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Author Archives: Zac Childs

Reilander’s Muckbucker Pickups

Fat, But Not Tubby
 
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Reilander’s Muckbucker Pickups Price: $199 (set) Info: www.reilandercustomguitar.com In the 1970s, great guitar-pickup winders began wrapping extra wire on humbuckers, touting the resultant higher output and greater low-end response. Though this approach to pickup construction makes it easier to “overdrive” certain amps, most neck pickups that were given this overwinding sounded muddy, and most such […]

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Rybski Cougar

Wild Cat
 
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Rybiski Cougar Price: $3,850 Info: www.rybskiguitars.com. Before moving to the United States, Rybski founder Slawomir Waclawik repaired and built upright basses and violins for top jazz and fusion players in his native Poland. With newfound digs in the States came a newfound focus on crafting cutting-edge basses and guitars alongside builder Benjamin Harrison. Though the […]

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Fargen Olde 800 MKII, Sonic Edge J&J Overdrive

Decades of Tone
 
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The Fargen Olde 800 MKII Price: $1,949 Info: www.fargenamps.com. For 10 years, Ben Fargen has established a reputation for building amps based on British and American designs, and for offering aftermarket mods to expand/enhance other builders’ designs. Fargen’s new nod to the British stacks of yore is the Olde 800 Mk2. A 25-watt head fueled […]

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Fargen’s John Lennon Signature JL-15 and Micro Plex

Instant Karma?
 
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Fargen’s John Lennon Signature JL-15 and Micro Plex Price: $2,700 (JL-15), $999 (Micro Plex) Info: www.fargenamps.com. From 50-watt monsters to 5-watt heads, Fargen Amplification is known for building amplifiers intended for working players. Two of Fargen’s more recent releases – the John Lennon Signature JL-15 combo and the Micro Plex head – may seem miles […]

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Gibson ES-335 Joe Bonamassa Signature Model

A Semi-Hollow For Joe
 
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Gibson ES-335 Joe Bonamassa Signature Model Price: $3,335 (street) Contact: gibson.com. The collaboration of Gibson and blues-rocker Joe Bonamassa began with a limited run of goldtop Les Paul’s in 2009, followed by a more-affordable Studio version and another Custom Shop version, the latter sporting a beautiful flamed-maple top. Gibson and Bonamassa have teamed up again […]

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The MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion

Company Hot Rod
 
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Dunlop Custom Badass ’78 Distortion Price: $79 Info: jimdunlop.com Custom Badass is a new division of MXR that offers the company’s engineers’ hot-rodded takes on popular designs. Packaged in MXR’s classic small housing, the ’78 Distortion is a bit lighter and has a more squared look compared to most MXR units. It has 1/4″ in/out […]

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J.D. Simo

Tele-Free Trio
 
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J.D. Simo moved to Nashville seven years ago and quickly landed in the coveted hot spot as the lead guitarist in the Don Kelley band. After four years playing four nights a week in Nashville’s lower Broadway district, Simo took a hard left, forming a power trio that bears his name (with bassist Frank Swart […]

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Widman Set Neck

An Eye For Detail
 
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Widman Set Neck Price: $3,900 Info: widmancustomelectrics.com. John Widman is a custom guitar builder whose artistic leanings began while he worked as a graphic designer and photographer. After building bolt-neck instruments using off-the-shelf parts, he began crafting instruments from scratch, and recently introduced the Set Neck. A chambered single-cut, the Set Neck is built from […]

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3rd Power Amplification’s Solo Dream 1, Solo Dream 4, and Switchback 112

Dream Babies
 
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3rd Power Solo Dream/Switchback amps Price: $1,899 (Dream Solo 1 combo); $1,699 (Dream Solo 4 head); $699 (Switchback 112) Info: www.3rdpower.com. Recording/touring guitarist, studio engineer, and industry veteran Jamie Scott made the metamorphosis into amp designer by learning to repair and modify Marshall heads. He quickly realized that he wanted amps to sound full, responsive, […]

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The Pigtronix Envelope Phaser 2

Sophisti-Phaser
 
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Pigtronix Envelope Phaser II Price: $249 (street). Contact: Phone (631) 331-7447; Pigtronix.com. Pigtronix effects are known not only for their tones, but their sophistication. So it’s no surpise that the Envelope Phaser II has a potentially daunting array of control knobs and switches, some with familiar names (Sensitivity, Depth, Speed), others less common (Resonance, Staccato, […]

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