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Monthly Archives: December 2009

Gibson’s “blond” J-35

 

Photo: Kelsey Vaughn, courtesy George Gruhn. In the world of vintage guitars, people tend to use the words “blond” and “natural” interchangeably to describe a finish with no stain or pigment. However, in some cases, blond is a distinct color, different from natural. The standard (more…)

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Paul Reed Smith #11

 

The eleventh instrument made by Paul Reed Smith, from 1977. Photo by Whitney Lane. Rick Kennell, bassist for ’70s prog-rockers Happy the Man, was one of the very first players to jump aboard the Paul Reed Smith bandwagon. After learning to play bass (more…)

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Schecter Yngwie Malmsteen

 

1986 Schecter Yngwie Malmsteen For most of the 1970s I didn’t listen to or play electric guitar music of any kind, only acoustic music. I did, on occasion, read about it. Then, in 1981, I decided I needed to ride a (more…)

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Jerry Douglas – Glide

 

Fans may argue whether Jerry Douglas is the greatest dobro player of all time, but few will dispute that he’s the finest player of his generation. Pioneers such as Bashful Brother Oswald and Mike Auldridge could swing, but Douglas is the first who can shred, slide, (more…)

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Doitsch Hawaiian Guitar

 

1939 Doitsch Hawaiian Guitar. Photo: Michael Wright. If there’s a foundation for the enthusiasm for vintage guitars, it’s based on a somewhat arbitrary hierarchy of brand identity. That is to say, a Gibson or a Fender is by common understanding superior (more…)

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Rusty Truck

 

Jakob Dylan, Gillian Welch, Lenny Kravitz, T-Bone Burnett, Willie Nelson, and even Matchbox 20’s Rob Thomas all have a hand in producing, singing, and playing on this expanded edition of Rusty Truck’s debut. The band is helmed by Mark Seliger, former photographer for Rolling Stone. With (more…)

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Gibson Style U

Harp Guitar
 

Gibson Style U. Courtesy Gruhn Guitars. This Gibson Style U harp guitar, made in 1906 or ’07, represents the top level of the Gibson lineup in the company’s first quarter-century, as well as the highest level of expectations for a new and innovative (more…)

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Bill Monroe – Father of Bluegrass

 

First released on VHS in the mid ’90s, this documentary deifies Bill Monroe as the founder of bluegrass music and as an all-around swell guy. Whether the film crosses the line between documentary and puff piece depends on how you view Monroe’s legacy and personality. Not (more…)

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Trikuti – Trikuti

 

Trikuti is a unique band that goes from jazz to metal and back, not in a song-to-song pattern, but in the space of a few bars. The opener here, “2012,” is a perfect example, starting as a progressive-rock piece with hints of metal. By the time (more…)

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Matt Rae – High Strung

 

Matt Rae’s new record stretches beyond the Telecaster playing for which he is so well-known to include old-fashioned music a la Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West. In fact, the jazzy swing of “Happy Ending” is a very fun slab of music. But the record also goes (more…)

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