Author Archives: Zac Childs

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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Victoria Regal II Amplifier

Tube-Swappin' Time

Mark Baier launched the Victoria Amplifier Company in 1993, intent on reproducing the tones and aesthetic style of the great tweed amps of the late 1950s. He began twisting these classic designs into exciting variations that still pay homage to Leo. One example of (more…)

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Fender G.E. Smith Telecaster

G.E.'s Electric

G.E. Smith is a guitarist, vintage-instrument authority, and holder of several past high-profile gig including 10 years as the bandleader on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” where he proudly displayed pieces from his vintage collection while laying down nasty licks with some of (more…)

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Keith Urban

Down-Under Uber-Picker

All photos by Rusty Russell. For a guy born in New Zealand and reared in Australia, Keith Urban certainly knows how to grab the attention of Yankee music fans. The supertalented artist not only writes hit songs, gather accolades, and recently married a movie star (that’d (more…)

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