Collectible Guitar :: Then and Now - Sep/Oct 2014

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The Guitar Doesn’t Fall Far from the Family Tree an interview with

Gordon Kennedy

SEP/OCT 2014

$5.95 US $6.95 Canada VOL 1 :: ISSUE 5

Dobro Model 206 “The ‘Holy Grail’ of Prewar Dobros”

REVIEWS • Palir Classic T6 Paisley T-style • 3 Monkeys - THe orangutan Jr. • EASTMAN E20SS Acoustic

Dallas Schoo

Guitar Technician to Edge of U2

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Flippin’ Four Guitars… No, I am not doing backflips here. When I say “flippin” it is the “buy at one price and sell at another price” kind of flip. I have had various times in my life where I have done this of course (like many of you). I have bought guitars knowing that it was speculation that the value would go up on it or maybe I had an opportunity to buy at a low price and there was “meat on the bones” to sell it to another guitarists at a fair price (but still make a profit for yourself). As I write this I just bought four guitars. That sounds odd just typing it into my laptop. An opportunity arose where a friend of mine knew a guy at a music store in the deep south that had several guitars in their backroom that had been taken in on trade many years ago and basically had been forgotten back there. The first question I asked my friend was, “In that back room were the guitars exposed to the elements of hot and cold all those years?” He said that they appeared to be fine… just aged. I asked for him to pull them out of their cases and text me some photos (another good use of our iPhones). Before I knew it I was looking at pics of a 1959 Gibson 330 semi-hollow that appeared to be all original parts. My friend said that the neck was straight and even with the super old strings on it, it still sounded good. That was encouraging! The second round of photos showed a 1956 ES125T (the “T” stands for thin body). This was originally more of an affordable semihollow from Gibson but they have grown in popularity over the years and they have a cool vibe to them. I was getting excited about maybe holding off flipping this one and keeping it around to play for a while... you know, to let it accrue in value while you play your heart out.

The third guitar was yet another Gibson but this time an early 1970’s L6S solid body electric that my friend said was in great shape… barely played even! My head was starting to spin with anticipation. If I could get these at a fair price to flip I had our Seatac Guitar Show in Kent, WA coming up and I could try and sell them there. This was formulating well.

were over priced to begin with. Another factor is that as much as I like the price guide books that are out there… well they are just that – price guides. There seems to be an ebb and flow to certain model guitars and brands and sometimes the books are right on and sometimes they are either too low or too high.

So I presented my offers and they were The fourth guitar was a little left of center countered with an adjustment up a bit higher. put had history where I live in the Great Not a lot higher but still a little higher. This Northwest because the Ventures had played means that internally I will have to tow the them… yes you guessed it – a Mosrite semi- line better when setting my own asking price hollow. It was a little lower level model, a at the guitar show and know how much “Celebrity” but certainly has that vintage room I have to flex if I get an offer a bit lower look/mojo to it. than my asking price. My own “sell for” Next I asked my good friend and vintage price can’t be so low that it wasn’t worth the guitar counselor Joe to help me evaluate risk of buying them in the first place. I have their worth. He was his resourceful self and sold guitars for the same price or a little less soon I had street prices and then some idea than what I bought them for before and your of what I might buy them for so as to leave “accountant inside your head” says not to do that. Judy is really cool about me swapping some profit in it for me. around and selling guitars because she trusts The seller understood that I need a margin me that I will try to be smart about it. I want between what I pay for them and what I sell to live up to that trust and do her right in my them for. Especially since I had to pay the guitar dealings. She also knows I like to give shipping and have some set up work done to my buyers (who are often friends of mine) a them. So we started the negotiation process. good deal. The seller lamented the fact that he really So I thought about it for a few minutes, I should of tried to sell them prior to the 2008 economic slowdown. I couldn’t argue with thought about my margins being squeezed a him on that one. I wish I had sold my house little bit and then I reminded myself, “How before the crash and hid the money under a often do you find vintage instruments that rock… but that didn’t happen either. Besides have been forgotten about for over 30 years reminding him that the pricing had changed in the back of a music store?” quite a bit, I also had to let him know that So all that is left to say is, “Let’s get busy just because you see an “asking price” on flippin’ four guitars!” eBay, that does not mean that is what those Guitar people helping guitars actually “sell for”. Often times the guitar people! guitar listings on eBay that are priced too Bruce & Judy high just sit there and then expire (kind of like me if I don’t start exercising some – Ha!). That is further proof that those guitars

Editor & President: Bruce Adolph VP/Office Manager: Judy Adolph Street Team: Mike Adolph, Jesse Hill & Winston Design & Layout: Matt Kees 4227 S. Meridian, Suite C PMB #275, Puyallup Washington 98373 Phone: 253.445.1973 Fax: 253.655.5001 Published by The Adolph Agency, Inc. ©2014 The Adolph Agency Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any portion of this magazine may not be used or reproduced without the expressed consent of The Adolph Agency, Inc.


Photographer/Advisor: Joe Riggio Customer Service: Brian Felix, Director of Advertising: Steve Sattler 626-836-3106 Advertising Sales:

FEATURES Is it Real? Is it Chinese? How Do You Know? Here’s the Deal…

Dobro Model 206 “The ‘Holy Grail’ of Prewar Dobros”


Then & Now… The Story of The Paul Yandell “Duo-Tron” Pick-up



Gordon Kennedy The Guitar Doesn’t Fall Far from the Family Tree cover photo by Matt Huesmann


COLUMNS 10 Quirky Vintage Collecting Vintage Pawnshop Guitars:: Part Three - England, Germany & Sweden by Bob Cianci 14 The One That Didn’t Get Away The Bruce Thomas Burst by Rick King

16 All About Amps What to Look for When Buying a Vintage Amp by Skip Simmons 18 State of the Union The Big Three by Dave Belzer

32 The Fretboard Less Traveled by Rich Severson 44 Pedal Snapshot by Phil Traina 50 View of the Day Paul Brannon by Dave Cleveland

REVIEWS 8 Palir Classic T6 Paisley T-style by Mitch Bohannon

8 43

20 Sonuus i2M Musicport by Michael Elsner 22 3 Monkeys - Orangutan Jr. by Doug Doppler


43 EarthQuaker Devices Cloven Hoof & Afterneath by Doug Doppler 46 Eastman E20SS Acoustic by Bruce Adolph 48 Gig Armor




Palir Classic T6 Paisley T-style by Mitch Bohannon

I remember the first time I saw a relicfinished guitar at the NAMM show. One of the first that caught my eye was simply an SRV remake. I’ve seen good and bad. Some look like they may as well have been shot with a shotgun and then used as a paddle in the swamp. Others look like they were used without a case as a passport for world travel. Then comes a builder/artist like John Palir, who, in my opinion, creates some very natural relic finishes. I was really blown away the first time I saw one of his guitars. Now, keep in mind, I’m from the South. Down here, we love our antiques. I’m just naturally drawn to something that looks like it has a story to tell.

gotta try their Bacon Double Cheeseburger pizza!). For months, I wanted to test-drive a Palir. However it seemed that everything he built was on it’s way out the door. John displayed at his first NAMM show this past July. I was excited to see him take his guitar business to the next level. Also, I was excited for him to meet Bruce Adolph our editor and vice-versa. John told me at NAMM that he is booked out for several months already. So, if you’re looking to order your first Palir, get in line now before the line grows longer!

I’m now finally able to give the Palir Classic T6 Paisley T-style a spin. Sporting a maple It happened one day, my wife and I were neck, alder body, and Porter pickups, this Palir eating at Fox’s Pizza just a mile from our is a sight to see. John told me that he fashioned home and I noticed this glass case on the wall the headstock I mentioned earlier to look like with a beautiful guitar hanging inside. The a bird. It’s very smooth and elegant. The headstock is unique, so I took a picture so I maple neck is a 25.5” scale length, has a 10” could remember what was on the headstock radius fretboard, and a C-profile on the back to look it up online. Come to find out, it making it very comfortable in hand. John was from a guy I had seen posting guitars used a 1 5/8” TUSQ Graftech nut which is on the Facebook group: Gear Talk. It was standard width. The neck finish is John’s own cool to find out that John Palir was not just a “medium roast,” which is tastefully aged with Louisiana boy, but that he lived in my town, stain. The Paisley design is on the front and AND his family owned the pizza joint (you back with a slight goldsparkle in the paint and “line-checking” aging. Vintage-style, agednickel hardware, a brass compensated saddle and Gotoh vintage-style tuners, and the expected 3-way switch round out the appointments. This particular Palir weighs in at 6.5 pounds, which adds to the comfort of this guitar. John will offer lightweight upgrades as well. He told me he’s


able to get a guitar down below 5.5 lbs! As a player, this guitar is quite comfortable. I’m pleased with the 10” radius fretboard, it feels great for rhythm and lead alike. The string action is even all the way up the neck… it’s set up very well. As far as the Porter 9T pickups, wow! What a choice for this guitar. The neck pickup is nice and warm, yet still has a full, fat tone and the bridge pickup has plenty of the spank I would look for in a guitar like this. The pickups are definitely more aggressive than vintage spec for a T-style guitar. Porter touts this pair of pickups as “classic Tele pickups on steroids” and that pretty much sums them up. I sat and played for a while and was impressed with the sustain as well as the clarity at lower gain. Dirty or clean, hi or low gain, this guitar has quite the range of tones available. Using both pickups, with the switch in the middle position, is really the best of both worlds. The low end stayed round and warm, yet there was plenty of crisp bite on the high side. Jazz, to country, to rock… yes, it’s all there. We’re living in a new age of guitar building. There are more and more guys like John Palir who are not simply putting guitars together, but are painstakingly crafting guitars that are most definitely worth their sales price. This Palir T6 sells for $2,200.00 with a tweed case. Mitch is one of the pioneers in the development of the Kyser Short Cut Capo – an alternate tuning device used by many guitarists today. He is a regular contributor to our sister publications. Mitch and his wife Noelle have 3 awesome kids!


Collecting Vintage Pawnshop Guitars: Part Three - England, Germany & Sweden In Part Two, we looked at quirky vintage guitars from Japan and Italy. This time, we’ll turn our attention to guitars from Western Europe, specifically England, Germany and Sweden, the three leading nations that produced electric guitars during those halcyon days of weird ‘60’s guitars. As you will see, one common thread seems to bind almost all these companies together in this modern day and age.

Phantom has become an iconic ‘60’s design, as has the Teardrop model that followed in 1963, which quickly found favor with Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones. Both guitars featured control layouts that mimicked Fender guitar designs of the day, despite their radical body shapes. Vox also produced conventionally shaped guitars as well such as the Apache, Lynx and the Strat-like Bulldog, all of which are still bargains on the vintage market. The Lynx is a pretty guitar The one name most often associated with the British guitar industry is Vox. styled along the lines of Gibson’s The company was started by Thomas ES-335. The “Achilles Heel” of all Walter Jennings after World War II Vox guitars was the pickups, which unspotted, underpowered and made amplifiers like the famed were AC-15 and AC-30, both of which single coil units. It’s interesting to are still in production today. Vox note that production of Vox guitars amps were used by everyone from was transferred to the Italian EKO The Beatles to England’s number one company after only a couple of years instrumental group, The Shadows and of English manufacture. are still extremely popular. Production The new Vox organization now of Vox guitars began in 1962 with the owned by Korg, reproduced the introduction of the Phantom, a coffin- Teardrop and Phantom guitars in shaped guitar available in 6-string, 1998, but they didn’t sell. Now, the 12-string and 9-string versions. The names Phantom and Teardrop are

owned by guitarist/businessman Jack Charles who owns and operates the Phantom Guitar Company in Oregon. He produces accurate and updated versions of these ‘60’s classics. Expect to pay over $2000 for an original ‘60’s Phantom or Teardrop. Perhaps the second most famous English guitar maker was Burns. Founded by guitar maker Jim Burns, often touted as the “British Leo Fender,” Burns guitars enjoyed mass popularity in England and Europe starting around 1960, but never quite caught on in the USA, despite being seen in the hands of high profile users such as Hank Marvin, Elvis Presley and Jimmy Page. Burns guitars were used by The Shadows, The Searchers, and many other British and Euro bands, and were generally perceived as cheaper alternatives to American Fenders and Gibsons, which were hard to obtain and very expensive due to import tariffs. Jim Burns sold out to the American Baldwin company, but continued to refine and produce guitars under a variety of names.


