Denny Laine, best known for his affiliations with the Moody Blues and Paul McCartney and Wings, died  December 5 after an extended battle with interstitial lung disease. He was 79. Raised in Birmingham, England, Laine was the founding guitarist of the Moody Blues and sang lead on the band’s first hit single, “Go Now,” which […]

Remembering Jeff Beck

The Guitar Hero, Defined

Jeff Beck, the guitarist who pushed the ’60s British Invasion band the Yardbirds from its electric-blues roots to a contemporary rock-and-roll sound before becoming one of the most-influential musicians of his generation, died January 10 after being stricken with bacterial meningitis. He was 78. Born Geoffrey Arnold to Arnold and Ethel Beck on June 24, […]

David Gilmour playing a rare Stratocaster doubleneck? You’ll see that 1972 photo and others in this reference book documenting Floyd’s many North American tours (FYI, one Strat neck was set up for slide). Largely a compilation of tour dates, setlists, and memorabilia with brief historical descriptions, what makes this tome interesting is the way it […]

This 30th-anniversary reissue of Judas Priest’s 1986 album is above average, but not for the reason you might think. Turbo itself was slick ’80s metal, festooned with guitar synthesizers and that ubiquitous “gated” snare drum, à la Phil Collins. It’s all remastered here, for better or worse, but the real prize is a pair of […]

The ‘‘Blackburst’’

The ‘‘Blackburst’’

Les Paul Standard of a Different Shade

Among experienced (and often jaded) veteran guitar collectors, precious few things create an adrenaline rush – strange one-offs, oddball brands that never quite blossomed, guitars with non-standard parts/materials from the factory, or those once owned by an icon. Even better, those personally built by an icon. And every so often, there emerges a guitar like this – a true classic that simply […]

30 Most Valuable Guitars

To mark VG’s 30th anniversary, we dig into the 30 most-valuable production guitars.

Steve Gunn

Eyes On The Lines

Drawing inspiration from a decade on the road, guitarist-singer-songwriter Steve Gunn’s debut for Matador Records chugs along like a handsome old train, ending up in a spot perhaps best described as an Americana Television (Television, as in the seminal 1970s New York City band, not the medium). It’s fresh rock-folk, with guitars gloriously at the […]

Killer Guitar Components Killer Trem Bridge

Bridging the Gap

In the mid 1950s, Leo Fender and his crew spent countless hours on the design and manufacture of their revolutionary new Stratocaster tremolo bridge. And in the 60-plus years since its introduction it has, in many cases, been taken for granted when it comes to a guitar’s tone and playability. With their new high-quality replacement […]

Kelly Mulhollan

True Faith, True Light: The Devotional Art of Ed Stilley
Divine Inspiration

Arkansas farmer Ed Stilley was plowing his fields in 1979 when he was struck down by a heart attack; lying in the dirt, he had a vision that God wanted him to build guitars and give them to children around the country to make music. Once recovered, he began crafting instruments of his own design, […]

Buddy Merrill


Buddy Merrill, guitarist, steel-guitarist, composer, arranger, recording artist, and occasional vocalist, died December 5. He was 85. A seasoned musician by age 18, Merrill became a member of Lawrence Welk’s orchestra, featured on Welk’s weekly ABC-TV program from 1955 until ’74. Welk’s program targeted older adults, yet Merrill’s playing inspired countless babyboomers to take up […]

Various Artists

Bill Frisell and Thomas Morgan and Dominic Miller

Bill Frisell is a living jazz icon, famed for his ethereal tone and snaking post-bop lines. Here, he partners with Thomas Morgan for a live set – just guitar and standup bass – cut at the Village Vanguard in New York. It’s intimate and beautiful, as you’d expect from ECM. “It Should Have Happened A […]

Country Player of the Year

Albert Lee Awarded in 2018 Known primarily as a virtuoso sideman, over the past half-century, Albert Lee journeyed from British country-rocker to international fame as an innovative, explosive guitarist, working alongside country and rock legends and doing his own solo projects. Find all the details in the 2018 VG Readers’ Choice Awards. Glen Campbell Awarded […]

Greta Van Fleet’s Jake Kiszka

Heavy Steps : Road Ready

“Rock and roll is a young man’s game.” Once upon a time, it was the genre’s calling card. A half-century later, though, young bands playing bombastic guitar rock often trod to gain acceptance from the very crowd that so stridently preached. Witness: Greta Van Fleet. The foursome from Frankenmuth (Michigan) emerged in 2017, offering art […]

Reverend’s Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike

Wheelie Machine

Signature guitars tend to be either fan-boy models, the owners of which hang them alongside a collection of signed 8×10 glossies of the artists, or they’re useful instruments that just happen to carry the name of a famous chap. The Reverend Reeves Gabrels Dirtbike is ensconced in the second camp. Gabrels is a noted solo […]

Roy Buchanan

The Life and Times of Roy Buchanan

  Roy Buchanan and his battered 1953 Telecaster guitar got inside your head and grabbed you in the gut. He had eclectic musical tastes, an arsenal of techniques, a devotion to craft, and something to say. And he said it with soul. Those are mere generalizations, of course, and Buchanan commanded such diverse skills it […]

Guild Bluesbird

Flyin’ High Again

The Guild Bluesbird has a long history that began in the 1950s with Guild’s answer to the Gibson Les Paul –the M-75 Aristocrat, later renamed the M-75 Bluesbird. The guitar appeared in the Guild catalog for years before it was discontinued in the 1970s. It remained off the radar until the mid-1990s, when Guild reissued […]

Brian Setzer

Sparking Another Rockabilly Riot

Three decades, umpteen records, and several stellar bands into his career, and Brian Setzer still makes rockabilly sound fresh and exciting. This album has much of the verve of his debut, 1981’s Stray Cats, and his so-called “’68 Comeback Special,” Ignition. For a musician this far along in his career, that’s saying something about his […]

Godin A6 Ultra Baritone

Sub Sandwich

The basic premise of a baritone is that it allows guitar players to occasionally twang genuine bass notes – not enough to get in the way of the bassline, but still adding a deep, meaty girth to any phrase, riff, or chord. Godin’s A6 Ultra has a 27.7″ scale, yet a surprisingly medium weight, thanks […]

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Avid Technology Eleven Rack

Rack and Roll

The proliferation of digital guitar gear grows by leaps and bounds every year as more players learn to love the world of tones and effects offered by the technology. You’ll obviously get no argument from us that tube amps and analog stompboxes are great, but for more and more musicians, digital is here to stay. […]

Hornby Skewes Zonk Machines

Hornby Skewes Zonk Machines

Fuzz Bonk

In 1965, fuzz was the “it” sound. Guitarists had recorded with fuzz before, of course, but after Keith Richards plugged into a Maestro Fuzz-Tone on “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” its sound was suddenly essential. In England, finding fuzz was an endeavor; the Maestro was expensive and difficult to track down. As a result, even […]

Fretprints: Jeff Beck

The JBG: Birth of Heavy Metal?

The proverbial chicken-or-egg conundrum has an equivalent in the spirited debate over the Jeff Beck Group versus Led Zeppelin as progenitors of heavy metal. There’s a bit of truth in either. Heralded by many as the birth cry of metal, Truth was Beck’s first album as bandleader, and the 1968 release pre-dates Zep by several […]

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