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Category Archives: Classic Instruments

Road to Rock

The Electrifying Sounds of Post-War Guitar
 
Road to Rock–The Electrifying Sounds of Post-War Guitar

Fans often mark the beginning of rock and roll as either Elvis Presley’s Sun Sessions or Bill Haley & the Comets’ “Rock Around the Clock,” both recorded in 1954. But three years earlier, in early March of 1951, Jackie Brenston (more…)

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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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Supro S6651

Supro S6651 Big Star
 
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Don’t we guitarists just love gear that looks like it was salvaged from our mom’s kitchen circa 1961? Give us something in high-gloss pastel, with Formica styling, gas-cooker knobs, plenty of chrome, and an emblem lifted off a fridge door and we go weak in the knees every time. When it comes to kitchen kitsch, […]

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Star Board: Bruce Kulick

 
Bruce Kulick

Bruce Kulick played lead guitar in Kiss for more than a decade, and today stays busy as a solo performer and tours as a member of Grand Funk Railroad. Speaking of, here’s his primary pedalboard setup for that gig. “It’s simple and old-school,” he said. “I (more…)

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Guild in the Post-Fender Era

Round and Round She Goes
 
Guild in the Post-Fender Era

Since its beginnings in 1952, Guild has gone through many changes in ownership, location, marketing approach, and design philosophy. In the course of a change in ownership and three moves, the Guild line has seen major changes in materials, structural specifications, equipment, personnel, and techniques. It has been a strange odyssey, indeed. When Fender bought […]

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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’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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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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Gibson Basses in The ’70s

Plucky Trio from the “Downer Decade”
 
Gibson Basses in The ’70s

Guitar enthusiasts have long heard that the 1970s were the “downer decade” for Fender and Gibson, both of which introduced a few duds and struggled with quality control. Their travails continued until both were sold to new owners – Fender in ’85, Gibson in ’86. Exemplary of those unsuccessful instruments was a trio of solidbody […]

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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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