Author Archives: Zac Childs

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

Instant Karma?

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 (more…)

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Gibson ES-335 Joe Bonamassa Signature Model

A Semi-Hollow For Joe

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, (more…)

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The MXR Custom Badass ’78 Distortion

Company Hot Rod

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 (more…)

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J.D. Simo

Tele-Free Trio

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 (more…)

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Widman Set Neck

An Eye For Detail

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 (more…)

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

Dream Babies

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 (more…)

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The Pigtronix Envelope Phaser 2


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 (more…)

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The Budda Twinmaster

Return of a Boutique Legend

In the early days of boutique-amp building, there were but a few contenders on the scene. One of the strongest amplifiers in those days was made by Budda. First released in 1995, the company’s Twinmaster (more…)

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The Victoria VIC 105

Raw And Responsive
Victoria Vic 105

Victoria VIC 105 Price: $1,495 Contact: Victoria Amp Co.; phone (630) 820-6400; victoriaamp.com. In the 1990s, Mark Baier put himself on the map making quality reproductions of choice ’50s tweed-amp circuits. For the last decade, Baier has broadened his amp (more…)

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ValveTrain 205

Five Watts, Just So

Rick Gessner is a tweed amp enthusiast who has more than made a splash since entering the fray in 2005. His versions of tweed-era Fender classics (with subtle refinements), along with his Spring Thing reverb unit, have been making waves with players from Pat Travers to Brad Paisley. The ValveTrain 205 is Gessner’s interpretation of […]

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