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Category Archives: Gear

Bergen Guitars ST and TL

Messing with Perfection
 
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Bergen Guitars ST and TL Price: $2,195 (ST, base)/$2,595 (as tested); $1,895 (TL, base)/$2,295 (as tested) Info: www.bergenguitars.com. If your goal, as a solitary craftsman, is to improve upon two designs that are acclaimed paragons of industrial perfection, what do you do? Paul Bergeson, owner and luthier of Bergen Guitars in Lake Zurich, Illinois, began […]

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Cardinal’s Magpie

Bird in Hand
 
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Cardinal Magpie Price: $4,300 Contact: www.cardinalinstruments.com While most folks are happy to buy guitars off the rack, the Cardinal Magpie is a prime example of today’s handcrafted, built-to-order guitars that exist apart from the masses. Coming from the shop of Austin, Texas, luthier Sam Evans, the Magpie exudes old-world craftsmanship and crisp attention to detail. […]

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Epiphone Zenith Fretted and Fretless Bass

New Groove Territory
 
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For decades, guitar players have known the name Epiphone. Renowned for making great-sounding jazz boxes like the Zephyr and Emperor Regent, which have been seen in the hands of major artists, and models like the Texan and Casino were key to the sound of The Beatles. Even blues legends like John Lee Hooker flocked to […]

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Victoria Silver Sonic

Sonic Intoxication
 
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Victoria Silver Sonic Price: $3,395 Contact: victoriaamp.com For nearly 20 years, Victoria Amplifier Company has been making head-turning retro-styled amps. Mark Baier and his crew recently introduced the Silver Sonic, a lower-watt version of their popular Golden Melody amp that pulls together a host of features and circuit cues from the golden era of tweed […]

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Sebago Sound DT50

Texas Tone – And More
 
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Sebago Sound DT50 Price: $1,999 Contact: sebagosound.com The DT50 is the 50-watt version of Sebago Sound’s acclaime d Double Trouble amp line. Its mission? To capture classic Texas tone – and then some. The DT50 is packed with many high-end features that complement the quality tube tone provided by its circuitry. From left to right […]

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Railhammer Hyper Vintage Humbucker

Poles Apart
 
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Railhammer Hyper Vintage Humbucker Price: $139 list / $89 direct        Contact: railhammer.com Developed by Joe Naylor of Reverend Guitars, Railhammers are passive humbuckers that use a combination of pole pieces on the treble side and rails on the bass side. It’s an interesting motif with an effective purpose. The Railhammers’s six oversize […]

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New Orleans Guitar Company Model 8

Sonic Mojo
 
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New Orleans Guitar Company Model 8 Price: $2,999 Contact: neworleansguitar.com For over a decade, the New Orleans Guitar Company has been producing handcrafted electrics with an attention to design and detail possible only in a small shop. The vision of sculptor/luthier Vincent Guidroz was most eloquently conveyed in his Voodoo Custom and JB Custom guitars, […]

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Cort Z44

Single-Cut Shuffle
 
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Cort Z44 Price: $569 list/under $400 street Contact: cortguitars.com Just about everywhere you look these days, manufacturers are devising new spins on the single-cutaway solidbody. Cort has been a player on the import scene for decades and, with its Zenox-series Z44, shows it’s serious about being a player in the world of the single-cut. The […]

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Loar LH-309 VS Archtop

One Cool Cat
 
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Loar LH-309 VS Archtop Price: $569.99 (street) Contact: theloar.com As the retro craze delves deeper into six-string history, a spate of non-cutaway archtops have hit the market, celebrating an era when giants like Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, Charlie Christian, George Barnes, Eddie Durham, Carl Kress, and Oscar Moore laid down cool chords, sultry bends, and […]

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The Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi

Smooth Successor
 
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Electro-Harmonix Germanium 4 Big Muff Pi Price: $133 (list)/$99.75 (street). Contact: ehx.com. The Big Muff Pi overdrive is the effect stompbox that put Electro-Harmonix on the map, and in the decades since its introduction, it has undergone changes both subtle and substantial. Today, the company’s lineup includes no fewer than 10 versions including the newest, […]

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