Burns Bison

VOX Teardrop

VOX Phantom

The most well known Burns guitars were the Bison, with its devilish, buffalo-like shape, and the Double Six, a 12-string. The Burns name is still in use today, and the guitars have their cult following. Originals are readily available if you hunt them down. Finally, Watkins Electric Music Company produced student grade guitars and WEM amps and PA systems, we well as the CopiCat echo. Founded in 1949 by Charlie Watkins in London, the company’s bestselling guitar was the Rapier, a Stratstyled solidbody that was available in various bright colors such as red and light blue. Many English youngsters started out on Rapiers out of necessity and subsequently couldn’t wait to get their hands on an American guitar. Rapiers were loudly trashed in print over the years by British guitarists, a few of whom were now bona fide rock stars, but nostalgia and 20/20 hindsight have lead some to have second thoughts about the Rapier guitars they once owned and learned on. Germany was the second leading producer of guitars during the famed

Beat Boom of the ‘60’s, and the most famous name was Hofner. Its leading exponent was Paul McCartney, who made the 500/1 model his instrument of choice during The Beatles’ heyday of 1964-66. McCartney’s “Beatle Violin Bass” was seen by over seventyseven million American TV viewers during the group’s appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, and it too has become an iconic ‘60’s design. McCartney, who eventually switched to a Rickenbacker, still uses the same Hofner bass today, amazingly enough. He chose the Hofner because he was left-handed, and liked the symmetrical body design. And the price was right.

Another popular German guitar maker was Framus, founded in 1946 post-World War II and revived in 1995 after twenty years of inactivity due to a bankruptcy in 1975. Framus’ most famous instrument was the Star Bass, used extensively by Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, who liked the instrument’s thin neck. Bill signed a three-year endorsement deal with the company in 1964. Paul McCartney received a Framus Zenith archtop guitar for his fourteenth birthday and has used it as a compositional tool throughout his career. Solid body models went under the names, Apollo, Hollywood, Strato-Super, Strato-Melodie and Electrona, all quirky and largely indebted to Fender designs.

Founded in 1887 in an area of Germany that is now part of Slovakia, Hofner also produced guitars, most Framus went bust primarily due often hollow-body models with to Japanese market domination in names like Chancellor, Committee, ’75, but was revived in 1995 (what Ambassador, and the low end did I say about common threads in Colorama, and were popular with this article?) and is still going strong young British and Euro guitarists, producing high quality guitars and primarily as starter instruments. Like basses. Indeed, Framus even operates Burns, Hofner guitars fought to catch a retail store in Manhattan, New York on in the USA, but the company (I have been there), and the guitars is still around. The violin “Beatle aren’t cheap by any means. Their Bass” is still readily available from Veri-Thin model has its fans. New Hofner in both high quality and low- York guitarist Frank Madaloni, better end versions, and has been copied by known as Earl Slick, and famous for many other overseas guitar makers. session work with David Bowie, John Lennon and many others, endorsed a signature model Framus for a while a few years ago, but that association has apparently come to an end. The Earl Slick models “streeted” for over $3900.


Hagstrom Condor

Framus Star Bass

Hofner Violin Bass

Hagstrom, founded in 1925 by Albin Hagstrom from Sweden, made accordions and eventually branched off

into guitar production in 1958. The guitars were plastic pearl and sparkle covered affairs, and they soon began to copy Fender designs with a great deal of success, both in Europe and the USA. Many youngsters started on Hagstrom Condor, Impala, H series and Kent model guitars, all of which boasted one of the thinnest necks in existence. Their hollow-body instruments such as the Viking also proved a good seller and their version of the single-cut Les Paul, The Swede, also enjoyed widespread popularity. Hagstrom was the first company to produce an 8-string bass that was used by Noel Redding, Mike Rutherford and even Jimi Hendrix. Hagstrom folded in 1983, but like all the other companies described in this article, they are now back in business and making solid quality mid-line guitars originating from Asia. All ‘60’s era Hagstrom guitars are readily available and are priced right as “sleeper” collectibles. For more information on ‘60’s era Western European guitars, visit www. Next time: We’ll look at those wacky Eastern European pawnshop prizes. Bob Cianci is a lifelong musician, music journalist, and author of the book, Great Rock Drummers of The Sixties, and has written extensively for many guitar and drum publications, newspapers, websites, and fanzines. He is a working guitarist and drummer in three bands in New Jersey. His guitar collection numbers over twenty-five pieces at the moment, and is constantly evolving.




The Bruce Thomas Burst In 1999 I attended the City of Roses guitar show in Portland, OR. The two organizers were Mick Flynn and, of the famed “Doug and Pat Show” on YouTube, Pat O’Donnell. That year they were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1959 Les Paul Sunburst. They had a display in the back corner, with velvet ropes surrounding a 1959 Les Paul. A local man, Bruce Thomas, paid his admission and walked around through the aisles of the show. He found his way to the back corner where the ’59 Les Paul was on display and proceeded to inquire about the owner of the guitar. Just then, one of show’s promoters, who owned the guitar, introduced himself to Bruce. Bruce stated that he had a guitar just like the Les Paul on display. The promoter asked Bruce if he could see it and informed Bruce that is may be worth a lot of money. Bruce proceeded to go to his home across the street from the show and bring the guitar back. When Bruce entered the show he was quickly taken to a back room where his guitar was examined by Mick, Pat and their friend Howard Leese (the guitar player from Heart). Bruce became uncomfortable with what he felt was a low offer from the group and informed them that he would keep the guitar instead of selling it. They exchanged phone numbers and Mick said that if he changed his mind about selling, to give him a call. Five years later I am sitting in my living room of our new house with my friend Alan Rogan (guitar tech to the stars) who was in Tacoma working with Crosby, Stills and Nash. Just then my phone rang. When I answered “Hello Mick”, Alan asked if it was Mick Flynn on the line. Mick had introduced me to Alan some 30 years before. Mick asked me what I would say if he knew of a 1959 Sunburst for sale and I told him I would want to buy it! He stated that the guitar from the Portland Guitar show was available and that I could call Bruce to arrange to buy it. I asked Mick to have the guy call me rather than me call him, as it shows more intent that way. Bruce called me the next day and we set an

photos by Joe Riggio


appointment for him to come up and show me the guitar. He and his brother drove up from Portland on a Thursday night. I felt a little out-numbered with two against one in the negotiation. Bruce informed me that he had contacted a famous Nashville guitar dealer that stated if he mailed the guitar to him he would sell it on consignment. Bruce said he also contacted a high level East Coast auction house that offered to consign the guitar. Bruce told me that he felt that if the guitar was as “rare” as everyone said why wouldn’t anyone buy it outright? Bruce told me that he and his brother like to fish and hunt, so they took the guitar to a hunting lecture by Ted Nugent prior to his concert. Ted asked if they could bring the guitar to the concert that night for his tech to inspect. After inspection, the tech gave the guitar a “thumbs up”. Ted asked if he could trade one of his famous guitars for the Les Paul. Bruce needed to sell it, so he told Ted that a trade wouldn’t work. Ted told Bruce that Billy Gibbons from ZZTop (the headlining act) was a guitar collector and may be interested in his guitar. Bruce and his brother stood at Billy’s dressing room door for 30 minutes but no one answered. Frustrated, they went home with the guitar. Bruce and I are the same age. He got the guitar from his grandfather Thomas Price, whose name appears on the top of the case. He received the guitar when both he and I were 10 years old in 1968. His grandfather passed shortly thereafter and the guitar became a symbol of his love for his grandfather, but he never learned to play it. Unfortunately, Bruce really now needed to sell the guitar and he knew I was willing to buy it outright, so we began the negotiation process. I made an offer, he turned it down. I offered to include a recent ‘59 re-issue that looked similar to his Les Paul in the deal, he wasn’t interested. I asked him to tell me his “number”. He stated that he imagined the negotiations would consist of him writing a number down on a piece of paper and I would write a number on a piece of

paper. Then if my number was within $10,000 of his, he would sell me the guitar. When he told me his “number”, I agreed to pay that amount. He again refused my offer and closed the case, telling me that putting the guitar in an auction would be a better choice. My heart sunk.

person willing to pay the exact amount that he had wanted and to sell the guitar to me! Bruce agreed with one stipulation. The guitar had sat on a shelf for so many years and was a symbol of his grandfather, so Bruce wanted to keep the case. I reluctantly agreed. Les Paul cases are expensive but I wasn’t willing to let that break the Just then, his brother who had not deal. We shook hands, I paid him and said anything during the negotiations they were on their way. told Bruce that I had been the only

About a month later Bruce called me and sold me the case. Rick King is the owner of Guitar Maniacs in Tacoma Washington. He lives in Gig Harbor with his wife Sheila, two dogs and a cat. Contact Rick:


ALL ABOUT AMPS with Skip Simmons

What to Look for When Buying a Vintage Amp Q). Skip, I’m in the market for my first vintage amp. What are a few things I should look for? A). Purchasing a vintage amp is very similar to buying any collectible. Originality and quality of repairs (if any) will always form the basis of an amp’s true value. First, I would look for original transformers. There are many fine replacement transformers available today, but unless you are looking for a more affordable “player” amp, I’d stick with original iron. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find that dream wrecking-yard filled with old Fender amps we can take parts from! Next up for consideration would be cosmetics and cabinet materials. Original coverings, grille cloth, knobs, and logos may not affect tone but they make a huge difference in the value and collectability of any amp. As with transformers, good re-issue parts are available, but there is nothing like the real thing!

If you are interested in building a collection, go ahead and snag a big Marshall, Ampeg, Hiwatt, or Sunn - if you see a great deal - but don’t expect to really experience the coolness of a high-powered amp in the average living room. They were made for high-volume stage and outdoor work, so don’t expect that “Live at Leeds” sound in a small room. On the plus side, the whole world has figured this out as well, so prices for the big bruiser amps and stacks are looking mighty good, especially when compared to popular small amps like the Fender Deluxe Reverb. If you are lucky enough to be acquainted with a knowledgeable and trusted dealer, you may not need to know, for example, the code number of a certain original speaker or transformer, but educating yourself is always a good call. Look at as many amps as you can, and don’t expect to learn it all over night. Don’t be fooled into learning “which phase-inverter circuit is most musical” or other amp gossip. Start with learning the bare-bones essentials of the amp you are


interested in. When was it made? What was that original transformer code? Find a groovy example of an amp on record (like Steve Cropper’s tweed Harvard) and give it a good listen. One more thought for now… you love your neighbor’s cool ‘65 MG sportscar? So you save up the dough and get one just like it only to find that the battery keeps going dead, it won’t idle and the wipers don’t work. Servicing is key! Skip’s Tip Speaking of educating yourself about vintage amps, one great way is to attend a vintage guitar show in your area. Where else can you see and play hundreds of guitars and amps while enjoying the inner peace that comes from seeing a bunch of people who are even crazier than you are. It’s just like watching “Cops” on TV! Skip Simmons is a nationally known vintage amp repairman. He can be reached at SkipSimmonsAmps. com

STATE OF THE UNION by David Belzer

The Big Three

I have met many vintage guitar collectors throughout my career, and the one thing that we all have in common is that we had to start somewhere. We each found a guitar that we decided to keep because it spoke to us in some special way, or reminded us of a time in our life that we love to remember. It was too nice to sell, so we kept it. And when the next awesome guitar came along, if we had the money, we bought that one too. And thus we became collectors. When the opportunity arises for someone to acquire that first guitar, a number of things come into play. I am often asked what is the best guitar to start collecting, and how much will it be worth in five or ten years. What model will be worth more down the road? What guitar will make the best investment? I’ve often responded to these questions by saying that I’m not a

fortuneteller or a stockbroker. I’m a guitar guy that knows a good guitar and that’s what I will find for you.

what you feel passionate about, or what holds some special significance for you, but obviously how much you can afford plays a huge role.

The first consideration in buying a great guitar is how much you have to spend. I A friend of mine recently came into some am a strong believer that you have to collect money and he was trying to decide how he should invest in some vintage guitars and start building his collection. He asked if he should buy one expensive vintage guitar that he had always wanted; one that would appreciate or at least hold it’s value down the road or should he buy several less expensive guitars, still desirable and collectable. We discussed the guitar that he has his eye on and the price was in line, pending of course, that everything checks out and it is as described. The passionate collector in me says buy the guitar that you have always wanted and it will mean something to you. But consider this first. Are you buying this guitar with the expectation that it will increase in value in the future and it will be a part of your


Maybe 80’s and 90’s guitars such as Charvel’s and Jackson’s are more your thing. Those 80’s guitars are starting to be desired and the good ones are also increasing in value. As with most collectables, as each generation moves up the economic ladder they tend to want to acquire those things they coveted as a younger person but could not afford. So you see, there are a lot of options for the price of one 50’s Fender guitar. Now back to my friend. After really giving it some thought, I would tell him to buy the 50’s Fender Stratocaster and here’s why. It takes up less room than five or six guitars and it will easier to hide from your wife. Okay, just kidding on that part (unless you really have to hide it from your wife!) Seriously, I would tell him to buy the 50’s Stratocaster because it’s what he always wanted. If you don’t get what you really want, you are still going to want it. That want is not going to go away and it will haunt you. Once again, the heart of collecting is driven by the passion for what you want to collect. The worst that can happen (and I have seen this happen more than once) is that you end up not liking the guitar of your dreams and realize it’s not for you. It happens. If that’s the case, as long as the guitar is in great condition and you bought it right in the first place, then you should always be able to sell or trade out of it.

investment portfolio, per se? If that is the case, the investor in me immediately says diversify. If you are doing this primarily as an investment, I would advise that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. In this case, it’s better to have three or four really good guitars in a price range more people could afford than one expensive guitar, which would lower your percentage of possible future buyers. Let me give you some examples of possible options. You could buy one 50’s Fender Stratocaster, or for the same money, buy one

60’s Fender Stratocaster, one 50’s Gibson Les Paul Junior and maybe add an early 60’s Gibson Hummingbird or a Martin D28. You could buy a number of clean 70’s guitars as well. Although the 70’s are not known as the “quality” decade for manufacturing, Fender, Martin, Gibson, BC Rich, Rickenbacker and others did make some decent quality guitars during that period. Not only are some of these guitars over 40 years old now but the desirable models in original condition have held their value and seem to be appreciating.

