Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Hofner 185


Have you heard the line, “If Hendrix had a Magnatone, Strats would be worth $200 now?” A highly debatable proposition, for sure! But if Paul McCartney had not used a Höfner bass through much of the Beatles’ career, few collectors would remember the Höfner line today. Unlike (more…)

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’62 Les Paul Rarity

'62 Les Paul Rarity

In its early years, the Gibson Les Paul Custom evolved through several body-style and spec changes and was the earliest Gibson solidbody to have a Tune-O-Matic bridge and stop tailpiece; the Les Paul model (a.k.a. “goldtop”) did not have them until late ’55. First appearing in Gibson catalogs in 1954, the company actually made a […]

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National Bel-Air

National Bel-Air, Photo courtesy George Gruhn Big thmbnail

The idea of Gibson providing guitar parts to another prominent guitar maker is laughable today, but in the 1940s and ’50s, relationships were cozier between some of the major instrument companies. The evidence lies in this 1960 National Bel-Aire, one of several Nationals of the postwar era to feature a body made by Gibson. Outsourcing […]

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Robin’s ’80s Import Basses


While the Robin guitar brand’s reverse “imported then domestic” chronology has been documented in this space, the basses shown here are the first import models marketed by the company (and one of them is from the very first shipment). Robin guitars were marketed beginning in 1982, and basses (all manufactured by ESP in Japan) followed […]

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Rickenbacker Transonic


Rickenbacker Transonic TS100 Topology: Solid State Output: 100 watts RMS Controls: Volume, Treble, Bass controls and Hollow, Mellow and Pierce switches on each channel; Tremolo Speed and Depth, Reverb, and Fuzz-Tortion on Custom channel. Speakers: two 12″ Altec 417.

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Boggs’ Quad

Four-neck Fender from a friend
Boggs' Quad

Noted in musical history as one of the players who pushed the steel guitar beyond Hawaiian music to more-complex chording and wild interchanges with Spanish-style electric guitarists, Noel Boggs emerged from a tragic childhood, using the guitar and music as a motivator, guide, and ultimately, means to a make a living. Boggs was born in […]

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La Baye 2X4


1967, the Summer of Love. Everything still seemed possible, and anything went. No more war, racial and gender equality, Fresh Cream, the Beatles best record ever, the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Phew! What a difference the next (more…)

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National-Dobro 6107A

National-Dobro 6107A

Preamp tubes: 56, 57 Output tubes: two 2A3 Rectifier: 5Z3 Controls: Volume Output: 6 watts RMS +/- Speaker: one 10″ Lansing Model 112 Why doesn’t this ever happen to us? You ride along with your brother to an antique radio show just to give him some company – it’s his (more…)

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Custom-Order Gibson B-45-12


The term “rare” is applied to guitars in far too many instances. Usually an appealing term, its overuse can be attributed in part to the fact it’s particularly catchy to the eye of anyone fond of a collectible vintage instrument. The subject here this month, however, is truly deserving of the label. A custom-order Gibson […]

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Cry, Baby!

The Story of the Vox Wah

Beyond being crowned “Album of the Century” by Time magazine, Marley and the Wailers’ 1977 LP Exodus is a wah-wah masterpiece thanks to Junior Marvin and his Thomas Organ Cry Baby. Others – from Earl Hooker to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa to Sly Stone – made their mark with the pedal, but never has (more…)

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