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Author Archives: Sean OBryan Smith

Teye Guitars Gypsy Queen

The Art of Tone
 
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Teye Gypsy Queen Price: $4,400 (as tested with metal top) Info: teye-guitars.com. For Austin-based Teye Guitars, taking guitar construction to new artistic heights has been a basic tenet since their inception. Mastermind luthier Teye Wijnterp, an accomplished guitarist, forged his concept of (more…)

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Shaw Audio Bass 130

Classic Tone for the Modern World
 
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Shaw Audio Bass 130 Price: $1,995 (list) Contact: www.shawaudio.com Tennessee amp builder Kevin Shaw loves restoring old cars – and creating fine-sounding amplifiers. His ToneRod SE and Fulltilt 18 helped establish him as a factor among amp builders, and his latest offering is (as the (more…)

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K775V Kay Jazz II and K5970V Jazz Special Bass

A-Ohh-Kay
 
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K775V Kay Jazz II and K5970V Jazz Special Price: $1,495 (K775V Jazz II electric guitar); $1,150 (K5970V Jazz Special electric bass) Info: www.kayvintagereissue.com First heralded for their acoustics and upright basses, Kay made its mark with electric guitars played by Eric Clapton and Paul (more…)

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Godin’s A4 and A5 Ultra SA

Brave New Basses
 
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Godin A4/A5 Ultra SA Price: $1,395 (A4 Ultra SA fretted); $1,645 (A5 Ultra SA fretless) Info: godinguitars.com. For years, Godin Guitars has been finding creative ways to improve guitar and bass design, often by working directly with musicians. This has resulted in numerous breakthroughs (more…)

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Kramer 84 and Pacer Vintage

Tap, Shred, Dive!
 
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Kramer 84/Pacer Vintage Price: $1,166 (84); $1,267 (Pacer Vintage) Info: kramerguitars.com It’s hard to think of ’80s guitars as vintage, but since all things get older, the guitars of the shred generation have indeed acquired a certain patina. And of the many (more…)

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Metal Pedals’ Raw Hide, Hard Core XXX

Saddle Up!
 
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Metal Pedals’ Raw Hide, Hard Core XXX Price: $175 (Raw Hide); $230 (Hard Core XXX) Info: www.metalpedals.com. For many discerning players, Dave Pantaleone at Metal Pedals is a well-known stompbox builder. His latest offerings are two distinctly different animals that offer pro-level (more…)

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Eastman AR905SCE Uptown Deluxe

Classy Jazz Box
 
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Eastman AR905SCE Uptown Deluxe Price: $3,650 retail Contact: www.eastmanguitars.com Over the past few years the negative stigma attached to guitars manufactured overseas has been altered greatly. Many builders from abroad have upped their games significantly, rising from mere copycats to top contenders. One such builder (more…)

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Epiphone Zenith Fretted and Fretless Bass

New Groove Territory
 
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For decades, guitar players have known the name Epiphone. Renowned for making great-sounding jazz boxes like the Zephyr and Emperor Regent, which have been seen in the hands of major artists, and models like the Texan and Casino were key to the sound of The (more…)

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Fano Alt de Facto RB6

Classic That Never Was
 
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Fano Alt de Facto RB6 Price: $2,495 Info: fanoguitars.com In recent years, a trend in the guitar realm has been to re-create the magic of vintage-style instruments. This has ranged from player-modded updates of classics to manufacturers painstakingly attempting to age/“relic” (more…)

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ZT Amplifiers Club and Lunchbox Acoustic

Big Things, Small Packages
 
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In two short years of existence, ZT Amplifiers has found a unique place for itself in the world of boutique amplification. ZT engineering guru Ken Kantor’s flagship amp is called The Lunchbox, so named because of its compact physical size. But (more…)

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