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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Gibson EB-2

Kalamazoo’s Biggest Bass Innovation?
 
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In the mid 1950s, Gibson president Ted McCarty was paying close attention to two new instruments impacting the musical-instruments market – the solidbody electric guitar and the electric bass. Both had been developed by an upstart company called Fender, and Gibson’s original solidbodies, the Les Paul guitar and Electric Bass (VG, February ’06) were introduced […]

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Fender Jazz Bass

 
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“Stack-knob” is a catch phrase that for decades has perked the ears of collectors; these relatively rare examples of the earliest Fender Jazz Bass are among the first electric basses to be “collected” instead of just bought, sold, and played! Along with the ’50s Precision, they stand as the ultimate Fender bass – sought for […]

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Big Beat Boys

Musings on Fab and Gear, 50 Years Ago
 
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Americans tend to link the beginnings of the Beatles phenomenon to a specific date – February 9, 1964, when the group first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” The truth, as always, is that the band’s records had crashed the American charts weeks before, and the run-up to this seemingly overnight phenomenon had taken years. […]

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Gibson EDS-1275 and EMS-1235

 
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It’s hard not to associate doubleneck electric guitars with images of Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page or fusion guru Mahavishnu John McLaughlin in the ’70s; however, the fact is that by the time the Big Js were stopping shows with these multi-headed beasts, they were already relics of the past. Doubleneck Spanish guitars got their first […]

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Kramer Aluminum-Neck Basses

 
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When it entered the music-instrument market in 1976, Kramer Guitars made a big splash with an aggressive marketing campaign, big-name endorsers, and – most importantly – an improved approach to the then-fresh concept of aluminum necks. In terms of stability, the aluminum neck was seen as an improvement over wood. And while Kramer Guitars followed […]

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Lyon and Healy

 
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So what is it? Its original black-finished spruce top is simply ladder-braced from within, but its back and sides feature Brazilian rosewood with dramatic bookmatched figure. Its unbound 18-fret fingerboard –also of rosewood – sports only a few small, round dots for position makers, yet intricate multicolored wood purfling graces much of the rest of […]

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The G&L El Toro

 
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At the beginning of 1983, Leo Fender was just more than three years into his last guitar-manufacturing venture when he decided to diversify the company’s bass lineup. Until that point, G&L had marketed the one-pickup L-1000, the two-pickup L-2000, and the no-frills SB-1 and SB-2 models – all with fairly traditional, straightforward designs. The brand’s […]

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Fender’s First Reissues

The CBS era concludes in style
 
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By the late 1970s, cumulative changes in the details of the various classic guitar models on the market – Fender’s Stratocaster and Telecaster, and Gibson’s Les Paul – were so numerous that the instruments barely resembled their original versions. Serious electric guitar players and collectors clamored for reissues of the original instruments. But both manufacturers, […]

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Fender‘s 50th Anniversary Strat

Height of the Reissue
 

In celebration of the 50th “birthday” of its famous Stratocaster model, Fender has taken the reissue concept to new heights. • And why not? Arguably the most popular guitar – electric, acoustic, you name it – ever built, the Stratocaster is the epitome of a pop music legend, and a huge part of Fender’s history […]

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Echoplex EP-2

 
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Sam Phillips didn’t invent tape echo with his mid-’50s recordings of Elvis, but he just as well may have. So influential, so inspirational were those songs – with their warm, glorious slap-back echo created in Sun’s control room by two jerryrigged tape recorders – that budding rock-and-rollers everywhere had to have it. With the arrival […]

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