I’ve always tended to favor what I refer to as “The Big Three”, Fender, Gibson and Martin. I just can’t help myself. All three have had their ups and downs but no matter how you slice it, they are the manufacturers of the most blue chip guitars on the planet over the last 50 plus years. Whatever you decide to buy, pick it up, play it and enjoy! David Belzer is one of the top vintage guitar authorities in the world, with over 30 years of experience in vintage. His knowledge of vintage guitars is only exceeded by his passion for playing them. For more information or to contact him directly, visit



Sonuus i2M Musicport by Michael Elsner

Many guitarists are generally unfamiliar with, and even oftentimes apprehensive of, integrating MIDI devices into our systems, however being able to trigger MIDI with an instrument we’re already familiar with is not only extremely inspiring, but a whole lot of fun too! The i2M Musicport from Sonuus is the perfect companion for guitarists who want to turn their guitar into a midi controller. Overview The i2M is a guitar to MIDI converter that works with any guitar or bass. Simply plug your guitar into the 1/4” jack, and connect the Musicport to your computer with the included USB cable. There is also an i2M Desktop Editor for the unit available for download via Sonuus’ website. Size wise, the i2M is very compact, just shy of 3 inches in length with a width of about 1 inch. On the unit itself is a single mode button which allows you to select between 4 different performance modes, each indicated by the color of the illuminated Sonuus Logo on the device. There are two performance modes for guitar, Pitch Bend and Chromatic (modes 1 and 2 respectively), as well as these same two performance modes optimized for 5 string bass (modes 3 and 4). Understanding the difference between these modes is essential for the unit to respond well to your playing. With amazing accuracy, the i2M tracks the pitch of notes, and outputs pitch bend MIDI messages. However, there are times you don’t want to output pitch bend info, for example,

some serious bonus points for making this process so quick and efficient Test Drive Impression

when triggering piano sounds. That’s where Chromatic mode comes into play. This mode, selectable via the mode button on the unit itself, or within the editor, essentially quantizes notes to the nearest semitone. Within the editor, you can also enable the “scale” option, where notes can be further quantized to only those notes within a particular scale, making it impossible to play out of key. Setup Out of the box, my setup time was literally just minutes. First, I went to the Sonuus website and created a user account. This allowed me to download a few pieces of software such as the Sonuus Firmware Editor, as well as the latest i2M version. After going through the 10 second process to update the firmware, I downloaded and installed the i2M Desktop Editor Software, an essential application that allows for in depth control over the unit.



I was initially impressed with the speed and ease of setup. There was absolutely no hassle or ‘learning curve.’ The Editor Software was easy to navigate and included an extremely useful feature called the Velocity Filter adjustment. Because the i2M is so responsive, you can easily trigger unwanted notes through insufficient muting of the strings. To prevent this, you can set the Velocity Filter so only the notes whose velocity is equal to, or above the determined value, will be allowed. I could’t get over the tracking and speed of its guitar to MIDI conversion. The i2M takes even the slightest of inflections and string expressions such as bending, vibrato, and volume, and converts that to MIDI information with absolutely no audible latency between the time you strike the string and hear the triggered MIDI device. The only limiting factor with the i2M Musicport is that it’s a monophonic device, which means you can only play single notes with this particular unit.

Overall, I have to say I love this piece of gear. I’ve spent hours and hours just playing and triggering some of the craziest sounds Once everything was updated, I that I never expected could be performed simple opened my DAW, in this case with a guitar. Most importantly, after having Propellerhead’s Reason, and the i2M was integrated it into my recording system, I’ve immediately recognized. I was triggering have been writing some really inspiring midi instruments immediately. It couldn’t music with it. have been any easier, and Sonuus gets Its tracking ability, ease of use, as well as the thoroughness of the editing software that accompanies the unit, are worth the price of admission alone. Simply put, the i2M does exactly what it says it will do, and does it very well. At a price point of only $149.99, the i2m Musicport opens up a whole new world for guitarists. Michael Elsner is a guitarist/ songwriter/producer whose written for shows including American Idol, Amish Mafia, EXTRA, The Sing Off, and So You Think You Can Dance among many others.



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3 Monkeys Amps Orangutan Jr. by Doug Doppler

SPECS: 15 Watts Output with Master Volume Two 6V6 Output Tubes (Cathode Bias) Three 12AX7 Preamp Tubes Foot switchable BOOST Celestion G12M-65 Creamback Speaker Gold Plexi Panels Volume Treble Bass Reverb Master Volume Dimensions: 18.75”W x 16”H x 8.25”D The Orangutan Jr. is the latest release from 3 Monkeys Amps. Founded by guitar and amp tech to the stars Greg Howard (Aerosmith, Jimmy Page, The Black Crowes, Linkin Park, Green Day etc.), veteran amp builder Ossie Ahsen (Blockhead amps), and Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, 3 Monkeys Amps is all about tone—something the Orangutan Jr. delivers in spades. HEARING VOICES Traversing between the various extremes of the Volume, Master, and foot switchable Boost controls quickly revealed that there are a host of great tones on tap here. From the chimey cleans to rich distortion, this amp delivers the goods. INSTRUMENT RESPONSIVE Regardless of where the amp was set, this

amp was nothing short of brilliant in terms of its ability to respond to the various instruments I plugged in. The Gretsch was chimey yet rich, the Strat was spanky yet full, and the SG just plain went to eleven! At higher gain settings, the amp did a great job of cleaning up when I backed off the volume control on any of the guitars I tried. If you’re a player who loves crafting tones from your instrument, you’ll love the organic way this amp interacts with your guitar.

making for a very rewarding play. It’s a total joy to plug into an amp that actually wants to work with you as you toggle between various dynamic ranges and registers on your instrument. POWER TRAIN

For me, it’s impossible to separate the feature set from the tone that comes out, and I have Noting that your average soundman is to admit that this amp is a bit of a mystery. almost never going to let you open up your It speaks AC30 AND Plexi Marshall, which 100-watt amp to the “sweet spot”, there is is really interesting considering it is powered a lot to love about this 15-watter. With an by a pair of 6V6s. Where a Deluxe Reverb SM57 and a monitor this amp is WAY tends to get floppy in the bottom end when gigable. That said, this amp screams studio you turn it up, the Orangutan Jr. is anything darling, and the fact that Butch Walker is but flaccid. using one is about as good an endorsement The foot-switchable Boost bypasses the you could ever look for. Bass control and adds a perfect blend of STAGE OR STUDIO

Where some amps excel at doing one thing really well, pretty much every tone the Orangutan Jr. produces sounds great. That said, the ability to craft and fine tune tones with oodles of nuance is really where this amp excels. TOUCH SENSITIVE We’ve all played our share of “one note” amps, and perhaps the most enjoyable thing about the Orangutan Jr. is how touch sensitive it is. At higher gain settings it was super easy to control the drive of the amp by how hard or soft I attacked the strings with my pick or fingers. Even with the lightest attack the tone remained full of body,


volume, gain, and punch to the mix. When stomped back into the off position, the amps just gets a bit smaller, but still feels great under your finger tips. The Celestion G12M-65 Creamback is PERFECT in this amp and does a brilliant job of translating the collection of big tones and small nuances that define the Orangutan Jr. If you’re looking for an amp that delivers great tones that are as meaty as they are sweet, the Orangutan Jr. delivers… not to mention what a good-looking amp this is. There was no monkeying around here… well done! For more information, please visit Street: $1799.00 When Doug Doppler is not writing gear reviews, the former Guitar Hero session player and Favored Nations recording artist spends his days, hours, weeks and years demoing the coolest gear on the planet for his web site

Is it Real? Is it Chinese? How Do You Know? Here’s the Deal… by Gabriel J. Hernandez

Let’s face it; as much as we all want to be experts in all things “guitar,” the majority of us don’t really qualify. Don’t get me wrong … we all probably fall under the category of a well-versed “guitar enthusiast.” And for those that play guitar for a living … well, you’re an entirely different animal. Nevertheless, many try very hard and their efforts are certainly commendable. But there’s a lot of knowledge out there to digest regarding all the different guitars, and if you’re not careful you can easily end up with a guitar that looks, smells and plays like the real thing, when in fact it’s not. Every day more and more non-assuming consumers (and dealers, too) are falling victims to the many counterfeits that have flooded the market these last few years. The main reason? Many countries (like China) don’t recognize and/or enforce the trademark laws of the United States and allow these products to be manufactured and sold freely over the Internet. So while companies and law enforcement authorities in the United States work diligently with these countries to stop the flow of counterfeit instruments into the U.S., their efforts are almost fruitless because of the lack of urgency on the part of the countries that allow this to happen in the first place. In China, for example, the country’s trademark laws are on a “first come, first served” system, and many of the guitar manufacturers failed to trademark their brand in China before someone else inside the country trademarked the same name and brand. The result? Today’s counterfeit guitar market is more prevalent than ever before, and more of them are showing up in the hands of both unassuming consumers, as well as people with not-so-nice intentions. Take the recent arrest this past March of Wade Massey by the Murfreesboro, Tenn.,

police department for allegedly selling counterfeit Gibson guitars to seven different pawn shops in and around the Nashville area. His case is still pending, but according to police reports Massey allegedly sold or pawned guitars he assumed were authentic Gibson instruments worth thousands of dollars. Massey told police he didn’t know they were fakes, and the pawn shops thought they were real until one of them took a guitar to be appraised, only to find out it wasn’t real. On a much larger scale, U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents this past April seized nearly 200 counterfeit guitars worth more than $1 million at a mail facility in New Jersey. In that case, the load of counterfeits included Gibsons, as well as other brands like Fender, Martin, Taylor, Paul Reed Smith, Ernie Ball and Epiphone. Authorities reported finding business cards inside each package with the name of a website that offered the guitars from China for $200-to-$500 each. The agency reported that authentic guitars just like the ones seized have suggested retail prices ranging from $2,000 to as much as $54,000. Every guitar seized was also allegedly stamped “Made in U.S.A.” Personally, I’ve been playing guitar since the age of six. I’m now 51, and have been buying and selling guitars for the better part of the last 15 years – six of those as a bona fide business that feeds my family. And just when I think I know everything there is to know about spotting fake guitars, along comes another one (not necessarily fake) that offers me yet another valuable lesson in figuring out what’s real and what’s not. Anyone that wants to build a personal guitar collection, or simply own a few different models for different styles of music, should know how to tell an authentic from a fake.




