See all 12 unique instruments featured as Gear of the Month in 2012.

"The 1969 Custom models switched to a three-piece mahogany body with a maple cap and a three-piece mahogany neck. The rest of the features on this seminal reissue are a direct nod to the 1957 Customяexcept the reissue had gold Grovers while the original у57 had Deluxe Kluson tuners, the headstock pitch is 14 degrees instead of 17, and it has amp-style volume and tone knobs. According to 1968 Gibson shipping ledgers from Kalamazoo, this model was one of the first у68 Les Paul Customs made available to the public following their introduction at the June 1968 NAMM Show in Chicago. Gibson only built 433 of these particular instruments. The Black Beauty and Fretless Wonder were nicknames given to this instrument because of its rich, contrasting body color and low, nearly undetectable frets. Its original price tag was $325яa whopping $100 more than the Les Paul. "

The emotional wallop of the acoustic guitar sometimes flies under the radar. Even if you mostly play electric, here are some things to consider about unplugging.

I have a love-hate relationship with acoustic guitars. My infatuation with the 6-string really blasted off with the Ventures. That’s the sound I wanted, and the way to get it was powered by electricity. Before I’d even held a guitar, I knew I wanted a Mosrite, which I was sure was made of fiberglass like the surfboards the Beach Boys, Surfaris, and the Challengers rode in their off time. Bristling with space-age switchgear and chrome-plated hardware, those solidbody hotrod guitars were the fighter jets of my musical dreams. I didn’t even know what those old-timey round-hole guitars were called. As the singing cowboys Roy Rogers and Gene Autrey strummed off into the sunset, the pace of technology pushed the look and sound of the electric guitar (and bass) into the limelight and into my heart. Imagine my disappointment when I had to begin my guitar tutelage on a rented Gibson “student” acoustic. At least it sort of looked like the ones the Beatles occasionally played. Even so, I couldn’t wait to trade it in.

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Megadeth founder teams up with Gibson for his first acoustic guitar in the Dave Mustaine Collection.

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A lightweight, portable amp series developed after months of forensic examination of vintage valve amps.

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