Fender’s “blackface” amplifiers made from late 1963 through ’67 have earned enduring “classic amp” status. Simultaneously collectible, they’re desired for their rich vintage tones and renowned as everyday workhorses that cover several sonic bases better than many bells-and-whistles amps manufactured today. We tend also to ascribe pre-CBS goodness to blackface amps en masse, even in

    Fender Harvard

    Given the current craze for semi-small “home” and “recording” amps, Fender’s 5F10 Harvard of 1955-’60 could be the ideal tweed amp, yet, in its day, it fell between two stools and never sold in large numbers. Or, make that three stools. With the Champ and Princeton in its rear-view mirror and the Deluxe and Tremolux

    The Xaviere XV-JT90 and XV-585

    Planks for Pennies

    Xaviere is a company that imports its guitars from China, sets them up in its Massachusetts shop, then sells direct. The company’s XV-JT90 Offset Hybrid is a solidbody with a body shape reminiscent of a Jazzmaster, yet it has a bridge pickup more like you’d find on a Telecaster, making it more adaptable for everything

    Fargen Pete Anderson Tumbleweed

    Fargen Pete Anderson Tumbleweed

    Box Full Of Country

    Fargen Pete Anderson Tumbleweed Price: $299 (list) Info: www.fargenamps.com. Pete Anderson is a touring roots and country guitarist probably best known for his work with Dwight Yoakam during the latter’s tenure atop the country charts in the ’80s and ’90s. His deft Telecaster playing and conservative production techniques turned Nashville on its ear and helped

    3rd Power Amplification’s Solo Dream 1, Solo Dream 4, and Switchback 112

    Dream Babies

    Recording/touring guitarist, studio engineer, and industry veteran Jamie Scott made the metamorphosis into amp designer by learning to repair and modify Marshall heads. He quickly realized that he wanted amps to sound full, responsive, and what he refers to as “fader up” – i.e., fully formed and ready to “fader up” on a recording console

    David Catching

    Desert Eagle

    Producer and owner of the enigmatic Rancho de la Luna studio in the California desert, guitarist David Catching has been touring with Eagles of Death Metal since 2004. In November of 2015, the band was performing at the Bataclan Theater, in Paris, when three gunmen burst in, killing 90 concert goers and injuring more than

    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.

    Star Board: Joe Moss

    Star Board: Joe Moss

    Joe Moss is the archetypical blues “road dog,” regularly rolling out of his home base of Chicago to wail for crowds in venues ranging from clubs to festivals around the world. His live sound is created with a mix of custom guitars made by Kurt Wilson, along with a Gibson ’58 reissue Les Paul, a

    Beat Portraits: Burns Volume 8

    Late ’65: Transistors, Troubles, and Takeover!

    In early 2009, VG columnist Peter Stuart Kohman turned his focus on Burns, the pioneering British guitar builder. We’ve compiled installments 7 and 8 for this special edition of VG Overdrive. Watch for the complete history in the upcoming weeks. By 1965, Ormston-Burns Ltd. had become the major guitarmaker in the U.K. and, to a

    Travis Stever

    Travis Stever

    A Conceptual Break

    Few rock bands have explored the “concept album” format as thoroughly as Coheed and Cambria; the band’s first seven full-length discs followed a sci-fi story line (known as “The Armory Wars” and created by singer/guitarist Claudio Sanchez). But with its recent eighth studio set, The Color Before the Sun, the band opted out of the

    Carvin DN640K

    Doubleneck instruments have always been a unique niche in the guitar market, for good reason. They’ve also carried an air of superiority or the insinuation that they were intended for pro players; i.e., those who could deftly switch from one instrument to another in the middle of a song without doffing their part. And though

    Ralph Towner, John Abercrombie Quartet, Wolfgang Muthspiel, Dewa Budjana

    My Foolish Heart, Up and Coming, Rising Grace, Zentuary
    Fusion Heros

    The ECM label is renowned for its brand of atmospheric jazz-fusion highlighted by gorgeous audio quality. Two of its guitar masters – Ralph Towner and John Abercrombie – have released new albums. An acoustic specialist, Towner’s new disc is all-solo guitar, either classical or 12-string, and delivers his brand of intoxicating fingerstyle improvisation. “Dolomitti Dance”

    Snowy White

    Snowy White

    One Man, One Guitar

    Snowy White, one of the finest blues and rock musicians to come out of the U.K., built a career on near-anonymity. Deliberately. “It is my nature,” he explains. “If the spotlight hits me, my inclination is to step out of it. I’m actually quite a private person.” In or out of the spotlight, White is

    Fenders American Vintage Series

    Devilish in Detail

    Fender American Vintage Series Price: $2,400 retail/$1,999.99 street (’52 Telecaster); $2,874 retail/$2,299.99 street (’59 Stratocaster); $2,874 retail/$2,299 street (’65 Jazzmaster and ’56 Stratocaster) Contact: www.fender.com When it introduced the American Vintage reissue guitars (one Telecaster, two Strats) in 1982, Fender put itself back the game among serious players. In the three decades since, the series

    Rich Robinson and Marc Ford Of The Magpie Salute

    Wiser Time

    Musical chemistry is a special, sometimes flammable rapport between two musicians. It’s a rare thing – highly sought, difficult to attain – and you know it when you share it. Rich Robinson and Marc Ford have it, and if you want to hear what it sounds like, check out their latest collaboration. With a past

    Ronnie Earl

    Stratocaster Royalty

    For someone who has been a professional musician for more than 30 years, Ronnie Earl is going through a remarkable production period in his career. In just the last three years, he released his first live DVD and companion CD, 2008’s Hope Radio, followed by the CD Living in the Light in ’09 and now,

    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

    Black Joe Lewis

    Garage Soul

    Eectric Slave is the third album by Black Joe Lewis, and marks a return to the sound of his roots – Hound Dog Taylor, Elmore James, Ron Asheton, and Jimi Hendrix. It features garage band sonics, mellifluous horns, and gnarly fuzz tones. The shadow of his old band looms ominously, but Lewis has his eye