233

Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Gibson GA-80T Vari-Tone

 
GIBSONVARTITONE_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, Gibson was apparently convinced the Vari-Tone switch was the way of the future, with its instant access to six different tones. But a high proportion of players who clocked serious miles on their ES-345 and 355 guitars had the switches disabled (and the guitars rewired to mono!). As […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Vox Guitars Invade America

From Dartford to Sepulveda
 

The Vox brand may be quintessentially English, but it made a huge impact in the U.S. Riding in with the 1964 British invasion, Vox even displaced Fender for a time as the land’s most desired amplifier. Vox guitars lacked the same impact (the Beatles didn’t play them, (more…)

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Heil Talk Box

 
HEILBOX_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

When Peter Frampton began using the Heil Talk Box in 1974, he remembers it being viewed with skepticism as an “alien effect.” Similar contraptions had been around since 1939, but few people recognized them or their otherworldly capabilities. Frampton had yet to record with it, so when he used it onstage, it caused a furor. […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Gibson Style J Mando-bass

 
GIBSONSTYLEJ_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

Decades before Audiovox or Leo Fender dreamed of making a fretted electric bass, Gibson started manufacturing fretted acoustic mando-basses that were tuned the same as an upright bass. Joe Spann, author of Spann’s Guide to Gibson 1902-1941 has assembled serial and work-order number information documenting Gibson’s production prior to World War II, which indicates mando-bass […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Gibson Firebirds

 
GIBSON FIREBIRDS

Say the words “custom color” to a collector or enthusiast and most will think of “Fender.” But Gibson had its own multicolored baby – the Firebird. Born in 1963 and put to rest in ’69, the Firebird was Gibson’s third full-line attempt at the solidbody market. While it did not do as well as the […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged , | 3 Responses

Holy Cripes

Holy Cripes! The Story of Jerry Garcia’s Last Guitars
 
CRIPE-HOME-MAIN-BIG

Steve Cripe left a unique legacy in the annals of music history. He was not a guitar player, not a songwriter. In fact, you may not even know his name. But the guitar builder became part of the fabric that makes up the story of the Grateful Dead when he built guitars for the legendary […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | 2 Responses

The Beatles’ Casinos

 
BEATLES-CASINOS-HOME-MAIN-THUMB

  Of all the guitars the Beatles made famous, the only one that John, Paul and George had in common was the Epiphone Casino. Each owned a Casino and used it for countless recordings and performances. Paul McCartney was the first Beatle to acquire a Casino. (more…)

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | 1 Response

Gibson Super Jumbo 100

 
GIBSON-SJ-100-HOME-MAIN-THUMB

The Super Jumbo 200 is Gibson’s most celebrated flat-top model, and deservedly so, thanks to its use by cowboy movie stars in the pre-World War II years and by country music stars in the post-war years. The Super Jumbo 100, on the other hand, is one of Gibson’s more obscure models – a status it […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Hofner 185

 
HOFNER185_HOME-MAIN-THUMB

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 (more…)

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged , | 3 Responses

Robin’s ’80s Import Basses

 
ROBIN-BASSES-HOME-MAIN-THUMB

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 […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment