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NOMINATE YOUR FAVORITES IN VG READERS’ CHOICE AWARDS

Each year, Vintage Guitar magazine honors those who inspired and awed us as guitar players, fans, and listeners by inducting great players, innovators, and instruments to the VG Hall of Fame. We also choose Album of the Year and Player of the Year in rock, country, blues, and jazz. The Deadline is December 6th, 2021. Submit your Nominations Now!

Most of us are – or should be – aware of the enormous contributions of the late Chet Atkins, the Country Gentleman, to American popular music, from his complex fingerpicking style to producing early rock records. Not to mention the classic Gretsch hollowbody electric guitars that bore his name. But far fewer know how his […]

Garage Guru

The Epiphone Crestwood

The original Epiphone Crestwood was built at Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory, alongside Les Pauls and other ’50s classics. A double-cut solid-body, it appeared a full three years before that other double-cut legend, the Les Paul SG. Epiphone’s new version of the Crestwood is a cool tweak of the original brought to modern specs, but retaining an […]

Retro and Wonderful

The EHX Mainframe Bit Crusher

The Mainframe Bit Crusher is a nasty little pedal that warps, mangles, distorts and produces lo-fi digital sounds and trippy sci-fi gizmo textures reminiscent of computers and video games of the ’80s and early ’90s. Packed with beaucoup features, the Mainframe provides sample-rate reduction ranging from 48kHz to 110Hz. Additional filter functions warp signals even […]

The exotic figuration of Hawaiian koa wood on this Martin 0-28K from 1923 has a visual appeal that matched the exotic sound of Hawaiian music in the 1920s, and koa guitars accounted for a significant part of Martin’s sales through that period. Koa guitars played a larger role in Martin history, introducing steel strings to […]

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Strymon El Capistan dTape Echo

Endless Echo

Like politics, religion, and overdrive pedals, echo boxes are sure to incite staunch views, heartfelt arguments, and perhaps even fisticuffs. But Strymon’s El Capistan is one worth fighting for. To get the squabble started, this pedal creates analog-inspired echo via DSP (digital signal processing) technology. If you’re an enemy of all things unnatural and digital, […]

John Tropea

A Life in the Studios

John Tropea has spent much of his life in a studio, playing guitar, helping make hit records for people with names other than his own. Why? One reason is his father’s gas station. “My dad owned a gas station in New York and he told me he had picked up a car belonging to Tony […]

Loar LH-309 VS Archtop

One Cool Cat

Loar LH-309 VS Archtop Price: $569.99 (street) Contact: theloar.com As the retro craze delves deeper into six-string history, a spate of non-cutaway archtops have hit the market, celebrating an era when giants like Eddie Lang, Lonnie Johnson, Charlie Christian, George Barnes, Eddie Durham, Carl Kress, and Oscar Moore laid down cool chords, sultry bends, and […]

One Unforgettable ’60s-Oddity Magnatone

Monster Mash

Drew Moniot and his band, The Sequins, were on top of the world, playing Gibson SGs through endorsement-deal amp stacks as 16-year-olds in 1967. Among their many favorite memories was playing through the Magnatone Monster – the world’s largest guitar amp. If you happen to be a fan of Neil Young and Crazy Horse and […]

Volt Electrics #004 Reverse

Mirror Image

From Johnny Winter and Stephen Stills to Scott Holiday, the Firebird has been turning heads since the early ’60s. Builders Sander de Gier and Ewout Nijman out of the Netherlands are two guitar freaks with a jones for old-school looks and modern appointments. They have a thing for Firebirds too. Their first series for Volt […]

Charlie Ballantine

Midwest Expressive

Befitting a guitarist from America’s heartland, Charlie Ballantine’s mixes jazz, folk-rock, surf/instro, blues, pop, and country into a simmering pot of guitar sound and style. His instrumental work is beautiful and complex, ranging from melodic journeys to raging heavier sounds. Charlie’s latest CD is Where is My Mind?, a strong album that marks him as […]

