Fretprints: Fran Beecher

Rock-and-Roll Guitar Begins

The ripples that anticipated a rock-and-roll tsunami were in motion in the 1940s, when pop, “race records,” and country converged to produce rock’s first wave. Until then, pop music ranged from Top 40 crooner fare and swing jazz to Latin and novelty numbers. Race records – blues, gospel, boogie-woogie and prototype R&B – and country/western, […]


Moving Pictures 40th Anniversary

If “The Spirit of Radio” helped Rush kick open the door to FM radio, its 1981 follow-up elevated them to blockbuster status. To mark the occasion, this 40th-anniversary Moving Pictures comes in tantalizing combinations of CD, Blu-Ray, ATMOS and 5.1 mixes, and vinyl. Along with the studio anthems, the jackpot is an unreleased ’81 concert […]

Harvey Valdes

Switched-On Bach

Ever since Andrés Segovia elevated the nylon-string guitar to a serious classical instrument a century ago, players have been performing the music of J.S. Bach – the gold standard of classical-guitar literature. Today, Harvey Valdes is continuing the tradition, with one huge difference – he’s using a solidbody electric. On Novare: J.S. Bach Lute Works on […]

Jerry Miller

Back to Basics

Jerry Miller is back. For many he never left – especially admirers of his innovative playing with the legendary Moby Grape. Clapton, Page, and Stills are on that list, as well as dozens of guitar heroes. Miller reached out to VG to share a preview of his newest recording venture, which finds him moving in […]

Eric Clapton

Crossroads Festival 2019

Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival has become the guitar event since its inception in 1999. With a diverse cast of the greatest pickers in the world, the event is a fundraiser for Clapton’s drug rehabilitation facility on the island of Antigua. This one marked the event’s return after a six-year hiatus. Available in three CDs, two […]

Remembering Tom Petty

In the colossal wake of the Beatles, Tom Petty – more than most – was that kid the Byrds spoke to in “So You Want to Be a Rock and Roll Star.” In fact, Petty’s 1985 cover with The Heartbreakers on Pack Up the Plantation could well have been a prologue to his biography; his […]

R. C. Allen

R.C. Allen


R.C. Allen, a noted luthier who built archtops for local and regional players of note and was a fixture at vintage-guitar shows in Southern California, died March 2. Allen was renowned for sharing his secrets of guitar building and was the last of the original electric-guitar builders in Southern California. Known for his archtops, he […]

Benson Model 300H

Wrecking Ball

Even with all the excellent guitar amps available by the late ’60s, nothing was quite good enough for jazz and studio great Howard Roberts – so he co-designed his own. This 1971 Benson combo spent many years with a former Roberts student, and reveals what might have been one of the world’s top combos, had […]


Fender 5E7 Bandmaster

Preamp tubes: one 12AY7, two 12AX7 Output tubes: two 6L6s, fixed biased Rectifier: 5U4G tube Controls: Volume, Volume, Treble, Bass, Presence Output: 28 watts RMS +/- Speaker: three 10″ Jensen P10R Two decades ago, when renewed appreciation of Fender’s narrow-panel tweed amps of the late ’50s really started to boom, the Bassman was generally considered […]

Rick Turner Model 1 Deluxe LB

All-Terrain Guitar

Ever wonder about that strange-looking guitar Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac has been playing all these years? The same one John Mayer has occasionally been spotted with as well? It’s the Rick Turner Model 1, and if you want the straight dope on this unique instrument, you’ve come to the right place. Rick Turner, co-founder […]

Dan’s Guitar RX: Mending Chuck Panozzo’s 1960 ES-125

Thinline Revival

Like you, I got a kick out of the February “Classics” feature on Chuck Panozzo being reunited with his Gibson ES-125TC, which had suffered water damage and was literally coming apart at the seams. The feature couldn’t dig into how the guitar was repaired, but the work was done by my good friends Doug and […]

