Category Archives: Classic Instruments

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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Maestro Fuzz-Tone


Fuzz. It’s the sound of fury, aggravation, indignation, and – considering the history of the most famous fuzzbox of all time, Maestro’s Fuzz-Tone – dissatisfaction. It’s also fitting as some of the first recorded electric fuzz guitar was heard via Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Willie Lee Johnson, (more…)

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Rickenbacher Model 200A


Several vintage amplifiers that have graced these pages over the years have taken us back to the early days of guitar amplification – the early 1950s, maybe even late ’40s with some of the crustier subjects. This month, however, we travel way back, to the dawn of the electric guitar itself, to visit an amplifier […]

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Beyond the Parlor

Part Two: Man and Machine
Beyond the Parlor Part Two: Man and Machine

Ed. Note: In part two of his series on the guitar in 19-century America, Tim Brookes addresses the common belief that the guitar was strictly a ladies’ parlor instrument by finding guitars being made – and played – by men. “Over the last century,” began a recent guitar history, parroting conventional wisdom, “the guitar has evolved from a […]

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The Martin 0-42

Martin 0-42

Through the years, Martin’s dreadnought, OM, and 000 guitars may have gained the most notoriety. But for the sweetest and best-quality sound, Martin itself recommends the size 0, exemplified by this 0-42. There’s obviously a catch to that statement, since only two of Martin’s current offering of over 200 models are size-0 guitars. The recommendation […]

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An Odd Gibson EH-150

10 Strings, Lap-Style
Gibson EH-150

Lap-steel guitars were the first commercially available electrics – ancestors of the guitars we plug in today, regardless of their shape. The popularity of Hawaiian music in the 1930s had a great deal to do with a surge in popularity of lap steels – and quickly after, the introduction of Spanish-style steel-string and electric guitars. […]

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Matchless DC-30

Matchless DC-30

Preamp Tubes: One EF86, three 12AX7s (one for PI) Output Tubes: Four EL84s in class A, cathode-bias. Rectifier: GZ34 Controls: Channel 1 – Volume, Bass, Treble: Channel 2 – Volume, Tone: Shared – Cut, Master Speakers: one Celestion G12M Greenback, one Celestion G12H-30 (modified) Output: 30 watts RMS While one-man operations like Dumble and Trainwreck […]

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