Beat Portraits: Burns Volume 2

    The Black Bison Leads the Herd

    In early 2009, VG columnist Peter Stuart Kohman turned his focus on Burns, the pioneering British guitar builder. We’ve compiled the first three installments for a special edition of VG Overdrive. Watch for the complete history in the upcoming weeks. James Ormston Burns’ solo foray into the electric-guitar market began at the start of 1960;

    Rebel Boards’ Rockstar Pedalboard

    Songs from the Wood

    Rebel Board’s Rockstar Pedalboard Price: $159 (Rockstar); $199 (Rockstar Pro) Info: www.rebel-boards.com. Puzzle-piecing a pedalboard together is equal parts fun and frustration. If you’ve ever wished for a custom board but price got in the way, one manufacturer now has you covered. Rebel Boards produces a handcrafted wooden pedalboard called the Rockstar that measures 24″

    MOD Kits DIY 102+ Amp Kit

    Do It Yerself

    A good friend jokingly remarked that building tube amps is the legal equivalent of taking opiates – instantly gratifying yet highly addicting. If so, then MOD Kits’ 102+ just might be the “gateway” amp build. This 8-watt, vacuum-tube practice amp is beautifully laid out in its simplicity and the step-by-step assembly instructions are both thorough

    Tom Feldmann

    The Guitar of Robert Johnson

    “And the Oscar goes to…” If they gave out Academy Awards for the best guitar instructional film, Tom Feldmann’s latest on Robert Johnson would be a shoe-in. We rarely review instructional videos, but this one is something special. And it’s more than just a how-to guide: it’s an in-depth, note-for-note documentary look at the playing

    The DGN Custom Guitars Paragon Standard

    In Search of Perfection

    DGN custom guitars paragon standard Price: $3,000 (base) Contact: DGNcustomguitars.com. For the past few years, luthier Dan Neafsey has been making a name for himself from his small workshop in southern Connecticut, and for good reason. The instruments from DGN Custom Guitars are customized, hand-made, and of very high quality. One of his newest models is

    Bruce Kulick

    Wielding Power On BK3

    With his new album, BK3, Bruce Kulick brings out the big guns on what he calls his “…strongest solo disc ever.” Collaborating with friends old and new, he infused their personalities to create an album diverse in style and tones. He also raised the bar on his own musicianship. Kulick recently took us behind the

    Bob Barry

    Jazz Lenser, Guitar Lover

    Photographer/jazzographer Bob Barry is a busy man. Of course he enjoys frequent personal appearances at galleries and events showcasing his art, but his duties on the board of directors for the California Jazz Foundation and the Milt Hinton Award Committee for Excellence in Jazz Photography are just two commitments to which he is dedicated. For

    Lipe Guitars Maestro

    Lipe Guitars Maestro

    Whole Lotta Mahogany

    Lipe Maestro Price: $4,900 Contact: lipeguitars.com; phone (818) 352-6212 Mike Lipe has a wall of gold records. Why? Not because he’s a musical star, but because he’s a star to the stars. A former top builder at Ibanez, his creations have helped Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Andy Timmons, and many others become luminaries on the

    Tinsley Ellis

    Tinsley Ellis

    Tougher Than Ever

    After decades of roadhouses, bars, and international touring, bluesman Tinsley Ellis is still going strong. A 1979 graduate of Emory University, he always aspired to play blues guitar. “The first bluesy stuff I ever heard was by the British Invasion acts,” he recalled. “Hearing ‘Little Red Rooster’ by The Rolling Stones for the first time


    Nick Moss

    Musical Horizons Beyond Chicago

    Since 2007, guitarist/vocalist Nick Moss has released five albums on his Blue Bella label, including two live discs. And while Moss still loves his Chicago-style blues, his most recent effort, Here I Am, is an adventurous album. Though it begins with a raucous Windy City-type rave-up called “Why You So Mean,” by the third/title track,

    Mu-FX Phasor 2X

    Next Phase

    Mastermind effects mad scientist Mike Beigel is back with another re-creation of a classic Musitronics effect. The Mu-FX Phasor 2X is a time machine back to the bad old ’70s that includes several smart upgrades which make the future look a little bit brighter. In case you weren’t paying attention back in ’72, Beigel was

    The Pettyjohn Crush Compressor

    Big Squeeze

    Compressors can be a real mystery to guitarists who don’t understand the concept. Recording engineers bandy about words like “hard-knee” and “soft-knee” compression, “ratio,” “threshold,” and “transparency”; these are not guitarist-friendly terms. A test run on Pettyjohn’s Crush presents a good opportunity to discuss compressors in everyday guit-box talk. Let’s start with the phrase “studio-grade.”

    Thurston Moore

    Rock N Roll Consciousness

    There’s always been a push/pull relationship between the worlds of hippie-inspired jam bands and punk-inspired indie rock. While the latter has been known to regard the former as self-indulgent, the former sometimes holds that the indie camp is uninspiring at best, technically incompetent at worst. But that’s not to say it’s been all push and

    The Story of Nudie’s Mosrite Mandolin

    In the mid 1970s, Kosmo and Kathy Cominos collected knives, jukeboxes, wristwatches, etc… But their favorite finds were celebrity-associated musical instruments like this unique Mosrite mandolin, built for Nudie Cohn, the renowned cowboy tailor.

    Gibson Super Jumbo 100

    The Super Jumbo 200 is Gibson’s most celebrated flat-top model, and deservedly so, thanks to its use by cowboy movie stars in the pre-World War II years and by country music stars in the post-war years. The Super Jumbo 100, on the other hand, is one of Gibson’s more obscure models – a status it


    Beautiful Broken; The Ann Wilson Thing! #1 and #2

    Heart is beating hard again. It’s been four years since Ann and Nancy Wilson’s last release, but the sisters are back – and with a vengeance. Along with Heart’s 16th album, Ann has debuted two EPs. Beautiful Broken features remakes of seven Heart classics along with three new tunes, plus Metallica’s James Hetfield, who adds

    Worland Prairie

    Built For Speed

    Worland Prairie Price: $1,950 Info: www.worlandguitars.com. It’s been well-documented how car-crazy vets and teens in postwar America reimagined the American automobile. Some shaved, sprayed, and slammed contemporary two-door sedans, creating the custom car. Others invented the hot rod when they stripped prewar coupes and roadsters to their bare essentials, stroked and bored their Flathead mills,

    Mojotone ’58 Quiet Coil Strat Pickups

    Quiet, Please

    Players love that single-coil sound but hate the noise and hum that generally come with them. For the most part, “noiseless” pickups, whether stacked coils, side-by-side coils, or other designs, have meant something of a compromise between tone and hum-free operation. The new Mojotone ’58 Quiet Coil Strat Pickups use traditional side-by-side coils with blade