John Jorgenson

Stringed-Instrument Ecstasy

The title of John Jorgenson’s new three-CD boxed set, Divertuoso, combines two words – “diverse” and “virtuoso” – to aptly describe its contents. Consisting of an album of gypsy jazz (Returning), bluegrass (From the Crow’s Nest), and electric-guitar instrumentals (Gifts from the Flood), Jorgenson said they while they were started at different times, “There was […]

Metal Pedals JH-3

Metal Pedals JH-3

Swiss-Army Distortion

Metal Pedals JH-3 Price: $235 (list) Contact: www.metalpedals.com Like a Swiss Army knife, the multifunction Metal Pedals JH-3 Johnny Hiland has more options than you’d expect in such a small package. Hiland, solo artist and session man for folks from Toby Keith to Hank III, was so inspired after playing through Metal Pedals’ Bomb Shell […]

Exquisite fingerstyle from Will Ackerman

Trademark Melodies from an Icon Will Ackerman and his Steve Klein guitar show us a piece of the lovely “I Had To Go There” from his new album, “Positano Songs.” He also introduces us to his Froggy Bottom signature guitar and a parlor guitar gifted to him by Michael Hedges. Catch our review of the […]

TTS Music BMT Overdrive

TTS Music BMT Overdrive

Fine-Tune Your Crunch

TTS Music BMT Overdrive Price: $175 Info: www.ttspickups.com. No, the “BMT” in the name of TTS Music’s overdrive pedal does not stand for a “bacon, mayo, and tomato.” The initials simply indicate Bass, Middle, and Treble, which are all this pedal needs to be interesting. No groovy, ironic hipster name – just a nice dark-red […]

Gilby Clarke - Grit & Glory

Grit & Glory

Gilby Clarke and His Guitars

The drive to succeed – along with certain workaholic tendencies – revealed themselves early in rock guitarist Gilby Clarke. On the brink of becoming a “problem child,” he turned the tide on misfortune after his parents’ marriage fell apart. Wanting to be closer to family, Clarke’s mother took her children from Cleveland to California, and […]

Fender’s ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Fender’s ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb

Improving on a Good Thing

Fender’s ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb Price: $999.99 list Contact: www.fender.com In 1968, Fender gave its amp line what collectors today look back on as a major facelift when it introdued the silver-and-turquoise silkscreened faceplate and aluminum “drip edge” grille trim. The company recently reissued that classic look with its ’68 Custom Deluxe Reverb, but this […]

Gibson 1928 L-1 Blues Tribute

Blues Time Machine

Gibson 1928 L-1 Blues Tribute Price: $4,255 retail; $3,299 street Info: www.gibson.com. The Gibson L-1 boasts the kind of intriguing history that makes it a legend. In the late 1920s, it was the company’s low-end model. But Mississippi Delta blues man Robert Johnson happened upon one: two surviving photographs show him holding an L-1, though […]

SCOTTY MOORE's GIBSON ES-295 Vinatge guitar Magazine

Scotty Moore’s Gibson ES-295

First Guitar of Rock and Roll

Like a hound dog hit by lightning, the first notes of rock and roll blasted out of radios across the country in July of 1954, courtesy of Elvis Presley’s supercharged-hillbilly singing on “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon Of Kentucky,” backed by Scotty Moore’s guitar. It was the twang heard ’round the world. That guitar […]

Have Guitar Will Travel – Featuring 005 BottleRock Music Festival Pt. 2

James hits BottleRock again and speaks to blues-rock guitarist Hamish Anderson, singer/songwriter Matt Maeson, and Bay Area picker Milo Horstman. Each episode is available on Apple Podcast, Stitcher, iheartradio, Tune In, Google Play Music, and Spotify! Have Guitar Will Travel, hosted by James Patrick Regan, otherwise known as Jimmy from the Deadlies, is presented by Vintage […]

Eugene Edwards

Outlaw Twang, Rockabilly Swagger

Country music icon Dwight Yoakam employs one of the hardest-working bands on the road today. A quintet including Yoakam, they’re keeping alive the outlaw edge of the genre’s past. With a take-no-prisoners approach, axe-man Eugene Edwards delivers a barrage of tasty licks spiced by the occasional Pete Townsend windmill while wearing a smile night after […]