Current Issue

March 2017 VOL. 31 NO. 05

Read about one lucky player’s super-rare ’59 Les Paul Standard! Plus, we interview Jon Butcher, Phil Campbell, and others, Wolf Marshall unveils the magic behind Steve Vai’s playing, and we go deep into the saga of Micro-Frets. All this along with our renowned instrument profiles including a beautiful one-off 1940 Gibson Super 400, the Watkins Dominator amp, “Approved Gear” reviews, “Hit List” music reviews, and much more!

All this and more…

GET THIS ISSUE — order the print edition in the VG Shop, download a digital copy in the VG app, OR browse now, the FREE online digital issue.



› Not a Paul, Not a Strat…
The Electra Omega X230
The mid ’70s saw an explosion of guitars like this, on which designers gave players more control of their tones via the instrument itself rather than forcing them to rely on pedals or racks full of black boxes. | By Michael Wright

› Crying V
The Watkins Dominator
Delightfully twee, this was the flagship of a pioneering amp maker who, like Leo Fender, was amongst the first to address the needs of a new breed of guitarist. | By Dave Hunter

› Sharp-Shooter Special
The William Peale, Jr. Gibson Super 400
Ordered by a genuine Texas cowboy and inductee to the National Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame, it needed an extra something. So, Gibson customized it with the owner’s name in mother-of-pearl inlay on the fingerboard and a few other decorative details. | By George Gruhn and Staff

› Mike Anthony
Jazz Big-Leaguer
A protegé of the great Howard Roberts, he spent decades as a first-call session player. Lauded by peers for his talent and work ethic, today he plays to honor other jazz-guitar greats and teaches the form to college students. | By Jim Carlton

› Genius in MD
The Micro-Frets Saga
Ralph Jones should be listed alongside Leo Fender and Ted McCarty in the pantheon of pioneering guitar builders; when he started making guitars in a small shop in Maryland, Jones was doing something very different for 1965. | By Ward Meeker

› Paul in the Family
Chris Arena’s ’59 LP Standard
While parents typically cringe when a child declares their intent to be a professional musician, Steven Arena not only encouraged his eldest son to make a living by playing music, he unabashedly offered a bribe in the form of a six-stringed family heirloom. | By Ward Meeker


Reader Mail

News and Notes
Cropper Guitars to the Smithsonian; Gill and the Songbirds Museum; Clapton Sells Guitars; PhD “Guitar Heroes” Survey

Greg Lake

Ask Zac

Johnny Nicholas
Musical Polyglot

Andy Timmons
Back to the Bread ’N Butter

Jon Butcher
Beyond the Axis

Dana Sutcliffe
Here’s the Scoop

Phil Campbell
Motöring Ahead

Jimi Bell
Lord of Shred


Vintage Guitar is marking its 30th anniversary by sharing the FREE online digital issue! It is compatible with the browser on most computers and hand-held devices. See for yourself!

Vintage Guitar Price Guide
Order the 2017 VG Price Guide AND get the bonus digital edition FREE! The digital edition access code will be delivered with your print edition.

Upcoming Events

Vintage Guitar Classified Ads

Dealer Directory

Builder Showcase

Dealer Showcase

Readers Gallery


The (Way) Back Beat
Depression, Deco, and the L-Something | By Peter S. Kohman

Steve Vai | By Wolf Marshall

Guitars With Guts
1926 Domingo Esteso | By R.E. Bruné

Q&A With George Gruhn

Dan’s Guitar Rx
An “Easy” Repair? | By Dan Erlewine

Shop of Hard Knocks
Blending Tones | By Will Kelly


App store logo
Download our app from the iTunes App Store and purchase the current VG app edition! Use the app to stay up-to-date on the VG newswire, and it’s a great place to buy a single VG app edition and take advantage of the monthly subscription option.

The VG Hit List
Rolling Stones, Don Rich, Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, Robbie Robertson, Bob Dylan, more!

Check This Action
Jazz: Swinging and Swooning | By Dan Forte

VG Approved Gear
John Page Custom AJ, BMF Effects GeSpot Fuzz, Jon Kammerer Dorado, Nocturne Dyno Brain Booster, TWA WR-3 Wah Rocker, Xotic Effects RC Booster V.2, Yamaha LL-TA TransAcoustic, Peavey 6505 Piranha, Gizmotron 2.0, Fender Johnny Marr Jaguar

Gearin’ Up!
The latest cool new stuff! To be included in Gearing’ Up, contact us at


Brian Setzer/Gretsch Giveaway

Gretsch G6120 SH valued at more than $4,000!

›› Enter Giveaway I ‹‹

Recycled Sound Giveaway

Recycled Sound Power Plug 100 attenuator from – $199.95 value!

›› Enter Giveaway II ‹‹

Carvin Giveaway

Carvin Vintage 16 – $699 value!

›› Enter Giveaway III ‹‹


› Reader Mail
Send letters to or mail to:Vintage Guitar, Inc. Attn: Reader Mail, PO Box 7301, Bismarck ND 58507.

› Readers Gallery
Check out the current issue Readers Gallery or VG’s Online Readers Gallery

Send your photos to: or mail to: Vintage Guitar, Inc. Attn: Readers Gallery, P.O. Box 7301, Bismarck, ND 58507.

Readers submit photos with the understanding that they may be used in any VG, Inc. project. Due to the volume of photos we receive, we are unable to return them, please do not send us your only print.