And if you’re just getting into vintage guitars you may also consider learning how to spot guitars that have been altered, because the ones that have been altered usually have been to hopefully increase their value in the “eyes” of the buyer … because in the “eyes” of the market, any altered vintage guitar in most cases is worth less money than one that isn’t. So, let’s start with the popular Gibson Les Paul Standard. Pick any year from 1954 thru today, and I guarantee you there’s a fake Gibson Les Paul out there from that year. Some are poorly made and easy to spot. But some of these overseas companies are getting pretty good at replicating the characteristics of an authentic Gibson Les Paul. Here are a few tips that should help you figure out if you’re looking at a fake or authentic Gibson Les Paul Standard:

• Look at the serial number. For the most

part, every Gibson guitar made prior to 1953 has a serial number or “factory-order number” (FON) located on either the neck block (inside the guitar), or a label (also inside the guitar). From 1953 to today, most Gibson solidbody guitars have the serial number either “inked” (1953 to 1961) or stamped into the back of the headstock (1961 to today). The serial numbers on fake Gibsons almost NEVER match the font of the serial number of a real Gibson guitar, though some have come close in recent years. On stamped Gibson headstocks, the company has for years used the same stamping machine, so if you’re looking at a stamped serial number you should be able to tell pretty quickly. Additionally, if you have any doubts simply call the Gibson Customer Service Department and give them the serial number. They can instantly check any serial number after 1993, and if you send them a picture via email they continued on page 35

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Dobro Model 206 “The ‘Holy Grail’ of Prewar Dobros” By Steve Toth

1932 Dobro - Model 206 So, with a strange look on his face, he asked me – “what in the world is a Dobro”? It’s a question I’ve heard many times before and expect to keep hearing well into the future. Then, being a bonafide Dobro fanatic, I began once again with my explanation of the origin of the name and the instrument called the Dobro. The name derives from the inventor of the instrument, John Dopyera, and his Brothers who took the “do” from their name “Dopyera” and the “bro” from “brothers” to form the word “dobro”. The brothers also happened to be of “Slovakian” descent and the word for “good” in their language and several other Slavic languages is “dobro”. In fact, I am of Croatian descent and when I visited my relatives in Croatia several years ago everything seemed to have a “dobro” in it. “Dobro jutro” was “good morning”, “dobro vece” was “good evening” and so on throughout the day. So they gave the name “Dobro” to the new type of guitar, also called a resophonic guitar, that John invented in the late 1920’s (which had a single resonator cone).


photos by Anthony Donez

Dobro Model 206

But the story begins a little before that. You see John Dopyera had, a few years earlier, invented a triple cone or “tricone” resophonic guitar which was given the more reasonable name, the “National” guitar. Both instruments were the results of a quest to make a regular Spanish or Hawaiian guitar louder so it could be heard during performances above other instruments or in venues larger than a living room. The experimentation into electric pickups, electric guitars and amplifiers was still in its infancy so only some form of “acoustic” method

of amplification was all that was available. Fortunately, he was very successful at reaching his goal of a louder guitar by the use of “resonating“ cones made of aluminum! But, after a few years at the National String Instrument Corporation, he found that the relationships with his financial and business partners became unacceptable, so John and his brothers went on their own and started the Dobro Corporation, Ltd. The National Instruments were initially made of metal and the three “cones” which

produced the sound faced downward. The Dobro Instruments on the other hand were made of wood and the single “cone” faced upward with a “spider” shaped bridge supporting the strings. The “cones” of both instruments were made of an aluminum alloy. And over the years the Nationals generally became more associated with blues and Hawaiian music and the Dobros generally with country and then, later, bluegrass music. From here on our discussion will deal solely with Dobro Guitars made of wood. Although, I will mention that eventually National also made wood body instruments and eventually Dobro made metal body instruments. And both made instruments other than guitars such as mandolins, tenor guitars, ukuleles and other instruments. And eventually the two companies merged together to form the National-Dobro Corporation. The Dobro guitars produced during the initial period of production are generally referred to as “prewar” Dobros since production started in 1929 but ended in 1941 when U.S. involvement in World War II started. They would not be made again until the late 1950’s to early 1960’s. I first got turned on to the dobro after hearing “Uncle Josh” Buck Graves performing on the radio as a member of the popular bluegrass group Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys

continued on page 30


Dobro Model 206 continued from page 27 in the mid 1950’s. Shortly after that, I got to see Uncle Josh in person and I was really hooked. He was outstanding and his dobro sounded incredible. I started playing the dobro soon after that and played for a long time before I started “accumulating” them. I found that I could never sell one even after I had just bought one to replace it. I then finally acknowledged to myself (and my very understanding wife) that I was actually a “collector” of prewar Dobros when I had very little room left in my house to store them. All along, as I was collecting the various models, my two goals were to collect as many of the almost 30 different prewar models that were made and the other was that one day I could just see the top-ofthe- line prewar Dobro, the Model 206. It had a spruce top, walnut back, sides and neck, gold plated, engraved metal parts, gold sparkle binding on the top and back and pearl tuner buttons among other features. I never, ever expected to see one up for sale since only three were known to still exist. So I did the next best thing and started searching for a Beard Guitars - Model 206 which was inspired by the 1930’s Model 206 and made by one of the excellent, modern, resophonic guitar luthiers, Paul Beard. It was not an exact replica but it contained most of the distinguishing features of the prewar 206. Then one day while I was scanning eBay I spotted a Beard Model 206. Needless to say, since it looked in real nice condition, I jumped into the bidding and eventually ended up winning it! When it was delivered it was in great shape with only a few dings here and there. I had my Beard “206”. At this point I should mention that all the prewar dobros were made of laminated wood and none were made of solid wood. So too was the Beard 206 I purchased. However, the tops of the current Beard Model 206 are now made of solid spruce. The Beard 206 was also called the “LeRoy Mack Model”. It was named after LeRoy “Mack” McNees who was one of the lucky few who had an original prewar Dobro Model 206 and played it in performances for many years. He was with a band called the Country Boys (later known as the Kentucky Colonels) which included Clarence and Roland White. They were noted for making guest appearances on the popular Andy Griffith TV Show. I eventually got to meet LeRoy, a super guy, and to finally see his Dobro Model 206. It was a great instrument with most of the parts and finish intact and it had an excellent sound. Now I hoped that some day I’d come across one for sale.

sounding better than many prewar dobros. So I worked away, making some progress, but all the while remembering that I loved the sound of both the prewar ones and the newer ones too, even though they are quite different in tone and volume. Then one day I received an email from a dobro playing friend in a small town in New Jersey (I was living in San Diego, CA at this time) saying he had seen that Gruhn Guitars in Nashville had a prewar Dobro - Model 206 advertised for sale. I emailed him back that it can’t be but if it was it was probably gone by now. I then quickly went to the Gruhn website and sure enough there it was - a 1932 Dobro - Model 206! So, I called up Gruhn’s and held my breath while the phone was ringing wondering what I would hear when I inquired about this instrument. I got one of their pleasant, friendly salespeople (sorry I don’t remember his name) and asked the big question – “Do you still have that Dobro - Model 206?”. He said, “Wait just a minute, I’ll check our inventory”. Another minute to wait, oh no! He came back quite quickly and said, “Sure, we still have it – are you interested?”. I said, “I sure am, and I’ll take it”. I could hardly believe Dobro 206 & Beard 206... Then & Now. it. So, I proceeded to finalize the financial part of the deal and he said he would ship experimenting with improving the sound it 3-day air to me in California since it was of some of them. The final set-ups of the such a valuable instrument (which was fine prewar Dobros left quite a bit to be desired with me). I had him address it to my local so most of them needed minor adjustments UPS Service Center so I would not have to here and there to get the full potential sound wait until the truck came at the end of the out of the instrument. And, also at this time, day to my house. I would have UPS call me in significant advances in design and technology the morning when they received it and then I had been made in dobro/resophonic guitar would pick it right up there before 9 am of the construction. This resulted in many of the 3rd day - so I thought. Well, a truly surprising newer instruments made by fine custom thing happened and the Dobro must have builders like Paul Beard, Tim Scheerhorn, gotten on the next flight out of Nashville to Bobby Wolfe, Tooter Meredith and others San Diego. Because the very next morning at about 8:30 am I got a call from UPS saying that they had received it. Wow, unbelievable! I zipped over in my car and I had the Model 206 at home by 9 am. I had the Holy Grail of Prewar Dobros in my hands, in my home, and it was mine… at least for the time being. Actually I was just the keeper for the present moment, since we all are only “custodians” of these fine instruments for a short time and eventually pass them on to the next happy “custodian/owner”.

I went along collecting the various prewar Dobro models and playing them too, of course. At the same time I was also


I hope you enjoy the photos of my 1932 Dobro - Model 206 and my Beard Model 206 - Leroy Mack Model! Steve Toth is the author of the new book “DOBRO ROOTS – A Photo Tour of Prewar Wood Body Dobros”. He has also written three popular dobro instruction books including “Dobro Techniques for Bluegrass and Country Music” and has a solo dobro CD, “Sliding Down The Road”. He is a dobro player, teacher, and collector and resides with his wife, Louise, in San Diego, CA He can be contacted at: Paul Beard 206

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Simple Theory For Improv “The Blues Scale Potential” I’ve presented classes at a number of conferences about playing improv solos. I like to show a little trick I discovered over the years that can make soloing easier & mistake free. It’s a system using just the simple blues scale based on different degrees of the key or chords, each offering different textures or favors. I’d like to share this with you. The blues scale is usually the first scale guitar players learn along with the minor pentatonic scale. Let’s review the blues scale formula and apply it to the key of “A”.

(Even if this is too elementary for you, please read on)

a “Major” sounding progression like that of many songs in major keys. Play this chord progression C G Am F / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / and use the “A” blues scale over it (“A” being the 6th of “C”) to create some lead riffs. Don’t add any other notes to the blues scale. Notice how there’s a very “major sound” that focuses on the 3rd of the key, E. Most pop music is very major sounding so if you’re a lead guitar player, find the 6th of the key and build a blues scale from that note to create your solos. It’s fool proof as long as you stick to the blues scale. This also creates a country sound so I call it the “Barn Sound” Remember the 5th of the blues scale that the other notes are pointing toward (E) is now the 3rd of the key… that is why it sounds so major.

Next is blues based on the 5th degree. When we play a blues scale based off the 5th of a dominant 7th or minor 7th chord we get a sound, which I like to call the “The Jazz Club” sound. This is that “smooth jazz sound” that accentuates now the 9th of the chord. Try playing the same riffs in the “A” blues scale but this time over a Dm7 vamp. If I play some lead riffs from this “A” blues scale over a rock progression in the key of Dm9 “A” I’m going to get a hard bluesy/rock / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / Hear how sound. Try playing some leads over this rock the blues scale focuses on the “E” which is progression A5 D5 E5 A5 now the 9th, this changes the whole flavor of / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / the our scale and is a trick of your favorite This is blues based on the root and creates jazz player.

If you play this scale over and over you’ll find that the first four notes have a pointing effect to the 5th. Try stopping on Eb and see how your ear wants to hear the E natural. This is important to remember because it’s the how the E natural relates to certain chord progressions that changes the sound or favor of the blues scale.

what I like to call the “Biker Bar” sound, which is caused by the tension of the b3 and b5 over major chords. It works great over dominant 7th and minor chords as well. However playing this blues scale over other progressions can produce many more textures.

Our last application is blues based on the 3rd degree. This brings outs the major 7th of a chord progression and creates a sound, which I like to call the “Holiday Inn” sound.

This works well with songs that have a strong major 7th sound in their chord progression. Since “A” is the 3rd of the key Next is blues based on the 6th degree. Here is of “F”, try playing riffs from the “A” blues


scale around this progression Fmaj7 Bbmaj7 Gmin7 C11 / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / / See how the same blues scale takes on even another flavor? AMAZING! Lay down a backing track in these four styles and experiment. Notice how the same blues scale changes its texture by the chords that are played in the backing track. Now lay down on your looper some blues riffs in “A” remember you can’t add any other notes to the blues scale, you only have six to work with. Then play the four different chord progressions and you’ll be amazed how it changes the texture of the riffs. Here are a couple simple riffs that I want you to experiment over these four progressions.

I hope this helps give you some ideas for lead playing. You can watch my instruction video at www. Click on the ‘Blues” button and look for “The Blues Scale Potential”. A video is worth a thousand words. Till next time, may God bless your hard work, Rich

Rich Severson, guitarist, clinician, author, band director, former GIT instructor. To preview Rich’s music and guitar educational products go to and

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The new Yamaha L-Series offers the perfect combination of traditional and modern: a warm, balanced tone that fits perfectly into a solo performance or mix; timeless good looks inspired by Yamaha’s 50 years of guitar crafting; instant played-in comfort; and stage-ready performance with Yamaha’s new Zero Impact SRT pickup.

