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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Gibson’s Experimental Archtop

 

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Orville Gibson invented the carved-top guitar in the 1890s. The Gibson company refined the design with the addition of f-holes in 1922, and brought the concept to full potential in the mid ’30s with larger-bodied (more…)

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Late 1920s Gibson L-1 (Flattop)

Gibson "Florentine"
 
Late 1920s Gibson L-1 "Florentine" Home page main

Because I don’t know what to call this Gibson guitar, I refer to it as a “Florentine,” for lack of a better name. Though the body decoration is unlike any cataloged Gibson guitar, the fingerboard and headstock ornamentation is almost identical to Gibson’s Florentine banjo (made between 1927 and ’37). In size, shape, construction and woods, […]

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Three Small Tweeds

Fender Princeton, Deluxe, and Tremolux
 
Fender Princeton, Deluxe, and Tremolux

From 1954 through ’59, the Fender Electric Instrument Mfg. Co. built guitar amplifiers with controls mounted atop using “chickenhead” knobs that go to 12, and covered with “the finest airplane luggage linen.” This line represents the company’s classic “tweed era,” and from the (more…)

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1905 Gibson F-2

 

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In the opinion of most American mandolinists, Gibson brought mandolin design to a level of perfection in 1922, with the introduction of the Master Model F-5. It wasn’t much earlier – 25 years or so – that Orville Gibson created the F model as one of two mandolin body styles (the other being the symmetrical […]

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Clapton’s Fool

History’s Greatest Guitar?
 
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Eric Clapton’s The Fool. A name immediately recognizable to guitarists, yet baffling to others. What is Clapton’s Fool? Very simply, it is one of the most important and famous electric guitars in the history of the instrument. In the hierarchy of guitars, the bottom of the pyramid’s capstone is made up of guitars that are […]

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Ampeg R-12-R Reverberocket

 
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1962 Ampeg R-12-R Reverberocket Preamp tubes: two 6SL7, two 6SN7 Output tubes: two 6V6, cathode-biased Rectifier: 5Y3 Controls: Volume, Tone, Dimension (reverb), Speed, and Intensity (tremolo) Speakers: Jensen Special Design C12R Output: approximately 18 watts RMS In the view of Ampeg main man (more…)

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Fender Harvard

 
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Given the current craze for semi-small “home” and “recording” amps, Fender’s 5F10 Harvard of 1955-’60 could be the ideal tweed amp, yet, in its day, it fell between two stools and never sold in large numbers. Or, make that three stools. With the Champ and Princeton in its rear-view mirror and the Deluxe and Tremolux […]

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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 (more…)

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’68 Truetone by Kay/Valco

 
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The year 1968 was not a good one for American manu­facturers of stringed instruments. M.C.A. closed the original Danelectro, and what was left of Kay and Valco was locked in a tailspin. Valco bought the remnants of Kay in ’67, and attempted to combine the brand with their own products, but to no (more…)

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