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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

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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Traynor YBA-2 Bass Mate

 
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Canadian amp maker Traynor gets a lot of respect in some circles for turning out solid, good-sounding tube amps that are built with quality components and, in many cases, can easily be modified toward a sonic condition more substantial than when they left the factory. It’s also frequently noted that they “blend British and American […]

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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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The National Silvo Electric Hawaiian

 

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One of the most innovative companies of the pre-World-War-II era, National found out quickly that innovation was a double-edged sword. Just as their resonator guitars of the late 1920s made the acoustic Hawaiian guitars of Hermann Weissenborn obsolete, electric guitars of (more…)

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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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Nioma Guitars

Rarities from a West Coast Music School
 
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NIOMA musical instruments from the 1930s and ’40s – with their vaguely Hawaiian-looking name – have mystified vintage-guitar enthusiasts over the decades when they’ve occasionally surfaced in retail shops and guitar shows. The seven known models – three acoustic guitars, two dobro-like resophonics, and two electric lap steels – were oriented to those who made […]

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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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Gretsch Country Gentleman

 
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Consider American guitar manufacturers that have been in business during the last 100 years and the different instruments they’ve produced. Only a handful  have become cultural icons – given no information except “Les Paul,” “Stratocaster,” “Telecaster,” and “White Falcon,” even non-players can identify them as guitars. It’s not uncommon to hear “Telecaster? That’s a Fender […]

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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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