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108 Rock Star Guitars

Photographer Lisa S. Johnson captures the story behind rock’s most iconic axes owned by Page, Beck, Gibbons, and others—with commentary from the guitarists themselves.

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Jimmy Page: 1968 Gibson EDS 1275 - SG Double Neck

"Perhaps no other guitar rises to the level of rock 'n' roll icon as much as Jimmy's SG double neck. See her up close and you'll swear she's been to hell and back, despite her frequent ascensions via the 'Stairway to Heaven.' Jimmy performs the intro of that most famous of Zeppelin songs on the twelve-string, utilizing the six-string on the song's more raucous sections and the solo." -Lisa S. Johnson, 108 Rock Star Guitars


About fifteen years ago, Lisa S. Johnson was working as a technical sales representative for Kodak. In order to gain a greater knowledge of Kodak's product line, she bought her own professional grade camera equipment and began shooting still images in her spare time. As fate would have it, one night she found herself at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York, the Monday night court of one, Les Paul. The always-gracious Paul allowed Johnson to photograph his guitars, which, unbeknownst to either of them, sent Johnson on a quest that would span years and send her far and wide in search of guitar players old and new.

The culmination of that journey is available now. 108 Rock Star Guitars is a 396-page, leather-bound behemoth brimming with beautiful, elegant images of some of the most iconic and recognized instruments the world has ever known. The subjects who allowed their most prized possessions to be photographed by Johnson reads like a veritable who's who of rock guitar royalty. More than that though, Johnson's work is threaded with personal stories detailing her own epic adventure to discover and celebrate these wondrous instruments. It wasn't always easy, but it came out looking oh, so good.

Steve Carr’s first amp build was a Fender Champ clone. It didn’t work on the first try. Luckily, that didn’t stop him.

Photo by Charles Odell

The North Carolina amp builder is famous for his circuit-blending soundboxes, like the Rambler, Sportsman, and Telstar. Here, he tells us how he got started and what keeps him pushing forward.

Steve Carr started building amps because he loved playing guitar. He and his friends cobbled together a band in Michigan City, Indiana, in high school in the mid-’70s, and the gear they played with seemed like a black box. In the pre-internet days, getting information on amp voicings and pickup magnets was difficult. Carr was fascinated, and always wanted to know what made things tick.

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Yungblud's first signature features a mahogany body, P-90 Pro pickup, and SlimTaper C profile neck.

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On this season finale episode, the actor and musician leads a Prine-inspired songwriting session about how few tools we have in our collective toolbox.

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John Mayall in the late ’80s, in a promo shot for his Island Records years. During his carreer, he also recorded for the Decca (with the early Bluesbreakers lineups), Polydor, ABC, DJM, Silvertone, Eagle, and Forty Below labels.

He was dubbed “the father of British blues,” but Mayall’s influence was worldwide, and he nurtured some of the finest guitarists in the genre, including Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Mick Taylor, Harvey Mandel, Coco Montoya, and Walter Trout. Mayall died at his California home on Monday, at age 90.

John Mayall’s career spanned nearly 70 years, but it only took his first four albums to cement his legendary status. With his initial releases with his band the Bluesbreakers—1966’s Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton; ’67’s A Hard Road, with Peter Green on guitar; plus the same year’s Crusade, which showcased Mick Taylor—and his solo debut The Blues Alone, also from 1967, Mayall introduced an international audience of young white fans to the decidedly Black and decidedly American genre called blues. In the subsequent decades, he maintained an active touring and recording schedule until March 26, 2022, when he played his last gig at age 87. It was reported that he died peacefully, on Monday, in his California home, at 90.

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