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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Gibson GA-20

 
Gibson GA-20

• Preamp tubes: two 12AY7, one 12AX7. • Output tubes: two 6V6, cathode-bias. • Rectifier: 5Y3 • Controls: volume for each channel, shared tone. • Speaker: Jensen Special Design P12R. • Output: approximately 16 watts RMS. Behold, this specimen that checks off all the right boxes for fans of vintage amps; beautifully clean, it has […]

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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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Ted Nugent’s 1962 Gibson Byrdland

 
Ted Nugent 1962 Gibson Byrdland

Anyone who’s ever caught Ted Nugent on tour has seen this instrument, and during the Summer of 2003 it was intended to be the only guitar used by the Motor City Madman during his one-hour slot. “That was pretty much due to time restraints,” said Dean Mitchell, who has been Nugent’s guitar tech for a […]

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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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Three Larsons

 
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At first glance, these three guitars appear to be a straightforward collection of different sizes of the same model. A comparable set of three Martins would be a 0-40, 00-40 and 000-40. However, these are Larson Brothers guitars, and when it comes to Larson models, nothing is that simple. Aesthetically, these guitars are identical (more…)

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DeArmond Tremolo Control

 
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Even now – four decades on – Billy F Gibbons remembers the first time he heard a DeArmond Tremolo Control work its peculiar magic. “We first heard the effect not knowing what it was,” he says, speaking in the royal plural and summoning up recordings including Muddy Waters’ (more…)

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Cole Eclipse Pro Special

 
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Straight-from-the-catalog instruments are fun – and reassuring – because you know exactly what you’ve got. But there’s another kind of thrill – and satisfaction – when you find something that’s totally off the radar, something that presents a mystery to be solved, like this circa 1913 Cole’s Eclipse banjo, which sports a Washburn headstock and […]

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Teisco Del Rey Basses

’60s Egalitarianism from Japan
 
Teisco Del Rey Basses

Teisco Del Rey basses from the 1960s are exemplary of the Japanese-made instruments that swept into the American market like a tsunami during the “guitar boom” – and were the primary contributor to the demise of America’s budget-guitar industry. Which means, of course, that an untold number of American teenagers played instruments like these. During […]

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Gibson’s Mastertone Banjos

 
Gibson’s Mastertone Banjos

This Gibson RB-3 five-string from 1925 is a rare piece, as is any five-string banjo from the era dominated by tenor banjos. But it’s more important as a representative of one of Gibson’s first steps in a desperate attempt to develop a competitive banjo. Gibson recognized the impending popularity of the tenor banjo as early […]

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Gibson’s Earliest Dreadnought?

 
Gibson’s Earliest Dreadnought

Gibson was a late entry into the flat-top guitar market, offering its first model in 1926, but Gibson was a pioneer in developing a dreadnought-sized flat-top, as illustrated by this unusual round-shouldered guitar with a 1929 serial number. It was made during a period when Gibson’s flat-tops were evolving at a frantic pace as Gibson […]

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