of Providence’s more popular overdrive/distortion units, the Silky […]

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Sixty Years of Tele-Kinetic Guitar Heroes

Flying Saucers! Tail Fins! Robots!
Tele Jimmy Bryant

Taking a cue from the burgeoning world of television, in 1951, Leo Fender married the name “Telecaster” to his new electric-solidbody guitar. Originally dubbed “Broadcaster” (which infringed on a Gretsch trademark), after being given a new name, the Telecaster became a new guitar for a new age of popular music. At the time, country, jazz, […]

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Giffin Vikta

Feelin’ Special

Giffin Vikta Price: $2,295 Contact: Roger Giffin is a guitarmaker to the stars, having built for Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle, Mark Knopfler, Andy Summers, David Gilmour, and many others. He also ran the Gibson Custom Shop in California for many years before striking out on his own. Now producing his own […]

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Randy Rhoads

Diary of an Axeman, 30 years Later

(RIGHT) Rhoads’ polka-dot guitar was built in 1979 by Karl Sandoval, with a mahogany body, modified ’60s Danelectro non-adjustable maple neck with a rosewood fingerboard and bow-tie inlays, two DiMarzio humbuckers (PAF in the neck position, Super Distortion in the bridge), separate Tone and Volume controls, a standard vibrato, and a selector switch on the […]

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Peekamoose Model 3

Modern Retro

Electro-Harmonix Superego Synth Engine Price: $4,600 Contact: There’s no shortage of cool, retro-looking solidbodies on the market today, from the big guys as well as the increasing numbers of boutique builders. Cool looks are great, but for any object to truly arouse passion, form must follow function. Built by Paul Schwartz in New York […]

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Cardinal’s Magpie

Bird in Hand

Cardinal Magpie Price: $4,300 Contact: While most folks are happy to buy guitars off the rack, the Cardinal Magpie is a prime example of today’s handcrafted, built-to-order guitars that exist apart from the masses. Coming from the shop of Austin, Texas, luthier Sam Evans, the Magpie exudes old-world craftsmanship and crisp attention to detail. […]

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Cort Z44

Single-Cut Shuffle

Cort Z44 Price: $569 list/under $400 street Contact: Just about everywhere you look these days, manufacturers are devising new spins on the single-cutaway solidbody. Cort has been a player on the import scene for decades and, with its Zenox-series Z44, shows it’s serious about being a player in the world of the single-cut. The […]

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Pierre Bensusan


In a career spanning four decades, acoustic virtuoso Pierre Bensusan has created some of the most enchanting guitar music ever heard, much of it in his beloved DADGAD tuning. Oddly enough, even with near-continuous touring, he’s still a cult commodity. Encore, his three-CD set of live recordings from the mid ’70s to today, may cure […]

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Knaggs Guitars’ Steve Stevens Signature Model

Rebel Yell

Knaggs Guitars’ Steve Stevens Signature Model Price: $6,000 Contact: Everyone wants to build a better mousetrap, and those who build solidbody guitars are no different. Frequently, they strive to make superior versions of classic archetypes like the Stratocaster, Telecaster, Les Paul, Explorer, Flying V, etc. The Knaggs Steve Stevens Signature Model is derived from […]

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