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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Mosrite Basses

The Golden Decade: Ventures and Beyond
 
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Mention the Ventures to a pop-music aficionado and the conversation will likely focus on the surf-music phenomenon of the early 1960s or – if that person also happens to be instrument-savvy – the band’s affiliation with Mosrite guitars and basses. Though the partnership lasted only a half-decade, the Ventures have been perpetually associated with Mosrite, […]

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Park 75

 
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Park 75 Preamp tubes: three ECC83 (12AX7 equivalents) Output tubes: two KT88 Rectifier: solidstate Controls: Volume II, Volume I, Treble, Middle, Bass, Brightness Output: approximately 75 watts RMS We might not expect anyone to give much of a hoot for an amplifier with “Park” on its badge – a brand that has also graced budget-grade […]

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1933 Gibson L-5 “Special”

 
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Though many collectors focus on instruments in fine original condition, every so often one emerges that, regardless of condition, is no less exciting than a paleontologist finding the “missing link.” Everything there is to know about the Gibson L-5 designed by Carl Kress can be learned from this example, with the model designation “Special” hand-written […]

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Cole Eclipse Pro Special

 
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Straight-from-the-catalog instruments are fun – and reassuring – because you know exactly what you’ve got. But there’s another kind of thrill – and satisfaction – when you find something that’s totally off the radar, something that presents a mystery to be solved, like this circa 1913 Cole’s Eclipse banjo, which sports a Washburn headstock and […]

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Gibson’s ES-335

 
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Gibson’s first “semi-acoustic” thinline, the ES-335, was in essence a combination of features borrowed from earlier Gibsons. In an attempt to produce an instrument that was neither solid nor fully acoustic, Ted McCarty and the Gibson design team took inspiration from one of Les Paul’s earlier experiments. In the late ’30s, Paul built a prototype […]

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Custom Color Stratocasters

 
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The Stratocaster was born in 1954. A solidbody with three pickups, contoured back and top, vibrato, and bolt-on neck, it was different. And it changed the way people looked at, thought of, heard, and played guitar. With the exception of opera and classical music, it has played a considerable role in modern music. Over the […]

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1944 Martin 00-28

 
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This Martin 00-28 is a highly unusual instrument. Made as part of a group of six created with shop-order number 366 (dated 12/14/1944) and bearing serial numbers 90002 through 90007, they were entered on the Martin shop order slip as 00-28G, indicating they were classical guitars designed strictly for gut strings. There is no indication […]

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Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”

 
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This may well be the most desirable Fender Stratocaster on the face of the planet. And it happens to be a beat-up mongrel assembled from parts taken from three 1950s guitars. Nevertheless, Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” is one of the most recognized celebrity-associated instruments in the history of the electric guitar, and it served Slowhand’s needs […]

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The D’Angelico Excel Mandolin

 
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The 1,164 archtop guitars made by John D’Angelico have brought him great renown as the finest individual archtop guitar builder in the history of the instrument. His mandolins, however, are seldom talked about, even though – if this particular example from the early 1940s is any indication – they are worthy of the same attention. […]

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Peavey RJ-IV

 
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Peavey RJ-IV bass, serial number 04938996. Photo: Bill Ingalls Jr. Instrument courtesy of Naffaz Skota. Americans by the millions “know” Randy Jackson. But not many realize that his gig as one of three judges on TV’s “American Idol” is just the tip of the iceberg in his long musical career. The veteran bassist has played […]

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