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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

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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Horray For Hollywood

The Guitars and Amps of Jersey Boys
 
Horray For Hollywood

Movies made in the 1950s and ’60s that included rock-and-roll music acts typically showed them performing in segments using their own equipment (Little Richard and others in 1956’s The Girl Can’t Help It), or cast them in fictional stories in which they were usually given some inauthentic guitar (for example, Elvis in 1957’s Jailhouse Rock). […]

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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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L-5 to Super 400

The Story of Gibson’s Big Archtops
 
L-5 to Super 400

The archtop guitar is a uniquely American instrument which can be traced directly to the creative genius of one person – Orville Gibson. In the mid 1890s, the man who later formed the company started building guitars and mandolins with carved tops and backs, and though his creations were quite different from a modern jazz […]

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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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Perfect Curves

Fender’s Stratocaster Turns 60
 
Perfect Curves Fender’s Stratocaster Turns 60

Sixty years down the road since its creation, the Fender Stratocaster is the default image of the electric guitar for nearly all the human race. From early adopters like Buddy Holly to pioneering masterminds like Jim Hendrix and living legends like Eric Clapton, it has been a stalwart, always at hand for superstars, bedroom pickers, […]

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The Mesa/Boogie Mark IIC+

 
Mesa/Boogie Mark IIC+

Preamp tubes: four 7025 (12AX7 types) Preamp tubes: five 12AX7. Output tubes: two 6L6, two EL34. Rectifier: solid state Controls: Volume 1, Treble, Bass, Middle, Master 1, Lead Drive, Lead Master, five-band graphic EQ; Presence and Reverb on back panel. Speaker: EVM 12L Output: approximately 80 watts RMS SimulClass, switchable down to 15 watts Class […]

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Vintage Instruments and the Ban on Ivory Trade

 
Vintage Instruments and the Ban on Ivory Trade

A presidential executive order issued February 11 proposes a wide ban on trade in ivory has widespread implications for trade in vintage musical instruments as well as antique art, furniture, firearms, swords, knives, and jewelry. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has been tasked with writing and enforcing new regulations for import, export, and domestic trade […]

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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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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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