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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Gibson’s Depression-Era Exports

 
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Many aren’t aware that some of the archtop guitars Gibson produced during the Depression were marketed under different brand names, including Kalamazoo, Recording King, Cromwell, Fascinator, and Kel Kroyden, among others. These shared similar features and construction techniques with the low-line Gibson-branded instruments such as the L-30 and L-50: a spruce top, mahogany body and […]

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Realistic Entertainer-34

 
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As prolific as the Radio Shack chain was in the ’60s, it’s surprising we don’t see more vintage Realistic guitar amps today. Maybe they were never valued enough to be handed down, much less hunted down. If anything, you’re likely to have stumbled on the Carnival 34, a straightforward 1×12″ combo, but even those are […]

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The Charvel Model 4

 
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Certain guitar brands develop a mystique among aficionados – sometimes it’s even deserved! Somewhere on this continuum lie Charvel USA guitars made in the early ’80s in San Dimas, California. Curiously, that “San Dimas guitar” mystique didn’t rub off to its foreign cousins like the Model 4 – the fine Japanese-made Charvels produced beginning in […]

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Movie Star, Rancher

Mid-’50s Muse of Wire and Wood
 
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In the years immediately after World War II, Americans were settling into a new way of life, and plunging headlong toward an economic prosperity never before experienced by everyday people. Change was also afoot among the nation’s guitar manufacturers. Having been restricted by materials shortages and/or re-tooling to bolster the war effort, guitar makers like […]

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Gibson’s First Reissue Les Pauls

On the Road to ’59
 
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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. Strings and Things Les Paul Many (more…)

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Arbiter Fuzz Face

 
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When Jimi Hendrix released his first album, 1967’s Are You Experienced, he launched a new level of guitar heroics as well as a sartorial fad for ruffled shirts and band jackets. He also fed a fashion for fuzz. One of Jimi’s main weapons was the Arbiter Fuzz (more…)

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Dickerson Standard Lap Steel

 
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Though today they are viewed as little more than curious relics of a lost era, during the Great Depression, “mother of toilet seat” Hawaiian lap steels were one of the most popular types of guitar. You could argue that these little electrics blazed the trail for the later popularity of electric Spanish guitars. There were […]

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Martin Elegant, a.k.a. “Lula”

 
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It’s an extraordinarily rare event to find a high-grade, historically significant mid-1800s guitar in a pawn shop, but that is indeed where this Martin was discovered. When found in Nashville in the mid 1970s, it was recognized as an exceptional instrument with ornamentation far in excess of any (more…)

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The “Last” Trainwreck?

 
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Ken Fischer’s prolonged illness and subsequent death at the age of 61 remains one of the great tragedies of the guitar-amp world. Aside from the fact he was a good soul taken too soon, if this rare and genuine tube-amp guru had enjoyed better health and greater longevity, he would most likely have blessed the […]

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Danelectro’s Four-String Basses

 
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The guitars and basses made by Danelectro in the ’60s epitomized “no frills.” And though they were considered the nadir of American-made electric instruments of their time, many a babyboomer cut their musical teeth on one. The construction of most “classic” Danelectro-made guitars and basses – whether they were branded as Danelectro or the more-popular […]

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