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Pushing hard to compete with Fender and be seen as hip, in 1958, Gibson gave its Les Paul a fancy maple top and also introduced the Flying V and Explorer. The tide also affected its  jazz boxes; the rounded cutaway that bespoke traditionalism was superseded by the daring, fabulous florentine cut.

Napping beneath his mother’s piano as she practiced Bach, Chopin, Beethoven, and Debussy, Wolf Marshall was absorbing music before he could walk or talk. His life as guitar pedagogue includes 24 years of VG “Fretprints,” but his new Jazz Guitar Course may be the most-vital to his legacy.

We talk new music with Ace Frehley, John Leventhal, Philip Sayce, Bryan Beller, and Jim Kweskin. We also memorialize MC5 founder Wayne Kramer.

Epiphone guitars made after Gibson acquired the brand are bona fide collectibles. A bit off the radar, though, are the “bikini logo” amps that accompanied them in 1959.

Running up the stairs at his grandmother’s house, 12-year-old Steve Kimock was anxious to chat with his older cousin. Kenny wasn’t in his room, but there, perched in a beam of sunlight, was his shiny gold Les Paul. Cue the choir of angels.

Wolf Marshall’s “Fretprints” examines funk’s transition to pop. It was 1976, and George Benson’s Breezin’ made him an international sensation.

A cohesive yet varied set highlighted by the strut of its title track along with catchy mid-tempo rockers, UFO’s Lights Out is the British hard-rockers’ finest effort. “Pop ’N Hiss” re-examines its impact.

Released in 1963, An Evening With Rev. Louis Overstreet, His Guitar, His Four Sons, and The Congregation of St. Luke Powerhouse Church of God In Christ captures a service by the Stratocaster-toting preacher, doing his thing backed by his boys on tambourine and washboard. It’s just one hidden treasure dug up by Dan Forte in “Check This Action.”

Ready to offer their informed, objective thoughts, our gear-review staff takes a close look at the Carr Bel-Ray, Martin Inception Maple, Gibson Falcon 5, Boss IR-2 Amp and Cabinet, D’Angelico Excel SS, and Vox Giulietta.

Our music-review staff turns their finely-tuned ears to the latest by Tinsley Ellis, Ace Frehley, John Leventhal, Immediate Family, Paul McCartney & Wings, Black Crowes, Justin Johnson, and more!

It’s all in the April issue of Vintage Guitar!

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