Lightnin’ Malcolm’s One-Man Wizardry

Lightnin’ Malcolm learned blues first-hand from legends of the genre, and it shows! Here, he plays “Jungle” from his new album, “Eye Of The Storm,” using his G&L ASAT Special running through a Fender Hot Rod Deville. Our review of the album appears in the March issue. Read Now!

Lightnin’ Malcolm’s One-Man Wizardry

Lightnin’ Malcolm learned blues first-hand from legends of the genre, and it shows! Here, he plays “Jungle” from his new album, “Eye Of The Storm,” using his G&L ASAT Special running through a Fender Hot Rod Deville. Our review of the album appears in the March issue. Read Now!

The Surfrajettes delight their fans with the perfect wave of jangly guitars, kooky kitsch, and ’60s fashion. After several years touring and releasing singles, their first full album, Roller Fink – a mix of originals and carefully picked covers – has finally rolled ashore. VG caught up with guitarists Shermy and Nicole to talk about […]

It doesn’t happen often, but I still encounter people who think the blues is strictly sad music. I tell them to listen to Hound Dog Taylor’s joyful “house-rockin’” blues. Or when guitar players assume that Jimmy Reed’s variation is dead simple, I quote Billy Gibbons from the January ’19 VG cover story. “I hate it […]


Santana IV

This lineup reunites Carlos Santana with guitarist Neal Schon and other members of the 1970–1973 Santana band, reigniting their unique mix of Latin-rock, soul, jazz-rock fusion, and heavy Afro-Cuban beats. Listen to “Shake It” for a modern spin on old-school Santana, Carlos jamming on the wah-wah for the main track, while Schon is let off […]

Have Guitar Will Travel – 048 Featuring Rod Abernethy

James Patrick Regan speaks with guitarist/composer Rod Abernethy in the new episode of “Have Guitar Will Travel.” A native of North Carolina, Rod teaches musical-composition courses at the UNC School for the Arts. He and James discuss his musical life beginning with that ever-vital first guitar (a Gibson SG Special), playing in rock bands as […]

Fender’s 70th Anniversary Esquire

One-Pickup Wonder

In the past, Fender has paid homage to its history with precise replicas of certain classics. The company’s 70th Anniversary Esquire, however, honors its debut 1950 electric guitar without being hidebound to the past. Instead, it takes the original and runs with it. The 1950 Esquire was a one-pickup wonder – a true-blue workhorse designed […]

George Lynch

George Lynch

Home Run with KXM

Creative chemistry is an under-discussed topic when it comes to a successful collaborative effort. With the right people, sparks can fly and the good stuff is born. George Lynch’s partnership with Korn drummer Ray Luzier and King’s X bassist Dug Pinnick is one such collaboration. It brought out inspired elements within his playing never heard […]

Valco FX Five-0

Garage Band

The Valco FX Five-0 was conceived as “Dick Dale in a box.” Offering overdrive, reverb, and tremolo – each with its own on/off footswitch – it’s a multi-effects unit without a learning curve. With Reverb, you can tweak the Size (duration of the tail), as well as Blend to mix in your dry guitar sound […]

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives

Way Out West

For decades, Stuart has been one of country music’s biggest champions, and may yet be its savior. His Fabulous Superlatives are one of the tightest, most authentic country bands and possibly the most versatile – as demonstrated on the RFD Channel’s “Marty Stuart Show,” where they’ve backed everyone from Kitty Wells to Sam Moore. As […]

Roy Smeck’s Gibson L-5

One For the “Wizard”

Player endorsements are part of the tradition of guitarmaking going back to its earliest use for public performance. LeRoy G.A. Schmeck, a.k.a. Roy Smeck, may be history’s most-prolific endorser of fretted instruments. The list includes Washburn (Lyon & Healy) in 1924, the Harmony Vita-Uke and Vita-Guitar in ’27, the Bacon & Day Roy Smeck Silver […]

Cry, Baby!

The Story of the Vox Wah

Beyond being crowned “Album of the Century” by Time magazine, Marley and the Wailers’ 1977 LP Exodus is a wah-wah masterpiece thanks to Junior Marvin and his Thomas Organ Cry Baby. Others – from Earl Hooker to Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa to Sly Stone – made their mark with the pedal, but never has so […]

John McLaughlin

50 Years in Fusion

The name John McLaughlin is synonymous with jazz-rock fusion, the genre he helped invent and sustain for the past 50 years. At the end of 2017, the guitarist will be performing a final American tour, this time with co-guitarist Jimmy Herring and John’s incredible band, the 4th Dimension. We recently checked in with the virtuoso […]

Eric Clapton

A Return To The Crossroads: Slowhand Meets Mr. Johnson

In many ways, 2004 marks a return to the crossroads for Eric Clapton. With his latest disc, Me And Mr. Johnson, the guitarist pays homage to one of his principal influences – the incomparable Robert Johnson. For Clapton, Johnson is the true master of blues guitar, and completing this album was a mammoth achievement. Although […]

Carvin’s AE185-12

Stairway to Heaven

Carvin’s AE185-12 Price: $1,239 (base retail) Info: www.carvinguitars.com. Most guitarists love the sound of a 12-string, but the thought of owning one often raises several questions. Should you get an acoustic or an electric? What about controlling feedback onstage? And aren’t they hard to tune? Carvin attempts to answer all of these questions with the […]

Alan Sparhawk


Blame it on a guitar. For Low’s Alan Sparhawk, the inspiration behind the band’s latest album, Ones and Sixes, came in part thanks to a new six-string. He had been playing a series of Les Pauls, but recently found a ’60s Danelectro Convertible with one of the famed lipstick-tube pickups mounted in the sound hole. […]

Jon Kammerer Guitars’ Pegasus

Jon Kammerer Guitars’ Pegasus

This Horse Has Wings

Jon Kammerer Guitars’ Pegasus Price: $2,300 (list) Contact: www.jonkammerercustoms.com Anyone who has ever plugged an acoustic guitar into an amp or PA is well-acquainted with the bone-crushing howl of hollowbody feedback. It’s not a happy sound. And in a live setting, it can be almost impossible to dial in enough volume to sit in the […]

Collings I-30 LC

Desert Island Axe

If you found yourself stranded on that proverbial desert isle with – horror of horrors – just a single guitar at your disposal, the Collings I-30 LC just might make you one blissful castaway. That combo of playability and tone comes courtesy of Collings’ version of a lightweight, fully hollow 335 body shape, a sweet […]

Kenny Burrell

Playing It, Meaning It, Living It

Few can claim the title of living legend. Kenny Burrell is just such a person. In fact he’s more – he’s living history, past, present and future. His credentials are voluminous and accomplishments staggering, and he hasn’t stopped. He has recorded at least 108 albums as a band leader and is today, at age 82, […]

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 […]

Giffin Vikta

Feelin’ Special

Giffin Vikta Price: $2,295 Contact: www.premierbuildersguild.com Roger Giffin is a guitarmaker to the stars, having built for Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and John Entwistle, Mark Knopfler, Andy Summers, David Gilmour, and many others. He also ran the Gibson Custom Shop in California for many years before striking out on his own. Now producing his own […]

Yasmin Williams

Fearless Imagination

On her latest album, Urban Driftwood, Yasmin Williams’ wanderlust expands beyond the acoustic polyphony her fans know well. The songs are freer, hypnotic, more stream-of-consciousness, and feature complimentary instrumentation. Williams has hit the ground running in the new year. She sat with VG to discuss alternate tunings, artistry, and the pursuit of one’s identity on […]