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Cram Session: Thrash-Metal Rhythm - Jan. '17 Ex. 2

Smooth-as-satin playability and exacting construction make this accessibly priced slope-shouldered dread an understated star.

Super excellent playability and neck feel. Tip-top quality for the price. Beautiful Grand Pacific shape. Excellent value.

Harder strumming can overemphasize midrange.

$899

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Though I’ve never owned a Taylor from the affordable end of their price spectrum, they have brought me a lot of joy and inspiration over the years. My encounters with GS Minis and 100-series dreads whilst lounging on friend’s porches and tour host’s living rooms have inspired little riffs that became more elaborate things over time—all born from a casual hang with a flattop that was fun to hold, easy to play, and sounded sweet enough that I didn’t want to ditch the conversation.

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The Howard Roberts signature, originally an Epiphone like this one, was built by Japanese guitar-makers throughout the ’70s lawsuit era before being reintroduced by Epiphone in the ’90s.

Photos courtesy of Reverb and Garrett Park Guitars

This acoustic-electric, built for the jazz-fusion guitarist, was varied in both specs and brand names throughout the late 20th century.

My last installment of Vintage Vault, in the April 2024 issue, highlighted the signature guitars of Johnny Smith, a 20th-century jazz legend whose eye for detail resulted in the creation of a premium electric archtop for the ages. Here, we turn our eyes to what could be that guitar’s stranger cousin: an odd merging of acoustic and electric design built for jazz-fusion guitarist Howard Roberts.

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Our columnist is back to balance the force with a look at the top qualities of old-school Fullerton noise-makers.

Last year, I wrote a column listing the top 10 annoying things about vintage Fender amps. Now, I seek to rebalance the equation, and will share my list of reasons to love them.

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