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Then & Now… The Story of The Paul Yandell “Duo-Tron” Pick-up by Bruce Adolph

This past July an historic product was launched by legendary electric guitar and bass pickup maker Tom “TV” Jones with the release of the Paul Yandell “Duo-Tron” pickup. The announcement came at Nashville’s historic Musician’s Hall of Fame with a press conference featuring members of Yandell’s family, TV Jones staff and such vaunted players as Steve Wariner, Craig Dobbins and Paul Moseley plus media. Thomas “TV” Jones and Paul Yandell met in 2005 and began discussing the project, among other things. Upon Mr. Yandell’s passing in 2011, Mr. Yandell’s family reached out to Tom to complete the design, development and production of “The Duo-Tron,” (as Mr. Yandell called the pickup.) This is a significantly historic pickup and is directly related to the very first patented “humbucking” electric guitar pickup, invented by close Yandell friend and legendary inventor, Mr. Ray Butts. The unique and proprietary design links to Paul’s earlier collaborations with Mr. Butts, whose initial concept is laid out in his original patent drawings, (No. 2,892,371, filed Jan. 22, 1957 and awarded June 30, 1959.) After Butts’ passing, Jones was bequeathed pickup parts, tooling and other items by Ray’s daughter, Katha House and his grandson, James House. All items are housed at the TV Jones headquarters today. Jones’ well known product line and stellar reputation in the industry - coupled with his close relationships with Yandell and the Butts family - were what provided the final impetus to bring the Duo-Tron to life. The pickup features a combination of pole screws and blades across the string range that perfectly accommodates the fingerpicking techniques mastered by Atkins, Yandell and other greats. This design provides players of all genres with clarity and attack across all strings. “Remember, Dad designed this pickup with Chet in mind,” said Yandell’s son, Michah. “So the

standard was pretty high to begin with.” Visually the Duo-Tron is stunning and features a proprietary finish unlike any other in the TV Jones lineup. Traditional plating options are available as well. In a 2010 quote on the forum, Yandell said about his design: “I’m always trying to think of something different … Chet always said the bars gave him a bigger note. It’s balanced really well and the treble strings have a slight edge… it’s something I’ve been thinking about building for some time.” “I know Paul would be so pleased,” said his widow, Mrs. Marie Yandell. “Paul really wanted Tom to produce this pickup. He thought Tom was the greatest and just loved talking to him and working with him from the very first time they met. He was so impressed with Tom’s creativeness and knowledge.” “The hallmark of the Yandell/ Duo-Tron neck pickup,” said Jones, “is that the player won’t lose any sensitivity bending the treble strings. You’ll notice a fuller, bolder response that affects both sound - and equally important – feel.” “On the bass side,”

Jones continued, “I’ve dialed in a tone directly reminiscent of Ray’s original Filter’Tron but with a touch more dynamic attack – it’s a little more focused and rounded,” continued Jones. “Remember, this pickup was developed by a master fingerpicker for none other than Chet Atkins. It has nice dynamic pop in the bass, and full-bodied tone for melody. The responsiveness of this pickup is really something to behold for players of other genres too – Blues and Rock and harder-Rock players will absolutely love it. Overall, the bridge pickup is well-balanced, with bold bass strings, and traditional slightly compressed treble strings.” From The Tennessean: …(Yandell) moved to Nashville from his home state of Kentucky in 1955 and started his musical career playing with the Louvin Brothers until 1959. After serving in the Army, Mr. Yandell spent most of the ’60s performing with Kitty Wells, Johnnie Wright and worked for a year with George Hamilton IV. From 1970-’75, Yandell said he “went to college” by playing with Reed, which segued into his 25-year post as Chet Atkins’ premier sideman. “Nobody was closer to Chet than Paul,” said Atkins’ daughter, Merle Atkins Russell. “He was literally a lifelong friend, his righthand man and a very dear friend.” Mounting options are standard “no ears” and English mount. Base Price: $150 Specs: Neck 4.0 K DCR Bridge 7.4 K DCR “I feel a great responsibility to both the Yandell and Butts families. This is a truly historic project,” said Jones. “I’m really excited to hear what comes back from players around the world with this one. Working with Paul and his family and the Butts family has been an honor.” As Paul loved to say: “You know that’s right!”

Paul Yandell and Thomas “TV” Jones, 2008


If you are interested, the base price is $150.00 (Specs: Neck 4.0 K DCR Bridge 7.4 K DCR, mounting options are standard “no ears” and English mount).

Is It Real?... continued from page 24 are very good at getting back to you with their findings.

• Look at the shape of the headstock and

the Gibson logo on the headstock. A fake Les Paul headstock has a more severe, less sweeping flow, and a deeper notch. Also, the logo on a fake Les Paul is usually not Mother of Pearl with a rather “plastic” quality to it, and most look rather “bloated.”

• Over the years Gibson has manufactured a number of different Tune-o-Matic bridge styles. However, NEVER have they made one with large bore slotted head screws on each end. They all sit on top of a pole piece that can be adjusted up or down by simply turning it in the direction desired. The top of that pole piece is smooth, with no slot for a screwdriver of any type. Additionally, the saddles are not as low-profile.

• A real Gibson Les Paul has a low pro-



Collectible Guitar magazine’s passion is all things guitar - vintage to new, then and now.

• The binding on all Gibson Les Pauls have

very crisp clean lines, especially the multilayered bindings found on Gibson Les Paul Customs. The bindings on most fakes are almost always wavy and usually look very sloppy. Additionally, the fingerboard binding on any Les Paul prior to 2014 goes over the ends of each fret (Gibson changed this feature in mid-2014). On a fake, the fret wire is usually very poorly installed, and usually goes all the way over the side of the fingerboard and over the binding. A simple test is to run your fingers up and down each side of the fingerboard ... if it’s a fake you’ll probably cut your finger on the end of the frets. This is the the second best way to spot a fake Les Paul (serial numbers being the first).


The legendary Phil Keaggy reading Collectible Guitar

continued on page 54 file Corian nut with very shallow slots that allow the player to adjust to taste. The nut on a fake is usually made of generic, cheap, deep cut plastic. Another great way to tell a fake is to look at how the neck binding meets the nut … on a real Gibson the binding stays the same width and ends neatly at the nut. On a fake the binding is much wider at the nut, and pretty obvious. This is also a characteristic of many other name brand fakes.


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The Guitar Doesn’t Fall Far from the Family Tree an interview with

Gordon Kennedy

by Bruce Adolph

Gordon with his 1957 Fender Esquire


GORDON KENNEDY I first met Gordon Kennedy long before he won his first Grammy (he, Tommy Sims and Wayne Kirkpatrick co-wrote “Change the World”) with a song that Eric Clapton and Babyface made popular. He won another Grammy for producing Peter Frampton’s “Fingerprints” record. But I knew him when he was a session guitarist playing in Nashville. I liked him immediately as I knew a few CCM artists (Contemporary Christian Music) in Nashville that were on a shoe string budget and Gordon would show up for the gig and give it his all (even when he was agreeing to a less than normal pay scale). That showed me his heart to help people. I helped Gordon on a few different guitar endorsement deals back in the day and we became friends. Somehow or another we run into each other about every five years or so and now it has happened again… what still amazes me is that even with all of his successes (and there are too many to list here) he is still the same guy I knew back then… friendly and helpful.

great records. I would learn all of the lead parts to The Allman Brother’s “Fillmore East” album. They were kind enough to play of lot of licks… then repeat them before moving onto the next phrase (kind of like an instructional recording). The summer before my senior year in high school had me doing my first session for a major act, Johnny Rodriguez. I did a solo on a song called “Run Like A Thief ” and then did a twin guitar with my father on “Remember Me.” He would have me back over the next few years playing for artists like Beck Hobbs, Jacky Ward, and then on Reba McEntire. I played on her 1st top 5 and then her first #1 single. While I was cutting my teeth early on with this great Fender Tele, I remembered Dad had a similar guitar that had sat in a closet for many years, no case, and same type body as my Tele. I fished it out one day and looked at it and saw that it was not a Telecaster but rather, an Esquire. When I plugged it in, I was struck by the vast difference in sound between my mid ‘70s one and this, which turned out to be a 1957! You might say that this was my first experience with new vs. vintage guitars. Somebody had stuck this red shelving paper; glued it to the body. It had the words “The Fugitive” on it and little gold and black stars all over it. It must have been a stage guitar for someone. I asked my dad for permission to play it, then ultimately to pull that paper off. He said, “Have at it”. So, 6 hours and blisters on all of my fingers later,

photos by Matt Huesmann

You have had quite a beautiful ride as a professional musician so far and it seems like you have been entrusted to be a steward of some iconic/historic musical instruments along the way. Tell us what it has been like from your vantage point starting out as a young upcoming session musician/songwriter and how these very collectible guitars have come into your possession along the way?

I have been blessed. I am a secondgeneration musician. My father, Jerry Kennedy, is a member of the group of session musicians from Nashville known as the “A Team Players”. My earliest childhood memories are of a basement full of guitars, an amplifier or two, an upright piano and a jukebox that spun 45 rpm records. While most families might have a common favorite television show that they watched together, my fondest memories of our family gathered around something was when we would all sit in one room together, staring at the stereo speakers, and listen to the freshest session that my father would’ve carried home that day on a reel-to-reel tape. It might have been Roger Miller, Jerry Lee Lewis, or some record that he just was really knocked out with, like the Beatles “Hey Jude”. There was a toggle switch on the back of that jukebox, I remember shocking myself on it more than once, but it turned it on and let you play the records sans using coins. I would lie on the floor in front of it and listen to the music and feel the floor shake… Buster Brown’s “Fannie Mae” or my father’s instrumental “Willie And The Hand Jive” parts 1 and 2. I would dream of the day when I would do this myself... make music. After a series of inexpensive acoustic guitars during my early years, my father got me a Telecaster for Christmas my freshman year in high school. That was it for me. I would spend countless hours every day playing and trying to emulate what I was hearing on all of these

left to right... 1946 Martin D-18 1997 Martin 000-28EC 2012 Martin model 518 or Terz 2007 Martin 000-28EC 2006 Martin D-42 Peter Frampton number 4 of 76, he got the first 3.


GORDON KENNEDY often answer “whatever was in the studio that day”. I think my generation enjoyed so much the records these guys were making that it made us want to know what they were using. Consequently, there is the vintage market. Everybody from players, doctors, lawyers, and just collectors want what our heroes used. I have some really great old guitars but I never intended to be a collector. Once I could acquire some great guitars, it was for the purpose of playing them. I took a trip to Norfolk, Nebraska back in 1999 to buy a bunch of guitars that I had only seen on a video done by the family of their late brother. I was told that he had collected all of these guitars and amps and dreamed of being in music. In fact, he’d stand in front of the mirror and play. I love that. I went, really not knowing exactly what I was picking up. I met the whole family who had turned up to bid farewell to his music gear. It was really a sweet moment. Ten guitars and eleven amps in total. As it turned out, among the guitars were a 1954 Gibson Les Paul Standard, a 1959 Fender Strat (hardtail) and a 1961 Fender Tele. They were such amazing guitars and yet I felt as though I were a carpenter and had just gone to Sears and bought a bunch of Craftsman tools.

1961 Fender Telecaster 1959 Fender Stratocaster 1954 Gibson Les Paul Standard 1959 Gibson ES-335 1960 Gretsch 6120 (gift from Garth) I had that paper off and am now looking at this powder blue paint. I could see in certain spots where the original paint was blonde, like my Telecaster. I decided to strip the finish entirely. After playing the guitar like that for a little while, I saw where my arm was turning the top of the guitar dark so I took it to Corner Music in Nashville and had them shoot a clear coat over it. It remained a natural finish up until about 6 years ago when I decided to take it to Jeff Senn, a local luthier and have him restore it to the finish God and Leo Fender intended. He did a masterful job, including a bit of relic’ing the body to match the neck. An interesting addendum to the story… about 2 years ago I visited my dad and the subject of the first house we ever lived in here in Tennessee came up. I was one year old when we lived on Hartford Dr. In my mind

growing up, I had always thought that it was in Goodlettsville, TN. “No”, says my dad, it’s in Nashville off of Thompson Lane. I told him that I had been on that street in the last few years to have the Esquire restored. Within a few minutes (and a phone call to Jeff), we discovered that we were talking about the exact same place. I had gone to restore a guitar to its original state and at the same time returned it to my first home in Tennessee! Funny thing about my dad’s generation, for the most part, they didn’t care or pay to much attention to the gear they were using. I asked Jerry Reed several years ago while working on a record with him, “what guitar did you use on “Amos Moses?” He said, “I don’t know son! It was a piece of wood!” While my dad remembers what guitar he played on most records, the amps are another story. He’ll


In 2000, I took my dad to a vintage guitar show up the road from here and upon entering the building, I was greeted by Bruce Barr, who informed me that there was a 1959 Les Paul in the building and that they wanted me to stop by and play it. “Oh no” I said, “I’ll look at it but I am not playing it”. When I did stop by to look at it, within 5 seconds the guys there had strapped this guitar on me and plugged me into an amp. I played it for all of about 10 seconds when I looked at my dad and commented on understanding finally what all the hoopla is about. It sounded beautiful. It was a plain-top, in great condition and with a dealer from Toledo. Before I left that day, Bruce introduced me to Gary from Gary’s Classic Guitars in Cincy. He would stop by the house later and see my dad’s 1961 Gibson ES335, the guitar my father played on hits such as Roy Orbison’s “Oh Pretty Woman”, Elvis’ “Good Luck Charm”, Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man”, Bob Dylan’s “Blonde On Blonde” lp, Ringo Starr’s “Beaucoups Of Blues” lp and many others. I had been using it since around 1988 and it is on WhiteHeart’s “Freedom” lp, records by Susan Ashton, Kim Hill, Jewel, Michael McDonald, Garth Brooks, Ricky Skaggs, Peter Frampton (he has recorded with it too!), Dogs Of Peace, Faith Hill...well, you see that this is a working guitar since it was new in 1961! Anyway, while Gary visited, he mentioned having John Sebastian’s 1959 Les Paul Standard, the one on all of the Lovin’ Spoonful records. I had determined that I would travel to Toledo to buy the guitar I had seen at the show, and Gary invited Bruce Barr and myself to stop

