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Gear History

Echoes of the Past and Future

August 27, 2014
Effects guru “Analog Tom” Hughes chronicles music’s most influential time machines—from rockabilly echo chambers to space-rock oil cans, ’80s racks, and modern stompbox marvels.
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Vintage Vault: 1965 Gibson Firebird III

August 25, 2014
Discover how classic Detroit auto design influenced one of Gibson’s now-iconic solidbodies.
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Undervalued Gear: The Gibson Les Paul Junior GA-5 Amplifier

June 26, 2014
Classic vintage amps typically come with hefty price tags. But if you know what to look for, you might find a bargain hiding in plain sight.
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Trash or Treasure: Kay K6868 Style Leader

April 28, 2014
A reader considers selling his vintage Kay guitar, but first needs to find out what the actual model and value are.
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Pre-War Perfection: The Martin D-45

April 10, 2014
The 91 D-45s that Martin produced between 1932 and 1942 may be the most coveted flattops ever made. What makes them so special?
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Book Excerpt: "Rolling Stones Gear"

February 6, 2014
If you've ever wondered what instruments and gear the Stones have used to make their iconic music over the years, Andy Babiuk's new photo-rich book tells all.
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Musicon Valley: The Home of German Lutherie

January 16, 2014
PG’s German correspondent guides us through the storied town of Markneukirchen in the heart of Germany’s “Music Corner,” where centuries-old instrument-making traditions live on.
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Trash or Treasure: Fender Bassman 20

December 31, 2013
A historical look at one of Fender's rare amplifier models.
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Vintage Vault: 1958 Guild M-75 Aristocrat

December 15, 2013
This vintage Guild Aristocrat M-75 borrows design elements from both upscale archtops and Gibson Les Pauls.
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Lust for Power

November 28, 2013
How Marshall went to hell and back to create their first 100-watt amp.
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24 Windy City Gems

October 17, 2013
For much of the 20th century, Chicago was the epicenter of musical instrument manufacturing and distribution. Here, guitarist Daniel Ivankovich shares two-dozen favorites from his personal collection.
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A Brief History of Tremolo

October 10, 2013
Tremolo is as old as the human voice. But how and when did it become a guitar effect?
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Three’s Company: The Pickup Placement Paradigm

July 18, 2013
Why do guitars have two or three pickups? Why not four, or even six for that matter?
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The North American Guitar Amplifier Museum

July 17, 2013
Invisible Sound Studios has collected so many rare and amazing amps—Marshalls, Fenders, Gibsons, Ampegs, Voxes, Hiwatts, and more—they decided to designate part of their studio as a museum. Here, East Amplification’s Jeff Bober gets their story.
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GALLERY: Mike Robinson’s Wacky 1960s Electric Collection

February 28, 2012
A sampling of Airline, Domino, Eko, Kustom, Hagstrom, and more from the collection of Eastwood Guitars founder Mike Robinson.
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GALLERY: Gear Ads of the 1980s, Volume II

February 1, 2012
No, this isn't déjà vu, take another trip back in time to see the gear, hair, and clothes that made the '80s most excellent—party on, dudes!
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Eight Decades of Rickenbacker

January 10, 2012
There is no denying Rickenbacker’s status as one of the four or five most important electric guitar companies of all time.
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Steinberger Prototype: The Missing Link

December 20, 2011
How scouring the internet led me to the long-lost first Steinberger prototype— perhaps the most revolutionary bass of the last 40 years.
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GALLERY: Rickenbacker Factory Tour

December 6, 2011
Go inside Rickenbacker’s Santa Ana facility and see how their guitars are made and see some of the historic instruments in their collection.
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Forgotten Heroes: Paul Bigsby

November 17, 2011
Although Paul Bigsby isn''t known as much for his luthiery as his vibrato, his early instruments had a profound impact on iconic designs by Leo Fender and Gibson—and thus on the evolution of the electric guitar in general.
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