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Author Archives: Willie G. Moseley

Robin’s ’80s Import Basses

 
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While the Robin guitar brand’s reverse “imported then domestic” chronology has been documented in this space, the basses shown here are the first import models marketed by the company (and one of them is from the very first shipment). Robin guitars were marketed beginning in 1982, and basses (all manufactured by ESP in Japan) followed […]

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Kurt Hendrick

History of the Mystery
 
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One of the most enigmatic brands in the recent history of American guitars was Hendrick, the funky solidbody electrics created by designer Kurt Hendrick. • The son of an aerospace engineer, Hendrick grew up in the 1960s near the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Space Center Houston (when it was called the Manned Spacecraft Center) […]

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Elliot Easton

Shifting Gears Again
 
Elliot Easton

Not long after he released an instrumental album with an aggregation known as the Tiki Gods, veteran southpaw guitarist Elliot Easton abruptly put the project into stasis when an opportunity arose to make music with fellow veteran musicians. The new band is known as the Empty Hearts, and includes Wally Palmar (Romantics) on guitar and […]

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Tommy Smith

Leogun’s Led Zep Connection
 
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Some of the loudest buzz – literally and figuratively – in music surrounds the London-base power trio Leogun, fronted by guitarist/vocalist Tommy Smith. The band’s neo-retro sound has drawn comparison to Led Zeppelin, but Smith is influenced by a long list of names. “I’m lucky I was brought (more…)

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’68 Truetone by Kay/Valco

 
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The year 1968 was not a good one for American manu­facturers of stringed instruments. M.C.A. closed the original Danelectro, and what was left of Kay and Valco was locked in a tailspin. Valco bought the remnants of Kay in ’67, and attempted to combine the brand with their own products, but to no (more…)

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Teisco Del Rey Basses

’60s Egalitarianism from Japan
 
Teisco Del Rey Basses

Teisco Del Rey basses from the 1960s are exemplary of the Japanese-made instruments that swept into the American market like a tsunami during the “guitar boom” – and were the primary contributor to the demise of America’s budget-guitar industry. Which means, of course, that an untold number of American teenagers played instruments like these. During […]

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Paul Gabriel

Rollin’ With Robillard
 
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For Paul Gabriel, the opportunity to work with fellow guitarist Duke Robillard happened decades after they’d met and first played together, but Gabriel finally garnered Robillard’s production and playing services for his latest album, What’s the Chance. Gabriel has recorded with Harry Chapin and Rory Block, and toured with Michael Bolton, but it was get-togethers […]

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Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”

 
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This may well be the most desirable Fender Stratocaster on the face of the planet. And it happens to be a beat-up mongrel assembled from parts taken from three 1950s guitars. Nevertheless, Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” is one of the most recognized celebrity-associated instruments in the history of the electric guitar, and it served Slowhand’s needs […]

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The Vox Saturn IV

 
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In the mid 1960s, England’s Vox company was in the right place at the right time. Buoyed by frontline British Invasion endorsers such as the Beatles and American bands such as Paul Revere & the Raiders, the instrument/amplifier maker signed deals with almost every popular band. Even one-hit-wonders such as Music Machine (“Talk Talk”) brandished […]

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Peavey T-20

The Next Step
 
1983 Peavey T-20 and T-20FL Vintage guitar magazine

Introduced in 1982, Peavey’s T-20 was different from other basses in the Peavey lineup, the two-pickup T-40, and the single-pickup T-45. The T-40 (“Bass Space” October ’06) and its six-string sibling, the T-60, debuted as the first instruments to be made with parts carved using CNC machines, and their necks were bilaminated and pre-stressed. Their […]

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