GORDON KENNEDY in Cincy on the way. Two things happened that would alter the course to Toledo. First, I contacted the dealer representing the guitar I was going to purchase, twice before leaving Nashville to head up there. Both times, for reasons still unknown to me, he was incredibly rude on the phone. Hmm, I am going to spend that much money with the guy and this is how I am being treated? Second, once arriving in Cincy at Gary’s, he showed us guitars from about 11:30 PM until about 4:30 AM. Somewhere in the mix, we saw three ‘59 bursts and two ‘58s. Bruce and I went back to our hotel and had a discussion. First of all, I am NOT going to Toledo. If I am going to buy one of these guitars, I’ll be buying it from Gary. Yeah, but which one? I thought to myself, “Well, if it’s this hard to decide, let’s go home”. The next day, we had plans to take Gary to lunch before leaving Cincy. When we stopped back by his place, for some reason I said, “Would you mind if we plugged those guitars in?” Gary said, “Certainly!” He brought them up one at a time and we played them through a blackface Fender Deluxe Reverb. I think he brought the Sebastian guitar up third. I plugged it in and SHEWANG, BANG, DANG… that was it! Our jaws hit the floor. It simply left the others of the same ilk in the dust. Knowing the history of that guitar, that it

was on all those Lovin’ Spoonful hits: “Do You Believe In Magic”, “Summer In The City”, “Daydream”, “Nashville Cats” and many others was amazing. But there is more… it was in Woody Allen’s first film “What’s Up Tiger Lily?”. It’s in Paul Simon’s film “One Trick Pony”. It has now found it’s way onto records by artists such as Peter Frampton, Ricky Skaggs, Faith Hill, Little Big Town, Billy Ray Cyrus, SheDaisy, and is heavily featured on the new Dogs Of Peace record we are wrapping up. I’ll be polite and not ask you how much you paid for the John Sebastion Les Paul but since the economic slump in 2007 how has the value of it faired? Is it still worth more now than when you bought it in 2000? I bought the guitar and a new car that year and paid the exact same for both. That car today would be worth less than a fifth of what I paid while the guitar is easily worth 5 times what I paid. Tell us about your rare Chris Gaines Telecaster and how that came about? I had been invited into the camp of Garth Brooks due to my brother Bryan’s working relationship with him. Garth covered a song I had co-written for Susan Ashton called “You Move Me” and I had also played on his cover

of Aerosmith’s “Fever”. In ‘99, Garth called me to come do an overdub and paired me with a guy who’d just come to Nashville from Australia, Keith Urban. As I left the studio that day, Garth pulled me aside and asked for songs for an interesting project he was about to do. It would be tied to a film and a fictional character, Chris Gaines. I ended up with 10 songs written and co-written for that project. We did about a dozen live performances with him during that time, mostly television dates including Saturday Night Live, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien and Austin City Limits among others. During the making of the record and the traveling to play live, he asked me if I would help do a Chris Gaines Fender guitar. He gave me complete creative license saying, “As a guitar player, what would you want?” So, I along with Fender, designed this guitar. It would be a Telecaster with a maple neck and P-90 pickups. My first real guitar was a Tele and they are still home base for me. The thing that made this guitar most unique is the finish. I thought it would be cool (and challenging) to have a holographic image on the top. We wound up with it on the back and headstock as well. I remember going through several books of images before choosing. I picked this design that looked like, for lack of a better description, the surface of an ice skating rink with marks all over it. Fender came through with flying (and

1964 Marshall JTM45 1968 Marshall JMP 50

1968 Marshall 4X12 basket weave cab with 20 watt Celestions

.3 Monkeys prototype 1992 Matchless HC-30 3 Monkeys Orangutan EVH 5150 III 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard formerly owned by John Sebastian

1999 Fender Chris Gaines Telecaster number 8 of 21


GORDON KENNEDY changing) colors. You can look at the guitar from different angles and find a place where it’s solid green for instance. Move two inches and it’s red. Move again and it’s green, red, yellow and purple. And finally, you can find an angle where all of those colors disappear and it is a solid flat grey.

1959 Fender Bassman 1961 Gibson ES-335 “Pretty Woman”

Wasn’t there a limited number of the Chris Gaines Teles? Have you ever seen another one at Guitar Shows or in a music store? There were only twenty-one made. Garth took the first seven, gave me #8, and gifted the rest to the other people involved in the project. All but number 21, the left-handed version which Garth also kept. Because, as he said, “Gaines was left handed.” They have never been out and about. In fact, Collectible Guitar magazine has the first pictures to show to the world. Wow, that is amazing, thank you! Circling back to your father’s Gibson 335. When you are holding a guitar with that much of a pedigree in your hands and are about to play or to write with it, do you feel a sense of responsibility to use it with excellence because of all that it has contributed to music itself ?

50 watt Marshall head and a Marshall cab from the same year that has 20 watt Celestion speakers in it. There’s also the ultra rare 1964 Marshall silver-maroon metal badge JTM-45. These two Marshall amps have seen the lion’s Absolutely… especially that guitar. It occurs share of duty on my new Dogs Of Peace to me, that the blood coursing through my project we are putting the finishing touches to veins (as my fingers touch it) is the same as the at this time. The amp I have used primarily on one who played it before me. I get a kick out session work since buying it new in 1992 is of other `people getting a kick out of it when my Matchless HC-30. I have never plugged a I tell them. And you should hear the solo guitar into that amp and found it to not work Peter Frampton did with it on Ricky Skaggs’ on the track I was playing on. Mark Sampson tune “My Cup Runneth Over!” He’d flown built that one in his home. When I ordered in from Los Angeles and came straight to it over the phone, the last question he asked the studio to do the overdub. When I handed me was, “what color?” I told him, “Oh, that him the Gibson 335 he said, “I was hoping black tolex is fine.” When my head and cab you’d bring this one!” I think it does matter, arrived, he had not used the material I had knowing the history, and then wanting to add seen in the ad, but rather a Fender style tolex to it. It could’ve gone straight into the Hall covering. I think he mistook me for a guy who Of Fame right after my father played it on knew what he was talking about. He went out Orbison’s hit “Oh Pretty Woman” on August and got the other covering for me. While I 1st, 1964. But then Frampton wouldn’t have was disappointed at first, looking back now played it and I would’ve had to of used a I realize it’s maybe the only amp he ever did different guitar last year when I played on like it. Plus, he forgot to put the plate in that holds the lights to the Matchless logo. The Don Henley’s new project. lights are just swinging freely in the cab like Our magazine focuses on both vintage Christmas decorations. Again, all these years and new boutique instruments, amps and later, it’s cool. This amp was the newest amp I pedals… can you tell us some about your owned until this year when I started working amps and pedals that are either vintage or with the guys at 3 Monkeys Amps. Ossie boutique? Ahsen, their amp guru, has been tweaking I have some great vintage amps and some a prototype amp for me with the idea being really cool newer boutique amps. It seems to get what I get from my Marshall JTM-45, that the boutique ones have surfaced out of in a grab-and-go combo size amp. I love it so the desire to make improvements on the old much and am using it on the remaining tracks ones (while retaining just enough of their for the Dogs of Peace project. I plan to pursue characteristics). My vintage amps include a bigger rig from them for some live dates I two tweed Fender Deluxe amps, a ‘60 and a will be doing this Fall. I also have a Fender dead mint ‘59. I use a 1963 Fender Vibrolux EVH III for today’s country music (tongue “brown-face era” amp for tremolo stuff. A firmly in cheek). 1963 Fender blonde Bassman piggy-back rig. While I don’t use effects pedals very much… A ‘62 Fender tweed Champ. There’s also a ‘59 every once in awhile I will use one. Instead of Fender Bassman (that circuit gave birth to the stepping on a pedalboard, I just go get it out amps Jim Marshall brought us). I have a 1968 of the closet. I have a Keeley Fuzz Head that


I believe I indirectly helped him create. I sent him an old Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face to look at and recreate in a smaller box. That Fuzz Head sounds wonderful, especially with my Jeff Beck Strat. I have five old Echoplex units and they all work thanks to Bart Postlewait, grandson-in-law to Mike Battle, who designed them. When tape isn’t convenient, I’ll use the H2O by Visual Sound or the El Capistan by Strymon. Creation Audio Labs has two overdrive boxes I like. The MK-4-23 and the Holy Fire. I have a Klon unit as well. Those last three are comfortable for me. My perfect setup is an amp that is breaking up, but clean with the guitar volume rolled back, then turning up the guitar volume knob up for dirt and stepping on one of those overdrives to just make the amp “more”. I did use an old Dan Armstrong Green Wringer on a bit on one Dogs tune this go-round. I used my Framptone Talk Box on another song. I have a bunch of old MXR and Electro Harmonix pedals that get used during the blue moons. For the Leslie effect I use an old Cordovox cabinet with a rotating baffle. When I learned of the Gibson Collector’s Choice series of guitars, I believed that they would surely be interested in mine, not because of me, but because of the history with John Sebastian. The letter that John hand wrote, which was included with the guitar when I got it, describes in detail, the history of his usage with it and leaves one with the conclusion that he was perhaps the first in the long line of ‘59 Les Paul players that we all know and love. Mike Bloomfield saw him playing it and had to have one. So many players followed Bloomfield and suddenly it was like “sunburst” dominos. We grew up on the sounds of these wonderful guitars. I feel like I am getting credit for walking on a trail someone else blazed. John told me he was happy that I got his old guitar. It is such a blessing and I hope I do him and it justice. It was Gibson’s Bruno Pireki and Mike Voltz who convinced me that the replica of this guitar could and should happen. Edwin Wilson, Rick Gembar, Kevin Van Pamel, and the renowned Tom Murphy are all key in this happening. Mike Voltz is in the Memphis custom shop, overseeing the semi-hollow and hollow body guitars, and I have a killer ES-330 from there. Mike also agreed to build me a 335 that is completely hollow. Both of these guitars have restored my faith in newer guitars. I love going down and visiting with the people who make these instruments. I love the looks on their faces when they hear “thank you for what you do!” You know, I heard a long time ago that if we do not praise God, the rocks, hills and trees will cry out. Well, as luthiers, these folks don’t appear to be sitting around and waiting for that to happen. Think of the joy that has been unleashed from their craftsman hands!




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EarthQuaker Devices Cloven Hoof & Afterneath by Doug Doppler

Cloven Hoof – A Fuzz Supreme Controls: Tone, Shift, Level, Fuzz The Cloven Hoof is the lovechild of EQD’s famously popular Hoof Fuzz, which was originally inspired by the Russian-era EHX Big Muff. Like it’s forefather, the Cloven Hoof offers up exceptional tweakability thanks to the mid-shaping Shift control. This newly designed circuit utilizes specially selected silicon transistors to deliver even more gain and amp-like response. Truth be told, I love all fuzz pedals, but this one really has something special to say. First of all, if you play a Gretsch and are looking for a fuzz pedal that brings a 12-pack of rock and roll to the party, this fuzz is for you. Starting with all the controls at high noon, the Cloven Hoof sounds flipping awesome. The “core” tone is further enhanced by a feature set that makes it super easy to define and refine key EQ points, something that is sorely absent in most Fuzz boxes. While I’ve long maintained that Distortion and Overdrive pedals emulate amplifier preamp and power amp sections respectively, this Fuzz sounds like a combination of the two which is something I’ve not come across before. If there was such a thing as refined fuzz, this is certainly it. Street Price: $175 Afterneath – Other-worldly Reverb Controls:Length, Diffuse, Dampen, Drag, Reflect, Mix While the Afterneath majors in serving up a cavernous array of reverb insanity, at more refined settings it can also deliver that special something capable of transforming a clean intro into a truly pivotal moment in your set. The Drag control is truly unique, and separates this pedal from traditional reverb pedals. In the left-most position it reveals the imperfectly timed echoes that drive reverb as it fills a space. As you turn this knob clockwise it adds ambience into the mix transitioning from myriads of little non-synchronized echoes to a spacious wash of reverb. Turning up the Dampen control allows you to brighten up the reverb without adding more wash. This can be particularly helpful

in a live venue if you happen to play with a cymbal-happy drummer. This pedal also delivers a more traditional reverb by setting the Depth, Diffuse, Dampen, and Reflect controls all the way down, the Drag at 3:00 and the Mix at 9:00. Turning the Drag control to the left adds more ping to the source echoes, turning it to the right makes them disappear. If you’re in the market for a Reverb pedal that can go from crazy to sane I’d suggest you try taking the colorful journey to the Afterneath. Street Price: $225.00 But wait…there’s more...MUCH more. While both of these pedals are special on their own, something really special happens when you put the two of them together. Al DiMeola’s Elegant Gypsy-era tone remains one of my favorite guitar sounds of all time, and putting a Les Paul in front of these two pedals will transport you back to 1977 in a serious way. The amp-like quality of the Cloven Hoof really comes to life when driving that sweet blend of delay driven reverb the Afterneath delivers. The Shape control on the Cloven Hoof allows you to fine tune the tone of your pick attack, which you can further refine via the Dampen control on the Afterneath. The resulting tone cuts but isn’t harsh, and serves up soaring notes that sustain indefinitely without fuzzing out.

