October 2017

October 2017

Find what’s in this issue, enter the latest exclusive VG giveaways and contests, or learn the 3 ways to get your Vintage Guitar fix! Don’t forget to check out the playlist for this issue of VG on Youtube.

Table of Contents

October 2017 VOL. 31 NO. 12
We go loopy on the Les Paul, with a look at the Last Burst, – a single-cut made after Gibson began shipping the SG-style body in late 1960. Plus, we feature two ’69 Deluxe models made famous on songs you’ve heard a million times, then discuss the model’s transition from single-cut to the double-cut. We honor the late Jimmy Nalls, then discuss new music with Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Billy Sheehan, James Elkington, Billy Flynn, Rex Brown, and David Ryan Harris, look at the Cloud collection of Uli Jon Roth, and get an update on the Pixies’ new music and tour with Joey Santiago. This month’s instrument profiles examine the Fender Performer, that company’s toe-dip into heavy metal, and introduce the Bird Golden Eagle 4/25, an amp far cooler than its B-list status. All this, along with our “VG Approved Gear” reviews, “Hit List” music reviews, and much more are in the October issue, available now!


Heavy Metal Thunder
The Fender Performer
Not usually associated with heavy metal, Fender nonetheless introduced several models aimed directly toward the genre’s players at the crest of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. This was one of those guitars. | By Michael Wright

Soaring IN Birdland
The Bird Golden Eagle 4/25
Most oddballs and also-rans in the amp world were built with strictly “B-list” components and features – never expected to lead the field. British maker Bird felt otherwise in creating this gem. | By Dave Hunter

Double Time
The Les Paul Becomes the SG
By the late ’50s, the market for solidbody electric guitars had become crowded. In Kalamazoo, Gibson officials – weary of its Les Paul’s status as an also-ran – decided to move beyond small upgrades to more-blatant changes. Once again, the results were mixed. | By George Gruhn and Staff

Southern Gold
Two Legendary Les Paul Deluxes
Gibson reintroduced the single-cutaway Les Paul in the late ’60s, and this new version proved to be the most popular. Here, we look at two examples heard on major hit recordings in the ’70s and ’80s. | By Willie G. Moseley

Last ’Burst?
Single-Cut From the End of An Era
Certain instruments are nearly as famous as the heroes who play them – Blackie, Lucille, Greeny, Number One. But, not all guitars cool enough to get names are played in front of the teeming masses. Gibson Les Paul Standards from the ’50s are often named as they pass from one collector to the next. This one is special for finishing “last.” | By Ward Meeker

Uli Jon Roth
Return to Tokyo
In the ’70s, rockers cranked out classic live albums with stunning regularity, and the Scorpions have a spot on the list. Often overlooked compared to its more-commercial later efforts, the band featured top-tier playing by Uli Roth, who recently toured behind a set of classic songs from the era. | By Greg Prato

Joey Santiago
Pixies Repurpose
Guitar in hand, he was there when Black Francis introduced the world to the “loud/quiet/loud” songs that influenced the grunge movement. And he’s been there since, keeping the band at the ready and doing his part to help its sound remains relevant. | By Ward Meeker

Tonal Touchstones
The VG Guide to Pickups 2017


Reader Mail

News and Notes
Burton Honored in Shreveport; Heritage Works to “Save the Stack”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Laying Down the Blues

Ask Zac

Rex Brown
Still Smoking

Jimmy Nalls, 1951-2017
Guitar Stars Honor a Fallen Hero

Billy Sheehan
Back to Big

Billy Flynn
True Chicago Blues

James Elkington
Alt-Tuned Sojourn

David Ryan Harris
Songs For Other People


Vintage Guitar Price Guide
Order the 2017 VG Price Guide AND get the bonus digital edition FREE! The digital edition access code will be delivered with your print edition.

WIN BIG! One lucky viewer will win this Waterloo WL-14L! Made by Collings in Austin, Texas, it’s a classic design perfect for fingerstyle blues! Enter to win!

Upcoming Events

Vintage Guitar Price Guide

The VG Super Pickup Giveaway 2017
$3,000 in Prizes!

Upcoming Events

Vintage Guitar Classified Ads

Builder Showcase

Dealer Showcase

Readers Gallery


The (Way) Back Beat
The Premier Blond, and Beyond: A Field Guide to Gibson Archtops, Part 5 | By Peter S. Kohman

Eric Gale | By Wolf Marshall

Beautiful Wear? | By Steven Stone

Guitars With Guts
1880 Julian Llorente | By R.E. Bruné

Dan’s Guitar Rx
Tele Touch-Up: Making Dents and Dings Disappear | By Dan Erlewine

Shop of Hard Knocks
Insert Solution Here | By Will Kelly


App store logo
Download our app from the iTunes App Store and purchase the current VG app edition! Use the app to stay up-to-date on the VG newswire, and it’s a great place to buy a single VG app edition and take advantage of the monthly subscription option.

The VG Hit List
The Isley Brothers and Santana, Sonny Landreth, Big Star, Alex Chilton, Allman Brothers, Albert King, Mississippi John Hurt, Buckingham/McVie, Muddy Waters and the Rolling Stones, Gov’t Mule, more!

Check This Action
Worth Following | By Dan Forte

VG Approved Gear
EarthQuaker Devices Erupter Fuzz, Guild Bluesbird, Gretsch G5622T Electromatic, Gurus Amps SexydriveMkII, Schertler Magnetico AG6, Pirate Guitar Effects Plank OD/Boost, Area 51 The Alienist, Ernie Ball Music Man Cutlass/StingRay, Wampler Pedals Bravado

Gearin’ Up!
The latest cool new stuff!


Reader Mail
Send letters to vguitar@vintageguitar.com or mail to: Vintage Guitar, Inc. Attn: Reader Mail, PO Box 7301, Bismarck ND 58507.

Readers Gallery
Check out the current issue Readers Gallery or VG’s Online Readers Gallery

Send your photos to: vguitar@VintageGuitar.com or mail to: Vintage Guitar, Inc. Attn: Readers Gallery, P.O. Box 7301, Bismarck, ND 58507.

Readers submit photos with the understanding that they may be used in any VG, Inc. project. Due to the volume of photos we receive, we are unable to return them, please do not send us your only print.


Giveaway #156
Win a JangleBox Nano and George L’s Effects Kit valued at more than $330!
Two runners-up will each win a George L’s Effect Kit, a $117 value!

›› Enter Giveaway #156 ‹‹

Giveaway #159
Win a Richie Kotzen Signature RK5 Fly Rig® from Tech-21 valued at $269!

›› Enter Giveaway #159 ‹‹

Giveaway #160
Win a Fender autographed by Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers!

›› Enter Giveaway #160 ‹‹

Must enter each giveaway individually (total of 3 current giveaways).


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