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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Gibson Style R Harp Guitar

 
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Harp guitars with a standard six-string guitar neck and varying numbers of sub-bass harp-style strings have been made by a variety of American builders. Some of the best-known include Gibson, Joseph Bohmann (of Chicago), Knutson (Seattle), and the Larson brothers (Chicago), who made them primarily under the brand of Dyer (a distributor based in St. […]

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Fender “Korinacaster”

Double-Cut Kuriosity
 
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There’s a bit of irony in the fact that Leo Fender, creator of the first solidbody electric guitar to be mass-produced, wasn’t known as the adventurous sort. Rather, history tells us he was a pragmatic, downright conservative guy for whom form very much followed function – a fact borne out in the bread-and-butter realities exhibited […]

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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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Parsons/White StringBender

 
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On September 20, 1983, Jimmy Page re-emerged into the public eye after the death of John Bonham and the breakup of Led Zeppelin with a thundering ovation at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Instead of a sunburst Les Paul, the model synonymous with his onstage persona with Zep, Page chose as his primary (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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Kay Jazz Special and Value Leader

 
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Kay entered the electric bass market in the mid 1950s with the K162, which later morphed into the similar K5965 (VG, March 2011), and while each met with a modicum of success, in 1960, the Chicago-based instrument maker introduced two near-polar-opposite four-strings. The epitome of the aesthetic excess for which Kay’s electric basses became known, […]

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