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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Beyond the Parlor

Part Two: Man and Machine
 
Beyond the Parlor Part Two: Man and Machine

Ed. Note: In part two of his series on the guitar in 19-century America, Tim Brookes addresses the common belief that the guitar was strictly a ladies’ parlor instrument by finding guitars being made – and played – by men. “Over the last century,” began a recent guitar history, parroting conventional wisdom, “the guitar has evolved from a […]

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The Martin 0-42

 
Martin 0-42

Through the years, Martin’s dreadnought, OM, and 000 guitars may have gained the most notoriety. But for the sweetest and best-quality sound, Martin itself recommends the size 0, exemplified by this 0-42. There’s obviously a catch to that statement, since only two of Martin’s current offering of over 200 models are size-0 guitars. The recommendation […]

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Three Small Tweeds

Fender Princeton, Deluxe, and Tremolux
 
Fender Princeton, Deluxe, and Tremolux

From 1954 through ’59, the Fender Electric Instrument Mfg. Co. built guitar amplifiers with controls mounted atop using “chickenhead” knobs that go to 12, and covered with “the finest airplane luggage linen.” This line represents the company’s classic “tweed era,” and from the (more…)

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Clapton’s Fool

History’s Greatest Guitar?
 
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Eric Clapton’s The Fool. A name immediately recognizable to guitarists, yet baffling to others. What is Clapton’s Fool? Very simply, it is one of the most important and famous electric guitars in the history of the instrument. In the hierarchy of guitars, the bottom of the pyramid’s capstone is made up of guitars that are […]

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The Gibson J-185

 
Gibson J-185

The J-185 is regarded by many players and collectors as the finest-sounding Gibson flat-top made after World War II. The only flat-top of its size and shape made by Gibson in the 1950s, the company offered nothing comparable even in its pre-war catalogs, and though it is in many ways similar to the J-200, it’s […]

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Out-Stratting the Strat

The Story of the G&L S-500
 
Out-Stratting the Strat

It would be an understatement to say that Leo Fender, with the help of George Fullerton, was prolific in the years after he sold Fender Electric Instruments. The tag team designed an astounding number of guitars and basses at G&L; Fender developed new pickups, circuits and hardware, while Fullerton designed a guitar or bass for […]

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1905 Gibson F-2

 
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In the opinion of most American mandolinists, Gibson brought mandolin design to a level of perfection in 1922, with the introduction of the Master Model F-5. It wasn’t much earlier – 25 years or so – that Orville Gibson created the F model as one of two mandolin body styles (the other being the symmetrical […]

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1933 Gibson L-00

 
Gibson L-00

While most of the instruments featured in this space are high-end, often elaborately ornamented models that were expensive when new and command high prices today as collectible, the L-00 was the least-expensive guitar offered by Gibson when it was introduced in the March/April, 1931, issue of Gibson’s Mastertone newsletter. The announcement said the guitar, which […]

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Fender Harvard

 
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Given the current craze for semi-small “home” and “recording” amps, Fender’s 5F10 Harvard of 1955-’60 could be the ideal tweed amp, yet, in its day, it fell between two stools and never sold in large numbers. Or, make that three stools. With the Champ and Princeton in its rear-view mirror and the Deluxe and Tremolux […]

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Gibson GA-20

 
Gibson GA-20

• Preamp tubes: two 12AY7, one 12AX7. • Output tubes: two 6V6, cathode-bias. • Rectifier: 5Y3 • Controls: volume for each channel, shared tone. • Speaker: Jensen Special Design P12R. • Output: approximately 16 watts RMS. Behold, this specimen that checks off all the right boxes for fans of vintage amps; beautifully clean, it has […]

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