Colin Linden

Bringing it Back Around

Colin Linden’s Still Live is a step back to his first recording – a live album made three decades ago. In the years that separate the two, Linden has become a first-call guitarist for roots artists including Robert Plant, Gregg Allman, the Band, Alison Krauss, Mavis Staples, Lucinda Williams, Diana Krall, Emmylou Harris, and others. […]

B.B. King - Ode to the King of the Blues

Ode to the King of the Blues

Guitarists Reflect on the Passing of B.B. King

B.B. King was truly peerless. Beyond his ability to pull an audience up via a single long, vibratoed note, he exhibited an incomparable charisma and style, and his influence carried far beyond the way he plucked a guitar. Fans ranging from simple listeners to world-class guitarists display a reverence for King that is reserved for […]

Built to Survive

Gibson and Montgomery Ward in the Great Depression

In our nation’s darkest economic times, one of its most-revered guitar manufacturers was treading headlong toward extinction before an unlikely hero started placing big orders.

Epiphone’s Masterbilt Century Deluxe Classic

The New Vintage

Most vintage aficionados admire the grand old acoustic archtops of the 1920s and ’30s, but admire them from afar. They’re beautifully built and boast lovely tone, but they have limitations as to when, where, and how they are played. Epiphone, one of the grandest of the old archtop makers, gets all this and has launched […]

Phantom Guitarworks’ Teardrop

Droppin’ In On The ’60s

Phantom Guitarworks is dedicated to producing odd-shaped guitars based on designs introduced in the early 1960s like the Vox Mark VI “Teardrop,” which helped the company make a name in guitars. While Jack Charles at Phantom is painstakingly true to the originals, this limited edition Teardrop hollowbody, in all of its purple-and-chrome glory, ups the […]

Paul Mehling

Fab Four Gypsy of Tone

One of the world’s foremost Djangophiles, Paul Mehling has for many years been at the forefront of Gypsy jazz in America. The new album by Hot Club of San Francisco exhibits his affinity for the Beatles. On the cleverly titled John, Paul, George & Django, HCSF plays Beatles tunes arranged Gypsy-jazz style. “When I was […]

Tommy Shaw and James “J.Y.” Young on The Mission

Mars, Pluto... And Styx

On recent tours, Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw has enjoyed teasing audiences by announcing (with a dose of dramatic flair), “A while back, we stopped being a rock band.” After a long pause and perhaps some nervous laughter from the audience, he’d then quip, “We’re a classic rock band.” The band recently released The Mission, which […]

David Allen Bazooka Overdrive

David Allen Bazooka Overdrive

Ka-Boom!

David Allen Bazooka Overdrive Price: $250 (list) Contact: www.dallenpickups.com An Internet search for “overdrive pedals” yields 1,610,000 hits, indicating a well-saturated market. The Bazooka Overdrive stands out from the crowd. Pickup maker David Allen offers a broad line of guitar and bass pickups, all lovingly tweaked to achieve what he calls “The Sound.” Who better, […]

Jim Campilongo

Sounds Abound

I’ve always loved sounds. Even before I became a ‘Tele guy,’ I had a Les Paul and loved making car horn sounds. I … go away from the fretboard, or into the toggle switches… I’ve always been very attracted to odd sounds.” If you give even a quick listen to Telecaster master Jim Campilongo’s latest […]

The DoleSonic Vintage 108 Woody

Not Your Dad’s Boutique Amp

The guitarist’s greatest quests is most often that of the tone that resides within their heads. That quest drove guitarist Ken Doles to design his own amplifier. The tone in his head was a mix of vintage sound with new ideas, and the result is the DoleSonic Vintage 108. A hand-wired, Class A combo in […]

Gretchen Menn

Abandon All Hope
Magnum Opus

Gretchen Menn stands alone. One might argue that she’s the female counterpart to Steve Morse. Both are aviators, both play ungodly guitar, and both are ersed in the European traditions of the Classical period. This was the era that spawned composers Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Salieri, and so on. Both Menn and Morse are also big […]