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1965 Epiphone Emperor

...middle position gives the middle pickup and bridge-position lead pickup out-of-phase, for a super twangy sound – there is no normal “middle” sound. This particular guitar is a custom-order instrument featuring a Bigsby and three on/off switches. We’ve never encountered another Gibson-made Epiphone with three such switches, but it gives great versatility of sound. With three on-off switches, a player can get any combination of pickups, and the vers...

’53 Gibson Les Paul Junior

...han a double-pickup guitar, but the quality of sound produced by one single-coil P-90 is as good as the lead sound on a double-pickup guitar. Just as most jazz players use only the rhythm pickup and have no need for a double-pickup guitar, many rock and blues players find that a single pickup in the lead or bridge position meets all of their requirements. From a functional point of view, this early Les Paul Junior is fully comparable in quality to...

Tony Joe White – Uncovered

...brainchild of Tony Joe’s son, Jody White, who reveals himself to be a first-rate producer here. The aforementioned Cale co-wrote the eerie “Louvelda” – with his whispery vocal and ornamental, fuzzed guitar complementing White’s trademark fuzz-wah squawk. Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton turn in fine appearances, on “Not One Bad Thought” and “Did Somebody Make A Fool Out Of You,” respectively, and, besides “Georgia,” White reprises his early-’70s tun...

John 5 – The Devil Knows My Name

...ollowed by the unaccompanied “Bella Kiss,” featuring harmonics, pedal steel-like bends, and Hedges-styled tapping. John’s adaptation of Guns ‘N Roses’ “Welcome To The Jungle” is the CD’s first single, but there are better songs here; “Jungle” doesn’t translate to an instrumental that well. “Dead Art Plainfield” is a stronger rock riff. Mr. 5 shows that he’s more than a mere shredder, displaying tasty country fingerpicking on Chet Atkins’ “Young Th...

Dave Alvin – West of the West

Dave Alvin is one of America’s best songwriters, and as such runs the risk of alienating casual fans when he does an album of covers. But then again, maybe not… The idea with his newest disc, West of the West,, is to pay tribute to songwriters from the West Coast, where Alvin grew up. That means is you get stuff like “California Bloodlines” from John Stewart, with its gorgeous changes and nice, melodic lead guitar from producer/string-wizard Greg...

Lucy Kaplansky – Over the Hills

...the most surprising choice. Originally released on Roxy Music’s Avalon choc-a-block with synthesizers and atmospheric effects, Kaplansky’s version strips the gothic artifice to reveal good bones. Her rendition of the Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire” brings the song back to a female perspective that’s closer to June Carter’s original concept than Johnny’s macho stance. The strongest original song on the album is “Amelia” which paints a heartbreak...

Alex Lifeson

...s.” The DVD winds up with covers of “Summertime Blues,” mixing a Blue Cheer-style intro with a Who-style body of the song. “Crossroads” gets a nod, as well. The second DVD includes vintage interviews and videos, including soundcheck footage. Summing up R30, Lifeson said, “I’m really happy to hear from people who say it’s a nice package and they think it’s a really good deal. And it kind of changes everything; we’d always worked in a cycle of four...

Carvin Factory Tour

...their amps with efficient, low-noise transformers with output that’s right-on-the-money. Tube amp production is centered around two distinct facets. Carvin’s “Vintage” series differs from many other modern-day “retro vibe” amps in that the circuitry is actually a Carvin design from ’62. “Vintage” guitar amps also feature a tube reverb circuit, and the series is covered in a unique tweed fabric with a maroon stripe. Other nostalgic cosmetics inclu...

Ampeg A-2

...e. With the A-2, it seems when you switch the effect on, there is a slight -but-noticeable signal loss. This is another reason for keeping the effect on and manipulating the guitar volume. But if you must turn it on and off, there is only a slight signal loss. Although the A-2 is such an offbeat and rare pedal, if you do find one, it’s usually at a reasonable price. And in spite of the slight signal loss, all in all it offers a lot of bang for the...

James Hunter – Believe What I Say

...it nicely on an early-’60s jazz record. Hunter’s playing is tasteful and to-the-point. Guest appearances of note include Van Morrison helping Hunter sing a version of “Turn On Your Love Light.” It catches fire toward the end, as they trade choruses, and wraps up with Morrison singing along on “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do.” Doris Troy joins in on a fine, gospel-based “Hear Me Calling.” Both singers nail it. Fans of People Gonna Talk will like this vie...
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