Dan Wilson

Akron’s Finest

On Things Eternal, jazz-guitar wizard Dan Wilson fuses post-bop, spirituality, and the songs of Stevie Wonder into a satisfying musical journey. The album is a celebration of those who have passed on, but don’t get it twisted; Wilson understands that what they left behind is the greatest gift of all, and he honors them with […]

1958-’59 Fender Twin Preamp tubes: one 12AY7, two 12AX7 Output tubes: four 5881 (6L6 equivalents), fixed bias Rectifier: GZ34 (5AR4) tube Controls: Volume, Volume, Treble, Bass, Middle, Presence Output: 80 watts RMS +/- Speaker: two 12” Jensen P12N Many tweed-o-philes get more excited about the small and mid-sized amps that they can crank up in […]

Designed more than 30 years ago, the latest incarnation of Charvel’s Pro-Mod So-Cal keeps the “super” in superstrat. An eye-catching, ergonomic guitar with alder body bolted to a U-shaped, oiled-maple neck with 12″ to 16″ radius, 25.5″ scale, compound-radius fretboard, and 22 jumbo frets, it also has an ebony fretboard with dot inlays, and other […]

Lloyd Loar

An Alternative View

The Master Model instruments created at Gibson in the early 1920s are famous for their sound and build. Credit for their design is often laid at the feet of “acoustic engineer” Lloyd A. Loar, but recent study calls into question the role he played – and may even position him as a mere tool of […]

BC Audio Grand Prix 100

Hand-Wired Heaven

For the past few years, builder Bruce Clement of BC Audio has been getting attention for his killer-sounding and meticulously wired tube heads and matching cabs. New for 2017 is his first two-channel head, the Grand Prix 100. The amp has an all-tube signal path and point-to-point wiring. Tube-o-philes will further dig the paper-bobbin transformers, […]

Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”

Eric Clapton’s “Blackie”

This may well be the most desirable Fender Stratocaster on the face of the planet. And it happens to be a beat-up mongrel assembled from parts taken from three 1950s guitars. Nevertheless, Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” is one of the most recognized celebrity-associated instruments in the history of the electric guitar, and it served Slowhand’s needs […]

Retro Guitar MelodyBurner

Retro Guitar MelodyBurner

Bite and Bark

Retro Guitar MelodyBurner Price: $999 (options available) Info: www.melodyburner.com In the realm of hot-rodded cars, there’s a cool genre known as rat rods – old, relic’d automobiles that sport a lowdown vintage vibe. Meet the rat axe. Retro Guitar’s MelodyBurner is a similarly cool guitar that also bites as loud as it barks. This Junior-styled […]

Dallas Shaftesbury 30

We mine the rich seam of obscure vintage American tube amps on a regular basis here in the pages of VG, but less often do we delve into the equally fascinating histories of B- and C-list British guitar amps of the 1950s, ’60s, and early ’70s. Nevertheless, there was plenty of life in the British […]

The Fender Bullet Deluxe/JP-90

No Frills, Didn’t Fly

    Fender has tried more than once to market basses with a low-budget vibe. And while the idea is laudable, most of the offerings never really caught on. In the early ’80s, Fender – then owned by CBS – was on a downward slide thanks in part to quality-control issues and uninspired products. And […]

Eddie Roberts

Making It Up As You Go

The New Mastersounds’ latest album, Made For Pleasure, has the usual mix of soul, jazz, funk, and even a bit of reggae, and of course the band is tight and focused. It may, however, surprise listeners that it was written and performed in the span of one week. “That’s pretty much how we work,” said […]

Influenced by Benson, Montgomery, and Christian: Jorge Garcia

Flavorful Jazz on “Dedicated to You” Jazz guitarist Jorge Garcia brings many flavors to his musical table. Here, his ’77 Ibanez Artist helps him exhibit a bit of “Dedicated To You,” the tasty title track from his latest album. Read our review in the August issue. Read Now!

Jeff Pilson

Definitive Diversity

Jeff Pilson’s career has included many notable facets. He rose to acclaim in the classic lineup of the hair-metal band Dokken, and since 2004 he has the bassist for classic-rockers Foreigner. Different genres don’t necessarily make for radically different approaches, and Pilson brought a high-energy approach to Foreigner, in the studio or onstage. Prior to […]

Tony Rombola

Gothic Blues

Godsmack guitarist Tony Rombola is moonlighting once again, on the third album by Apocalypse Blues Revival with fellow Godsmack member/drummer Shannon Larkin, bassist Brian Carpenter, and singer Shane Hall. The self-titled effort shows the band evolving beyond its blues-rock origins to a range of grooves including gothic psychedelia. Rombola’s playing goes otherworldly and trippy, with […]

Leslie West

Still Climbing

Upon first viewing you’ll notice that The Sound and the Story is different. The new video from guitarist Leslie West stands apart from other instructional guitar DVDs in that, while West is more than happy to show how to play some of his classic songs and discuss how he learned to play, his gregarious personality […]

Rod Abernethy

Fuzz: Carolina Acoustic Connections

A fixture on the North Carolina music scene, guitarist/songwriter Rod Abernethy has accumulated many memories, including the purchase of his mainstay instrument, a 1954 Gibson J-200. “When I graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in ’75, my mom wanted to give me a guitar for graduation,” he recalled. “She said I could buy any guitar I […]

Thin Lizzy’s Scott Gorham and Vivian Campbell

Live and Still Dangerous!

Thin Lizzy has cemented its place in history as one of the most influential rock bands of all time. Recognizable by its harmonized twin-guitar leads and a hard-edged sound, Lizzy inspired generations of musicians in the U.K. and around the world. The classic and most identifiable lineup paired guitarists Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson, though […]

The Real Story of Martin’s 14-Fret Orchestra Models

OM Irony

Martin Orchestra Model (OM) guitars made prior to World War II are some of the finest ever made for fingerpicking. That’s rather ironic, considering they were created specifically for flatpickers. • Much has been written about the OM-28, but some of that info, including how it was designed for Perry Bechtel, is a bit misleading. […]

Building a Studio

The Art of Home Recording

VG will equip readers with the knowledge and skill to achieve professional-sounding home recordings. We guide you through the setup of a home studio – a starting point to this brave new world.

Jam Pedals’ LucyDreamer Supreme


Like so many boutique gear companies, Jam Pedals has established a distinct sonic stamp. Its effects have an uncompromising retro personality known for warmth and quality. One of their latest, the LucyDreamer Supreme, is a two-in-one OD; the left side engages a clean boost while the right serves up a range of crunchiosity. The control […]

Harmony Comet

Michigan Meteor

Whoever coined the phrase “Everything old is new again” knew what they were talking about. The resurrected Harmony brand, associated decades ago with budget instruments (and at one time the largest guitar maker in the U.S.), began appearing on new guitars three years ago. And they’re still made in the U.S. – in the famed […]

Check This Action: So Long, Charlie and Top

I was saddened to hear of the passing of ’50s rocker Charlie Gracie on December 16. The 86-year-old rocker sure led a full life. I interviewed Charlie for VG in 2006 and, at 70, he was one of the most charming, vital artists I ever encountered. He regaled me with stories of an Italian-American upbringing […]

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