When Doug Doppler is not writing gear reviews, the former Guitar Hero session player and Favored Nations recording artist spends his days, hours, weeks and years demoing the coolest gear on the planet for his web site

Noting that neither of these pedals can be powered by battery, you’ll want to keep in mind, the good people at EarthQuaker Devices strongly advise against using generic or daisy chain power supplies as well as running either pedal at more than 9v DC. For more information




PEDAL SNAPSHOT by Phil Traina Bondi Effects SickAs Overdrive MKII (pronounced Bon-Dye) Street $199 Level, Bass, Treble, Gain, Gain Switch The Sick-As Overdrive lives in the world of the horsey man, or Klon Centaur . While having elements of the Klon in it, I believe it has made strides to improve on the circuit. Most will recognize the boost aspect of this pedal, adding in the sparkle to your tone in the upper midrange. The Sick-As can make your amp with the volume on 3 feel like it’s on 7 or 8. The two band EQ is great for dialing in your perfect blend of bass and treble with any rig. The shining light of this pedal is the gain structure, and the switch that tightens the gain and adds bass. I am finding this pedal is staying with me longer than most overdrives. Great boost, Great drive for multiple setups. email: Free The Tone MS-SOV v2 (Street Price $265) Level, Tone, Gain Japan’s Free The Tone has some great stuff going on. The MS-SOV is no slouch. I really enjoyed this pedal. The first thing I noticed is the tone was so pure coming through my amp. That may be due to the great buffer in this pedal. The HTC (Holistic Tonal Solution) circuit is made up of 3 separate circuits culminating in a great buffer. It doesn’t give you the normal mid and high-end bump most buffers do. It was very natural. As far as the tonal qualities, the MS-Sov is very open with not very much compression even when the gain is cranked. The internal charge pump from 9dvc to 15dvc helps with the headroom and openness. The dynamics of this pedal shine with single coils. \I found I had to brighten up my rig a bit with humbuckers, but it sounded big, strong and full. When I lightened my pick attack the gain backed off, when I dug in… it growled. Super organic. Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl ($350) I will try to keep this overview as simple as possible. All I can say is this pedal is option heavy… in a good way. It is definitely the most flexible Chorus/Vibrato pedal I’ve seen yet. I could get so many crazy sounds from ring modulation, detuned or hi-fi chorus, tremolo , as well as the standard Vibe/Chorus stuff. There are 16 mini switches that control a ton of things on the back of the pedal. The Ramp knob sets the time

control of any of the parameters on the front. One can save 2 presets on the Warped Vinyl and make it really simple. I highly recommend watching the YouTube videos). I could write a whole magazine on what this pedal can do. I will spare you. I have spent so much time having fun experimenting with the Warped Vinyl. It makes me want to create different songs with the countless textures. Enjoy!

Quilter Labs Tone Block ($399) Gain, Contour, Master Volume, Direct Out What do you get when you take Patrick Quilter, one of the front runners in solid state technology formerly of QSC (Quilter Sound Company), you may have heard of them, and blend his brain with guitar amps? It breeds a monster Emerson Em that every guitar player should have in their Drive ($159.99) arsenal. I want all the readers to know that I Volume and Gain T r a n s p a r e n t originally did not want to like the Tone Block, Overdrive, Low to being the tube purist that I am. All I can say Medium gain. It is, I am now a convert. Quilters Tone Block does not change 200 packs a punch, 200 watts of power in a your original 4lb package. It has been billed as the ultimate tone, hence the pedalboard companion, I would tend to transparent tag. I agree. The Tone Block is all analog, no digital really dig the Em-Drive as an always modeling at all. I was able to coax my favorite on or boost. It was giving back that American and British style amp tones out of little something that is missed with this bad boy. It is extremely user friendly with a long cable run. I love checking out the contour knob. Whether you are looking super dynamic pedals, here is another to create the ultimate fly rig or if you need a one. Your pick attack plays a huge super reliable rig for a tour? This is the ticket. part in the tone of this pedal. Whether Even if you are a tube purist and can’t leave you use it as a boost, a low gain, or the tubes behind get one as a backup. You for thick med gain you will be happy. won’t be sorry… this is a game changer from Don’t let the simplicity fool you. The Quilter. Em-drive can cover a lot of ground. http://emersoncustomguitars. Tapestry Audio Time Traveler. ($209) Tap, Preset, Knob The Time Traveler Menatone PIG ($325) is quite simply Volume, Power one of the best Gain, Bass pedalboard Treble solutions for a Hello! Can universal tap you say huge tempo. The unit tone? If you’ve I reviewed can ever wanted huge, power handle up to 3 pedals. Usually Delay, Trem, tube saturated, Vibrato or other modulation style pedals. creamy tone The only prerequisite is that the pedal must with the have an external tap out. You can set up to transformer sag we all want but don’t 10 preset tempos in the Time Traveler. You want to deafen yourself and the can set the divisions of the taps in the advance neighbors… the PIG is it! It was built settings. If you struggle with locking up your to sound like Mick Ronson’s Marshall tap tempo pedals, the time traveler is a great Major, aka, The PIG. Think Marshall option. 200 watts of thunderous power in a box. It’s not just a drive pedal, it has a lot of headroom. The more you crank the power gain the more drive and “Power Tube” distortion you get. The Phil Traina Menatone PIG is a U.S handmade "The Gear Concierge" pedal that is doing something just a Livin ' the dream in sunny little different. Great Tone. California with my beautiful


wife and daughter.

Imagine yours...

Master Build Quality Real World Affordability crafted in Tacoma, Wash. USA Phone: 253.686.5017


Eastman E20SS Slope Shoulder Dreadnought Acoustic Guitar by Bruce Adolph

The Eastman guitar company has always been different. Even though they build their guitars in China they have always had a higher build quality than you might expect. This perked my interest, so I quizzed their folks at the Summer NAMM show in Nashville. What truly sets them apart is how they painstakingly take the time to tap-tune each solid wood guitar top. This is a process that high-end boutique luthiers enjoy the luxury of doing. The fact that Eastman goes the extra mile in the

making of their acoustic instruments (they also make fine mandolins) is indicative of the outcome they get… a better sounding guitar. Today’s example of this is the E20SS Slope Shoulder dreadnought acoustic guitar. The design of the E20SS is of course inspired by Gibson’s classic J-45, and features a high-quality Adirondack spruce top, an Indian rosewood fingerboard, bridge, solid rosewood sides and chrome-plated Gotoh open back tuners in a tobacco sunburst finish. Eastman claims this model is popular among musicians who are looking for a powerful bass that still manages to be wellbalanced (they didn’t want an overwhelming bass). We will put that to the test in just a minute but first let’s look at the rest of the build quality. Acstetcialy the guitar is beautiful to look at. The slope shoulder design does pay homage to the vintage era and the sunburst finish is very well done (another strength of the Eastman line). The binding work and overall attention to detail is part of the Eastman mystique. The neck is made of mahogany and the guitar I am test-driving has a beautiful grain to its neck on the backside. The rosewood back is stunning… really good looking piece of wood! I really like their company’s vision… it seems it is not how “inexpensive” can we make a guitar overseas like some folks, but rather, how “well” can we make a guitar overseas? The E20SS not only gives a fullbodied tone and room-filling volume, the dynamic response from soft picking to hard strumming also makes it a popular guitar for flatpicking and live vocal accompaniment. I found the sound to be rich and “airy” at the same time. The wide bone nut measures a roomy 1&11/16” and the fretwork and action on the guitar was more than comfortable to riff around on.


I used a thin tortoise shell pick from the 1950’s and a modern medium pick and the guitar responded well to both. The only complaint I was going to lodge is that for heavy strummers you might want to have a pick guard. Something said to check in the trunk of the hardshell case (which is included in the price) and there it was… a pick guard to put on or leave off – it is up to you. Eastman, you are a class act. Also in the guitar case was their Limited Lifetime Warranty. The E20SS Slope Shoulder guitar (did I mention I am a sucker for slope shoulder guitars?) has a very good and resonant tone and when you consider the price you are paying for the big sound you are getting – well, it is a done deal. Check out MAP Pricing: $1,199.00 Features: Body Dimensions: 16” X 4 3/4” Top Wood: Solid Adirondack Spruce Bracing: Hand-carved Scalloped X Rosette: Basic Back/Sides Wood: Solid Rosewood Body Binding: White/Black/White Neck Woods: Mahogany Fingerboard: Rosewood Nut: 1 11/16”-wide Bone Scale Length: 24 3/4” Frets: 20 Dunlop 6130 Inlays: Dots Bridge/Saddle: Rosewood/Bone, 2 5/32” Spacing Tuners: Chrome-plated Gotoh Strings: D’Addario EXP16 .012-.053 Available Finish: Tobacco Sunburst Case: Hardshell Case Included




Defend Your Music

Candy Coburn learned the love of singing from her Grandmother, but it would be years before she was able to perform her music her own way. As all life journeys go, there were a few bumps along the way, a few detours, and several wrong turns. During all of those turns and detours, she toured with everything from a van to a van with a trailer to a full size bus, doing as many as 150 shows a year. And one thing was always the same….she never had enough room. As her own business manager, responsible for her own bottom line, the more room that was used for gear the more gas and storage space she was going to have to pay for. Candy will jokingly tell you she could write a book about how to not do things in the music business, but out of all of those lessons came some inventions born of necessity. Following the desire to spend less time on

the road (and more time with her family) while sharing her revolutionary solution to “road rage”, Candy (along with her Music Director, Josh Carroll) are pleased to introduce GIG ARMOR®, a new giggingsystem made by musicians for musicians. After endless hours of discussion on the road, GIG ARMOR® was brought to life in a cold shed in the middle of winter with multiple trips to hardware stores, leading to thousands of miles of travel to patent and build the prototype in Texas. GIG ARMOR® streamlines everything in a musician’s life. The patented stacking and locking cases allows for one-trip load in, tough materials protect priceless instruments, a built in tech stand and light provide the ability to tech instruments on site and the tool box neatly holds all of the small gear within reach. The heavyduty wheels are designed to carry up to 300

pounds, allowing three packed cases to rollin together. A built-in three-guitar stand (with a six-guitar option) removes the need to carry (and potentially lose) an external stand and the gig box that attaches to the end of the system allows important items to be detached and easily carried into other work commitments (such as studio or teaching). Every feature is carefully engineered to allow musicians to spend less time moving gear and more time playing music and becoming more profitable. Our goal is to “Defend Your Music”, from the tangible outcome of protecting instruments, to the more ethereal of making musicians profitable, to the ultimate dream of giving back to musicians through work programs and mentoring for at-risk youth aging out of foster care. Future plans for the company include the introduction of over ten additional products that are in the pipeline and will continue to add breadth and customization to the system. If you’d like to learn more about Candy and GIG ARMOR® visit


VIEW OF THE DAY by Dave Cleveland

Paul Brannon ers plus Joe’s old buddy George Cocchini on guitar.

I hope this article finds everyone doing well and enjoying the end of the summer. This article is going to take a look at yet another one of those unsung guitar slingers that have made a career out of playing on sessions.

Our first rehearsals were Jan or Feb 1981. I had actually played bass on a few song demos with Joe, so I auditioned on bass. Before the rehearsal, he ran into Tim Smith and Tim became the bass player and I moved to 2nd guitar with George.

Paul Brannon has been an inspiration to me for years. His professionalism and ability to play any kind of music, authentically, is unmatched. Let’s take a look into the life of my guitar buddy, Paul Brannon.

Tim was obviously the better choice on bass with Joe. Chops and taste galore. He studied with Jaco and could even play chord solos.

What got you into playing guitar? My Mom and Dad played piano. I heard a lot of hymns, classical music, and Lawrence Welk growing up. I could pick out a few melodies by ear on the keys. Eventually had lessons for a year or so. My Dad also had a ukulele, and I learned a few chords and tried to play Wipe Out when I was nine or ten. Around then I started trumpet in school band. I liked Herb Alpert and the TJB. But when I heard the Beatles (mostly on the Sat. morning cartoon show) it all changed. I heard familiar chords, but in a new order. It was all so fresh and rough sounding. I wanted to play drums first. Too loud and expensive. Then bass. Nope. I finally got a cheap imported acoustic with stupidly high action. Didn’t know any better, our family wasn’t a string band, you know? But I was determined to get some Beatles riffs under my fingers, even though it hurt. Then I heard Cream’s Disraeli Gears. I had to spend a summer away from that guitar and when I got back to it, I knew I didn’t ever want to stop again. Then I saw Jimi Hendrix on TV and, wow, how did he get THAT sound? That pretty much sealed it. Did you have a good teacher? For guitar, not until college. I played by ear, and got some books. Mickey Baker jazz, Noad classical, Mel Bay 4400 guitar chords. Guitar Player magazine was a big window into the whole scene for me. How important was it for you to learn how to read music? At first, not very. I played in high school stage (jazz) band, where I had to read chord charts and a few rhythm figures, simple lines.

