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    Straight-from-the-catalog instruments are fun – and reassuring – because you know exactly what you’ve got. But there’s another kind of thrill – and satisfaction – when you find something that’s totally off the radar, something that presents a mystery to be solved, like this circa 1913 Cole’s Eclipse banjo, which sports a Washburn headstock and

    Rodney Crowell

    Same Roots, New Branches

    Rodney Crowell arrived in Nashville in 1972, bent on finding a niche for himself in the country music he’d loved since his childhood in Houston. He wrote songs for Jerry Reed’s publishing company and, in 1975, Emmylou Harris added him to her Hot Band as rhythm guitarist. He wrote hits including “’Til I Gain Control

    Eastwood’s SD-40 Hound Dog and Classic AC

    Subjective as it is, the term “mojo” usually refers to gear that’s been played-in over the years. Eastwood tries to counter that perception with their cool reissues, two recent examples being the SD-40 Hound Dog and the Classic AC. The former is Eastwood’s take on the Kawais/Teiscos/Kingstons of the 1960s, those infamous Japanese imports with

    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

    Richie Kotzen

    Goin’ Supergroup

    Veteran guitar monster Richie Kotzen has done it all from opening for The Rolling Stones, recording with Stanley Clarke, to coming to the rescue for Poison and Mr. Big. Having recorded a stack of solo albums, he now joins former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Mr. Big bassist Billy Sheehan, to form The Winery

    Otis Taylor

    Fantasizing About Being Black

    Otis Taylor has no concern for your discomfort with racial issues. It’s an artist’s duty to reflect the times, and there’s plenty to reflect upon. He skips the antiquated blues coding about devils and mojos, and looks you in the eye with the truth. Taylor’s latest is a recording about the varying levels of racism

    Amptweaker’s FatMetal Distortion

    Amptweaker’s FatMetal Distortion

    Metal To the Pedal

    With all of the subgenres of heavy metal out there, it was only a matter of time before the pedal industry began tweaking its many circuits to meet the needs of discerning heshers everywhere. Such is the case with Amptweaker’s FatMetal Distortion – a variation on the brand’s TightMetal, but warmer and – according to

    The Dean Ween Group

    The Deaner Album

    The Dean Ween Group’s debut showcases all the genre-hopping shenanigans that became the stock in trade of Ween’s first band – the prolific and eponymously named indie weirdos Ween. While it’s busy serving up Dean Ween’s eclectic songwriting, The Deaner Album is also pushing his guitar chops to the fore. After all, there’s a pair

    Kay’s K161 Thin Twin

    Post-war Blues Box

    In his day, Jimmy Reed was a huge influence on everyone from Eric Clapton and Mike Bloomfield to the Rolling Stones and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Among its reissues, Kay Guitar has included the K161 Thin Twin, the guitar irrevocably associated with the legendary Chicago bluesman. Strapped on, the Thin Twin is a hefty axe for

    Jeff Senn Original Senn Model One

    Making Perfect Senns

    For 15 years, Jeff Senn has been building, repairing, and modifying guitars for Nashville’s touring and studio elite. His double-cutaway Fullerton and single-cut Pomona are in the hands of guys like Tom Bukovac, Jedd Hughes, Rob McNelly, John Fogerty, Steve Wariner, Bruce Springsteen, and Audley Freed After building tribute guitars, Senn recently returned to his

    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

    National’s Pioneer RP1

    Steel Soul

    What do you get when you cross a National Duolian with a solidbody electric? Answer: a guitar that Elmore James would have sold his soul for. National’s new Pioneer RP1 is that devilish creation. No one’s built a guitar quite like this before. The Pioneer boasts the steel body of a 1930s Duolian straight from

    Magnatone Twilighter

    Magnatone Twilighter

    King of Vibrato

    Magnatone Twilighter Price: $2,249 (12″ combo, list) Info: www.magnatoneusa.com. Magnatone is dead, long live Magnatone! The original Magnatone amp company died in 1969 after several decades of making storied “Golden Voice” amps noted for their “real” vibrato effect. Buddy Holly played his Strat through one, Scotty Moore swore by his, and Neil Young remains a

    Robby Krieger

    New Musical Directions

    For all of his decades of noteworthy guitar work, Robby Krieger isn’t resting on his laurels. In 2002, Krieger and Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek formed Doors of the 21st Century (and they still perform as Manzarek-Krieger), but the guitarist’s newest album, Singularity, is an ambitious instrumental effort that expands on his desire to create music

    Zemaitis’ CAG-200HS

    Heart And Soul

    The lutherie art of Tony Zemaitis resulted in some of the rarest, most admired, and most valuable of guitars. Among his creations, including the famed metal- and mother-of-pearl-fronted electrics, his acoustics are more precious than pearls. Slowhand played one. Jimi had a 12-string. After Zemaitis died at age 67 in August 2002, the Tokyo-based Zemaitis

    Forty Quid of Klunk

    Tales of the Harmony Bass

    Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh-Duh, Klunk! It’s not the most artful musical introduction, but it was effective. And by the time a screaming Hammond organ slides in over the pounding bass-and-drums, most listeners are hooked. The song is “Gimme Some Lovin” by the Spencer Davis Group, and the 1966 record is a showcase not only for the vocals and

    Hard Rock Cafe

    Guardians of Grandeur

    The Men Who Tend to the Guitars of the Hard Rock Cafe

    “A lot of people think I go in [to a sale] with an open checkbook, but that’s not the case; we’re very strategic.” – Jerry Fraize When Peter Morton and Isaac Tigrett opened the first Hard Rock Cafe in London’s Mayfair district in 1971, they simply wanted to introduce American culture and cuisine – good

    Have Guitar Will Travel – 026 Featuring Ron Thorn

    “Have Guitar Will Travel” host James Patrick Regan speaks with Ron Thorn, Principal Masterbuilder at the Fender Custom Shop. Before joining Fender, Ron established his own brand (Thorn Guitars) and supplied Fender with custom inlay work. An avid car guy, he shares the details behind the Saleen-inspired Strat he built for the NAMM show. They