300

Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Dickerson Standard Lap Steel

 
DICKERSON_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

Though today they are viewed as little more than curious relics of a lost era, during the Great Depression, “mother of toilet seat” Hawaiian lap steels were one of the most popular types of guitar. You could argue that these little electrics blazed the trail for the later popularity of electric Spanish guitars. There were […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Martin Elegant, a.k.a. “Lula”

 
LULA_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

It’s an extraordinarily rare event to find a high-grade, historically significant mid-1800s guitar in a pawn shop, but that is indeed where this Martin was discovered. When found in Nashville in the mid 1970s, it was recognized as an exceptional instrument with ornamentation far in excess of any (more…)

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

The “Last” Trainwreck?

 
TRAINWRECK_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

Ken Fischer’s prolonged illness and subsequent death at the age of 61 remains one of the great tragedies of the guitar-amp world. Aside from the fact he was a good soul taken too soon, if this rare and genuine tube-amp guru had enjoyed better health and greater longevity, he would most likely have blessed the […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Danelectro’s Four-String Basses

 
4STRING_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

The guitars and basses made by Danelectro in the ’60s epitomized “no frills.” And though they were considered the nadir of American-made electric instruments of their time, many a babyboomer cut their musical teeth on one. The construction of most “classic” Danelectro-made guitars and basses – whether they were branded as Danelectro or the more-popular […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Dobro Model 27

Brother Oswald's Dobro - Country Music History Maker
 
OSWALD-HOME-MAIN-THUMB

The melodic, evocative warbling of a resonator guitar has for decades been a fixture in country music, and knowledgeable fans will tell you there’s one primary individual to thank for it – Pete “Bashful Brother Oswald” Kirby. Kirby was born in Sevierville, Tennessee, in 1911. His introduction to the resonator occurred circa 1929, thanks to […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Star Board: Tom Guerra

 
GUERRA_HOME-MAIN-THUMB

Guitarist/singer/songwriter (and VG contributor) Tom Guerra recently released his first solo album, All of the Above, which reviewer Pete Prown says is “hook-laden rock and roll originals that pay homage to everyone from the Beatles to the Byrds, and from Led Zeppelin to Mott (more…)

Posted in Classic Instruments | Leave a comment

Gibson GA-80T Vari-Tone

 
GIBSONVARTITONE_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

In the late ’50s and early ’60s, Gibson was apparently convinced the Vari-Tone switch was the way of the future, with its instant access to six different tones. But a high proportion of players who clocked serious miles on their ES-345 and 355 guitars had the switches disabled (and the guitars rewired to mono!). As […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Vox Guitars Invade America

From Dartford to Sepulveda
 

The Vox brand may be quintessentially English, but it made a huge impact in the U.S. Riding in with the 1964 British invasion, Vox even displaced Fender for a time as the land’s most desired amplifier. Vox guitars lacked the same impact (the Beatles didn’t play them, (more…)

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Heil Talk Box

 
HEILBOX_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

When Peter Frampton began using the Heil Talk Box in 1974, he remembers it being viewed with skepticism as an “alien effect.” Similar contraptions had been around since 1939, but few people recognized them or their otherworldly capabilities. Frampton had yet to record with it, so when he used it onstage, it caused a furor. […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment

Gibson Style J Mando-bass

 
GIBSONSTYLEJ_HOME_MAIN_THUMB

Decades before Audiovox or Leo Fender dreamed of making a fretted electric bass, Gibson started manufacturing fretted acoustic mando-basses that were tuned the same as an upright bass. Joe Spann, author of Spann’s Guide to Gibson 1902-1941 has assembled serial and work-order number information documenting Gibson’s production prior to World War II, which indicates mando-bass […]

Posted in Classic Instruments | Tagged | Leave a comment