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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Out-Stratting the Strat

The Story of the G&L S-500
 
Out-Stratting the Strat

It would be an understatement to say that Leo Fender, with the help of George Fullerton, was prolific in the years after he sold Fender Electric Instruments. The tag team designed an astounding number of guitars and basses at G&L; Fender developed new pickups, circuits and hardware, while Fullerton designed a guitar or bass for […]

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Star Board: Craig Bartock

 
Star Board: Craig Bartock

This month, we take a guided tour of the pedalboard belonging to Craig Bartock, guitarist with Heart. Craig Bartock, a well-known (and busy) guitarist/composer, has been the touring lead guitarist for Heart since 2004. Those who’ve seen him play live know that his tone is amazing; he relies on two Vox AC30 amps, several classic […]

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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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1933 Gibson L-00

 
Gibson L-00

While most of the instruments featured in this space are high-end, often elaborately ornamented models that were expensive when new and command high prices today as collectible, the L-00 was the least-expensive guitar offered by Gibson when it was introduced in the March/April, 1931, issue of Gibson’s Mastertone newsletter. The announcement said the guitar, which […]

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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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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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’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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