My friend Scott Butsch and I traded off on guitar and bass. We got some solos because we were used to improvising more than the horn players, oddly enough.

Keyboardist John Lawry had so much energy and facility it was scary. I really liked his harmonic sense. He had studied Lydian Chromatic concept. With his DIY chopped ARP Odyssey keyboard strapped on like a guitar, he sounded like a better guitar player than most guitar players!

George already had so much studio and What was your gear situation like at that live experience. He had finesse with tones time? and funk rhythm and commercial-sounding High school found me with a Super Reverb, lead work. For me, being in that band was the Vox Bulldog, a Fender Jazz Bass and being in school. Les Paul Deluxe. Ace Tone wah and Vox Our sound man, Jeff Gallup, deserves a Tone Bender fuzz. Around 10th grade I got a Sony reel-to-reel so I could bounce tracks lot of credit for the way we came across. He “got” the music, rode the solos, got the and overdub! drums punchy and vocals up. Wow! Great gear for a kid in high school! Jeff also gets credit for setting up a meeting Tell me about some of the bands you were with George, me, and Allan Holdsworth in in as your playing got serious? London, fall of ‘81. We were using rented In HS my friends and I were into Yes and backline and there were no channel-switchMahavishnu, so we tried to emulate ambi- ing amps available, so the cumbersome plan tious music like that. As well as blues, South- for both of us was a Boogie for clean and ern rock. There was always an element of Marshall for dirty. I had heard of Allan’s free improv, as well as composed parts. All HartleyThompson amps, (solid state, but 2 channels) and Jeff was asking around about by ear, still. them. Well, those amps were scarce, but it In 1974 in Nashville, when Christian rock turned out a guy at the rental company knew was really new and controversial, I found Allan, and Jeff said, well, my guys would some guys at Trevecca, where I majored in love to meet him. guitar. We covered some early Petra, Larry So George and I end up in Allan’s flat, lisNorman and wrote some originals. Somebody came up with the band name Good tening to the roughs of what would be the I.O.U album. Allan had his Strat neck bolted Grief! and that was sure enough us. to a piece of, like, 1/2” pine with a bridge When did you join the Joe English band? and a pickup, saying he thought lighter bodWhat was the musicianship in that band ies sounded better. I played a few notes into like? the amp we were there to hear, and George Joe’s first album was recorded before he later said, “I can’t believe you played in from had a band, so it was Nashville studio play- of him!”


the Straight Truth About Pickups by Jason Lollar This was more like the dragon chasing us–over the years it’s been one of our most requested pickup designs. Of course, we had to add our own twists, including sizing it to drop into a standard humbucker route. A2 magnets, custom covers, lot’s of attitude. Starting with a ‘60s Country Gentleman as a benchmark, we went after the classic rock-a-billy ‘bucker tone, adding some “Lollar” along the way. The neck pickup is warm and buttery, with a clear, present top end. The bridge pickup is fat and honky, with a rich, defined low end. Combined, they sparkle and spank with clarity and punch. They’ll cover everything from “OZ” rock to “Nashville Super Pickers” to “Hot Rods and Hot Babes…” Go Man, Go! I’ve personally designed over a hundred different pickup models, including most of the vintage classics, some obscure works of art from steel guitars to clavinets, and even a few of my own designs that have never existed in the past. I invite you to visit our website for sound clips, videos and current product information or feel free to give us a call. Lollar Pickups PO Box 2450 Vashon Island, WA 98070 (206) 463-9838




“The Anthem is the only pickup I've ever used that doesn't sound like I’m using a pickup...and that’s a good thing.” Critter Fuqua / Old Crow Medicine Show


some things I never would have pursued, like Dixieland banjo. I’ve seen you read some pretty crazy music on a session... with little chance to work it out, is there a secret you can share that might help some us become better at that? It’s not just reading the part, it’s making it sound like music. I look ahead at the When did you start doing session stack of music and work out the tricky work? bits as I have time. In the late 70’s I started playing on a few custom projects outside the bands One of the challenges is keeping I was in. I was always a band member time through many bars of rests, first, though. I didn’t get serious about while changing keys, time signatures tempo, the freelance career until I left the Joe and being ready English band in the fall of 1985. I didn’t have the energy to do the road with the right and really pursue in-town stuff simul- sound or even taneously. So when I did make the changing inmove, it was kind of like starting over struments. The main thing is, in Nashville. keep time and One thing that helped the transition don’t get lost! was working at Opryland theme park Get used to when they had live entertainment. Afreading a few ter touring the US, Canada and Eubars ahead of rope, playing at a theme park in my you’re 30’s wasn’t high on my to-do list, but what it gave me the chance to work on my playing. That reading on the job. The music director sounds harder over all the shows, Lloyd Wells, was a than it is. former Broadway (NYC) guitar playOften you’ll see things that would be er, so his charts had a lot of the ele- a great keyboard part, but you have to ments I needed to fill in my weakness- leave out notes or adapt it some way es. Plus it forced me to get fluent at to play it on guitar. But I do try to play the ink, to hear what they wanted. I notice on the newer stuff they are treating the guitar more like a real instrument; specific parts that are actually playable and an important part of the ensemble. There’s no substitute for seeing new material by different arrangers. You can practice reading out of method books or fake books and it helps, but it’s not the same.

licks and chords. That helps you connect all these things smoothly. More options are better, if you can manage them. The goal is, read all this stuff but make it sound and feel like you played it from the heart. I had to develop the attitude of finding *something* that I could feel and relate to about all styles and eras of music. Especially the styles I didn’t grow up loving. Paul, give me some insight into your day, for example all the things you do to get to that comfort level so you can walk in and nail it. I try to warm up a bit before I leave the house. Remembering, it’s just music, after all, and I’ve played music before. I actually think it’s amusing that I’ve got this reputation as a reader, because I don’t go in thinking “I’m a genius, I’ve got this nailed”. Quite the

opposite. Each chart contains many opportunities to mess up! The way we usually work here, I get 2 or 3 takes to get it right, and even fix a few bars besides. And usually have a separate pass if there’s an instrument change. So it’s not as high pressure as it could be. Some other situations I’ve heard about, you’re taking a whole cue as an ensemble, with all sound and instrument changes live. Then maybe another take or two, but no individual fixes. Paul, thanks for sharing some of your story. I’m excited to go back and listen to some of the recordings you mentioned. I’m also going to woodshed a bit!

I hope you all have enjoyed this article and are inspired to take your playing up One thing that really helps is knowing lots of another notch. I’m off to Sony studio to alternate fingerings for track!


Ears by Alclair. Custom design by Peter Barnes, Minneapolis MN.

800.933.9899 t @alclair f i alclairaudio


Š 2014 Alclair.

Is It Real?...

continued from page 35 And two more things to note: First, authentic Gibson Les Pauls have two screws holding the truss rod cover onto the peghead, while many fakes have three. If you find one with two screws and you’re still not sure, remove the truss rod cover and look at the truss rod adjuster. On a real Les Paul it should be a brass nut that requires a small socket to make an adjustment (Gibson usually provides this tool), while a fake will have a much deeper cavity with an adjuster that needs an Allen wrench or Hex key to make the adjustment. Second, if you turn the guitar around the electronics cavity on a fake Les Paul is usually not the correct shape of one found on a real Les Paul, and the potentiometers and capacitors are the small ones made in China. Also, the wiring coming from the pickups usually has colored insulation on the fakes, whereas a real Les Paul has braided insulated wiring and expensive pots and capacitors.



Here are some notes that should help you spot other major name brand fakes: Fender: Stratocasters typically feature vintage Kluson-style or American-series tuners, while fake Fender guitar tuners are usually cheap looking chrome. The bridge on a real Fender Stratocaster is brushed stainless steel. Also, fake Fender Strats will often have wider-than-normal spacing between the dot inlays on the 12th fret. Somewhat conversely, the screw spacing on an authentic Strat tremolo cover is somewhat scattered, so if the six screws are lined up with each other you’re probably looking at a knock-off Strat.

some pretty forward-thinking technology: they’re making plans to use DNA to ensure that customers are getting the real deal when purchasing a Martin guitar. After a wave of Chinese-made fakes hit the market earlier this year, the company employed New Yorkbased Applied DNA Sciences to “tag” each genuine instrument with a DNA signature. Eventually, the company plans to use real plant DNA with a particular sequence as a tag of authenticity. The DNA can be infused at any point of the guitar manufacturing, from the lacquer finish to the ink in the “C.F. Martin Guitar Co.” engraving. In the meantime, however, the flaws of any counterfeit Martin is still the easiest way to spot a fake. While the designs are stolen directly from Martin’s finest guitars, the materials used to build them are not. These fakes can sound and feel great for a very short time, but they will almost immediately begin to fall apart, i.e., develop cracks, seam separations, or they can also sport uneven rosettes and headstock shapes, and variances on the backstripe. Another common feature on a fake Martin is the appearance of a paper label inside the guitar, which is something Martin rarely uses (it does occasionally, but only on rare limited edition models). To end on a positive note, here’s the story of a 1958 Gibson Country Western that recently came into my office. The acoustic was in immaculate shape, with no lacquer checking, cracks, breaks, etc. It was, as they say, “too good to be true.” Being the ever pessimist that I am, I automatically began to discount it as a probable fake, or one that had had some significant work done to it. To make matters worse, as soon as I looked at the back of the headstock I was nearly convinced it was fake because the factoryorder number – or FON – was also stamped on the back of the headstock, and in a much larger font than usual for Gibson. I had never seen this before.

this one to my good friend and former longtime Gibson banjo and mandolin maker Scott Holyfield, who is now employed by Nashville’s best luthier, Joe Glaser. I asked Scott about the FON being on the back the headstock and he immediately knew why it was there. He told that the guitar had most likely gone back to Gibson at some point during the early to mid-1960s for some repair work, probably a neck reset or new truss rod installation. When Gibson removed the neck from the body, they stamped the back of the headstock with the guitar’s FON (the same one on the neckblock inside the guitar) so they would know that that particular neck belonged to that particular body. I had never seen this before, and Scott told me he hadn’t seen that many either, but that he had seen “a few here and there.” The explanation was good enough for me, and I eventually ended up buying one very sweet 1958 Gibson Country Western in NEAR MINT condition! The moral of the story is “DO YOUR HOMEWORK!” If you’re not sure, ask questions, do some research, use Google or any other search engine. In today’s computerized society there are literally millions of sources at your fingertips to make sure you’re buying the real deal. Use them all, or you could end up spending thousands of dollars for something worth only a few hundred … or worse, nothing at all. You could also end up like me … with a beautiful 1958 Gibson Country Western acoustic that’s so nice it may never see the inside of my showroom! (I hope my wife doesn’t read this.)

Gabriel J. Hernandez is the owner of Blues Vintage Guitars, Inc., a shop in Nashville, Tennessee, specializing in the buying and selling of vintage and newer highend guitars and gear. He is also an accomplished writer, having earned a B.S. in Journalism from Before I sent the guy on this way with this The University of Florida in 1988. Over a 25-year career supposed “fake”, however, my gut told me to he has worked as an investigative journalist for several call someone for a second opinion, so I did. news organizations and publishing companies, as a staff sports writer for The Palm Beach Post, and most recently First, I called the Gibson Customer Service as the Web Editor for Gibson Guitars at the company’s Department, but they didn’t give me a clear worldwide headquarters in Nashville. Hernandez has explanation as to why it might have the FON played guitar since the age of six, and been fascinated on the back of the headstock and wanted me (some say obsessed) by the instrument – and music in to send in pictures via email, which I didn’t general – ever since. You can reach him any time at 1-615-613-1389, or visit his company’s Facebook page have time to do. So I made a second call, at

Martin: If the guitar is brand new, a Martin fake can be the hardest to spot. However, Martin is in the process of implementing


1958 Gibson Country Western

Treasured by guitarists for decades, the legendary modulation effect unit that made its blazing debut at Woodstock has returned. This elusive classic, you know the one we’re talking about, has been resurrected under the careful supervision of its original designer to accurately reproduce its mesmerizing sound. This highly sought-after pedal is now unveiled in its new incarnation: the Nuvibe. Discrete design that uses 79 transistors to simulate the sound of the original CdS photoresistor ・The WAVE sliders allow users to create their own LFO waveforms ・New buffer circuit designed by Fumio Mieda, the original developer ・Included dedicated expression pedal for modulation control ・True bypass


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