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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Gretsch’s #1 Country Gent

 
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The Gretsch Country Gentleman 6122 was the third of four Chet Atkins signature guitar models created for the legendary guitarist in the ’50s. The little-known truth is it was also a response to all the things Atkins did not like about the first model Gretsch conjured for him – the 6120 Hollowbody. The reality is […]

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Premier Twin 12

 
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Sometimes it takes just the slightest aesthetic twist to get an amp nut all worked up. This 1960 Premier Twin 12 is a case in point; over the years, Premier also made these amps with a straight-edged front fascia, but somehow we’re much more excited to dive into this one, with the “widow’s peak” front […]

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Gibson SG Les Paul

Classic shape that filled big shoes... for awhile
 
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In 1961, Gibson replaced its Les Paul series with a new line of lightweight, ultrathin, all mahogany, double-cutaway solidbodies the SG (for solid guitar). Developed under the aegis of Ted McCarty and introduced as the “new Les Paul,” the SG heralded new directions (more…)

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Star Board: Tom Guerra

 
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Guitarist/singer/songwriter (and VG contributor) Tom Guerra recently released his first solo album, All of the Above, which reviewer Pete Prown says is “hook-laden rock and roll originals that pay homage to everyone from the Beatles to the Byrds, and from Led Zeppelin to Mott (more…)

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Carvin DN640K

 
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Doubleneck instruments have always been a unique niche in the guitar market, for good reason. They’ve also carried an air of superiority or the insinuation that they were intended for pro players; i.e., those who could deftly switch from one instrument to another (more…)

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Gibson Kalamazoo Award

Designer's Dream Come True
 

In 1978, Gibson craftsman Wilbur Fuller produced the company’s first hand-carved, tuned-by-ear custom guitar. The instrument, which in a blind sound-off with some of the best instruments of its era, won the hearts of Gibson brass, ultimately became the Kalamazoo Award. Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars tells us that the Kalamazoo Award was a (more…)

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The Rickenbacker 4000

 
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The model 4000 was not only Rickenbacker’s first foray into the electric-bass market, it was decidedly different from Fender’s Precision – the original electric bass. Beyond frets, four strings, and their role in a musical combo, they have little in common. In the 1950s, F.C. Hall forged Rickenbacker into a modern guitar manufacturer. Striving to […]

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Watkins Rapier 33

 
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If you were an American teenager in the late 1950s or early ’60s, and you wanted to play the new rock music, you likely did not have a solidbody electric guitar from Fender, Gibson, or Rickenbacker. More likely the guitar would be from Harmony, Kay, or Supro. If you lived in the U.K., you probably […]

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Fender Competition Mustang

 
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Little Deuce Coupe. T-birds. Cars and the California lifestyle are inextricably intertwined… and of course, guitars figure in, too – just flash back to those mid-’60s Fender ads showing surfers and guitars on the beach. So it should come as no surprise that Fender would market a guitar – entry-level, of course – to potential […]

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Fender Precision Bass

The “Final” Configuration
 
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The Fender Precision Bass was the first commercially successful solidbody electric bass. Played somewhat like a guitar and sporting a fretted neck, the “P-Bass” won over players in almost every genre who previously had to contend with the cumbersome upright bass. In its original configuration, the instrument, introduced in 1952, had a maple neck with […]

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