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GALLERY: Riot Fest 2016

See what guitars and basses the punks, metalheads, and hardcore rockers used during the Windy City’s other 3-day festival.

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The Hold Steady’s Steve Selvidge

Steve never looked back once he grabbed his 2016 Fender American Vintage ’52 Telecaster and hit the first chord in “Stuck Between Stations.” Here’s what he had to say about his newest guitar: “In the past, Tad and I doubled up on the humbucker-equipped, set-neck guitars. With Franz back in the mix on keys, I thought it would be a cool idea to change things up and go with the classic blackguard-Tele vibe. It's worked out really well, I think. I got this guitar new from Fender and I've done nothing to it other than play it. It's a fantastic guitar with a great neck shape and super-musical low end. A keeper for sure.”

The trio bandleader and Jason Mraz backer breaks down her journey through guitar academia, how to play with other musicians, and whether theory still matters.

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Amazon Prime Day is here (July 16-17). Whether you're a veteran player or just picking up your first guitar, these are some bargains you don't want to miss. Check out more deals here! https://amzn.to/3LskPRV

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A technicolor swirl of distortion, drive, boost, and ferocious fuzz.

Summons a wealth of engaging, and often unique, boost, drive, distortion, and fuzz tones that deviate from common templates. Interactive controls.

Finding just-right tones, while rewarding, might demand patience from less assured and experienced drive-pedal users. Tone control could be more nuanced.

$199

Danelectro Nichols 1966
danelectro.com

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The Danelectro Nichols 1966, in spite of its simplicity, feels and sounds like a stompbox people will use in about a million different ways. Its creator, Steve Ridinger, who built the first version as an industrious Angeleno teen in 1966, modestly calls the China-made Nichols 1966 a cross between a fuzz and a distortion. And, at many settings, it is most certainly that.

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The author standing next to a Richardson gunstock lathe purchased from Gibson’s Kalamazoo factory. It was used to make six necks at a time at Gibson in the 1950s and 1960s.

Keep your head down and put in the work if you want to succeed in the gear-building business.

The accelerated commodification of musical instruments during the late 20th century conjures up visions of massive factories churning out violins, pianos, and, of course, fretted instruments. Even the venerable builders of the so-called “golden age” were not exactly the boutique luthier shops of our imagination.

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