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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Hofner 185

 
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Have you heard the line, “If Hendrix had a Magnatone, Strats would be worth $200 now?” A highly debatable proposition, for sure! But if Paul McCartney had not used a Höfner bass through much of the Beatles’ career, few collectors would remember the Höfner line today. Unlike other German-brand guitars, such as Klira, Hopf, or Framus, […]

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The Gretsch Round-Up

 
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In 1954, what could possibly be more “contemporary Western” than a Gretsch Round-Up? Introduced in 1954, the Round-Up (listed in Gretsch literature as model PX6130) and the Rancher (PX6022) were trend-setting instruments with eye-catching finishes and ultra-hip-looking appointments. Appropriately, Western-designated models were the company’s first two instruments to be adorned in a sharp looking “modern […]

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1949 Bigsby Tenor

 
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1949 Bigsby Tenor. Photo: Kelsey Vaughn, courtesy George Gruhn. By the advent of the solidbody electric guitar in the 1950s, tenor guitarists were a dying breed. Consequently, electric tenors are relatively rare, and a tenor guitar made by solidbody pioneer Paul Bigsby is one of the rarest of all electric guitars. And if that’s not […]

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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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Rickenbacker Transonic

 
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Rickenbacker Transonic TS100 Topology: Solid State Output: 100 watts RMS Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass controls and Hollow, Mellow and Pierce switches on each channel; Tremolo Speed and Depth, Reverb, and Fuzz-Tortion on Custom channel. Speakers: two 12″ Altec 417. A major artist’s endorsement of a piece of gear is often seen as a springboard to […]

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La Baye 2X4

 
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1967, the Summer of Love. Everything still seemed possible, and anything went. No more war, racial and gender equality, Fresh Cream, the Beatles best record ever, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Phew! What a difference the next year would bring! And that applied to guitars. None more than this classic minimalist La Baye 2×4 “Six.” This […]

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Vox AC50

 
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Vox AC50 Preamp tubes: one ECC82 (12AU7), three ECC83 (12AX7) Output tubes: two EL34s, fixed-biased Rectifier: solidstate Controls: Volume, Treble and Bass for each channel. Output: nominally 50 watts RMS, but upward of 70 watts flat-out. Where the evolution of guitar amplification in general traces musicians’ needs to be louder, the history of Vox follows, […]

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Gibson Marauder M-1

 
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1978 Gibson Marauder M-1 Every once in awhile, someone in Gibson R&D gets a brainstorm like, “I know! Why don’t we make a bolt-neck guitar!” So they do. And the result is almost always interesting – and almost always a commercial flop. Call it “Les Paul syndrome.” Guitar aficionados are the beneficiaries of both sides […]

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The Leilani Lap Steel and Amplifier

 
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You can receive more great articles like this in our twice-monthly e-mail newsletter, Vintage Guitar Overdrive, FREE from your friends at Vintage Guitar magazine. VG Overdrive also keeps you up-to-date on VG’s exclusive product giveaways! CLICK HERE to receive the FREE Vintage Guitar Overdrive. As Hawaiian music gained popularity in the 1920s and ’30s, performers […]

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1978 Gibson RD Artist

 
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Throughout most of the 1970s, Les Pauls ruled the guitar roost. But toward the end of the decade, some players became interested in more-sophisticated electronics, especially active circuitry. Suddenly, souped-up guitars by Alembic, B.C. Rich, Ibanez, and Aria Pro II surged in popularity. This new trend did not take Gibson by surprise, and the challenge was […]

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