Sonny Landreth

Live In Lafayette

When music fans discuss upper-echelon slide mastery, the name Sonny Landreth tops most lists. The preeminent slide-guitar stylist of his generation, his touch not only harkens to the masters, but yields fresh and innovative techniques. His new album, Recorded Live In Lafayette, is two discs that join the rich influences heard on Bound By The […]

Mesa Boogie’s Badlander 50 Combo

Rarin’ Recto

When Mesa Boogie introduced its Dual Rectifier amps in the early ’90s, they cemented a place in rock-and-roll history. Over the past 30 years, there have been several incarnations of Rectifier-series amps. The latest, the Badlander 50, is a 1×12 combo with two EL34s, five 12AX7s, and a Celestion Creamback speaker. The Badlander has two footswitchable channels, […]

Fixing a faulty pickup selector lever

And a few oddball pickups from the Duncan archives

When I use the pickup  selector lever switch on my Fender Strato-caster, one of the pickups cuts out. What could be the problem? There could be a few problems with the switch or contacts. Get a can of contact cleaner and lightly spray the contacts. This should remove any oxidation. Switch contacts can bend or […]

Maxon Fuzz Elements Pedals

Maxon Fuzz Elements Pedals

Elemental Fuzz

Maxon Fuzz Elements Pedals Price: $189 to $199 Contact: www.maxonfx.com Classic fuzz pedals are some of the fine wines of the vintage guitar world. Guitarists talk like Frenchified sommeliers when discussing Fuzztones, Tonebenders, and Tube Screamers as if they were hundred-year-old bottles of Bordeaux. “Mais oui, this all-original ’67 Fuzz Face with vintage germanium NKT275 […]

Jazz singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding performing at the North Sea Jazz festival 2012 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Photo: JBreeschoten/Wikimedia.

Esperanza Spalding

Emily’s D+Evolution

Popularly known as that cute female jazz bassist with the Afro who bogarted the Best New Artist Grammy away from Justin Bieber in 2012, Esperanza Spalding’s new album is soul-jazz surrealism at it’s finest. Spalding courageously sidesteps the acid chick jazz of her female contemporaries. In its place is theatricality, poetry, joy, and the progressive […]

Traynor’s Darkhorse DH15H

Canadian Bakin’

Hugely popular in its native Canada, Traynor amps are a formidable force from north of the 49th parallel and its line includes a variety of quality tube amps. The company’s latest “lunchbox” amp is the Dark Horse DH15H, little brother to the company’s Iron Horse model. The Darkhorse has a cool, old-school public-address-amp vibe, with […]

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 […]

Fender “Wide-Panel” Twin

The Fender “Wide-Panel” Twin

While Fender’s high-powered 5F8-A Twin of 1958-’60 (VG, March ’09) has been much raved about in recent years, there’s a lot to be said for a Twin that’s closer to the origins of the breed. An (arguably) more-playable amp for the average guitarist, the low-powered 5E8-A of 1956-’57 is the most copied among boutique builders, […]


Time Stand Still

Grab your hankies, Rush fans – this DVD doc captures moments from the trio’s R40 farewell tour, along with reminiscences on their four-decade career. There are interviews with Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, and Neil Peart, all mixed with vintage photos and hilarious stories galore. (Can you imagine the members of Rush and Thin Lizzy having […]

Ernie Isley

Burning Desire

Contrary to what longtime fans may have heard, Ernie Isley didn’t take guitar lessons from Jimi Hendrix. Though Ernie hung out with Hendrix in the Isley’s home while Jimi was a member of the family band, it was before Ernie had picked up the guitar. That brush with the legend may have inspired the youngest […]

The Strat in Transition

Leap Forward, Step Back

Believing the long-term survival of his company hinged on creating the world’s best electric guitar, in 1953, Leo Fender set out to improve on his own Telecaster before Gibson or Epiphone could take their shots at supplanting it atop the solidbody market. And from the moment it was introduced in ’54 – two cutaways, body […]

Ryan Carraher

Night Music

Jazz guitarist Ryan Carraher defines “vocturnal” as “a portmanteau of the words ‘nocturnal’ and ‘voyage.’ It’s a fitting title for his first album given that most of its songs were composed at night. An intoxicating excursion through the harmonic undertow of contemporary jazz, it has a dark sophistication and melodic maturity that showcases the 23-year-old […]

Radial Tonebone Shotgun and Mix-Blender

Swiss-Army Stompboxes

Whether it’s due to shrinking pedalboard real estate, shrinking discretionary budgets, or both, stompboxes that serve more than one function never fail to pique interest. Unfortunately, a lot of these knob-, switch-, toggle-, and LED-adorned pedals look like they might require a jet pilot’s license to operate. Not so these two offerings from Radial Tonebone. […]

Tom Feldmann

No Need to Sell Your Soul

“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 […]

Joel McIver and Black Sabbath

What Evil Lurks: The Complete History of Black Sabbath and Paranoid Super Deluxe Edition

Black Sabbath gets the full coffee-table history treatment in this hardcover book by Joel McIver, providing excellent photos and recollections from the band. Most interesting is the early section on the quartet’s roots in grim, post-war Birmingham, and how they escaped to become the world’s greatest metal band. Tony Iommi also relates how he lost […]

Fryette Valvulator GP/DI Amp

Totally Tubular

Guitarists are often trying to get more convincing tube tones on their home and studio recordings, but finding authentic valve textures can be elusive without pricey mics and preamps. The Fryette Valvulator GP/DI aims to solve that problem by using real tubes combined with a direct-out circuit and cabinet simulator. It’s also a genuine 1-watt […]

Classics: February 2022

Chuck Panozzo’s Gibson ES-125

For nearly five decades, Chuck Panozzo has been the bassist in Styx, enjoying the ride as it went from playing garage parties in suburban Chicago through its heyday as AOR-radio superstars who charted eight songs in Billboard’s Top 10 and eight more in the Top 40. Panozzo started on guitar as a kid; seeing that […]

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 […]