We cherry-picked the essential guitar-centric happenings from Chicago’s three-day celebration, including performances from Johnny Marr, Elvis Costello, Incubus, Weezer, Bad Religion, Jesus Lizard, and more!

The Jesus Lizard’s Duane Denison

These Chicago hometown heroes closed out their set with old favorites like “Puss” and “Then Comes Dudley,” while still squeezing in a Chrome cover. Here’s what the Jesus Lizard guitarist told us in 2013 about his signature Electrical Guitar Company Chessie: “It’s a minimalist rock machine.” To enhance its mechanistic look, ECG drilled into the front of the guitar the bolts that normally line the edge of its guitars’ backs. Remove the bolts, and the guitar opens in one piece for repair. Its bare aluminum neck boasts the same width and pitch as a Gibson ES-135. “I can’t think of another guitar that has that combination—the pitch, the feel, plus the scale length, and all while keeping the weight down.”

This rare English Tonemaster was made circa 1957.

The Valco-produced English Tonemaster is a rare, lap-steel-inspired gem from the 1950s—when genres and guitar design were fluid.

The 1950s were a peculiar time for the electric guitar. Innovators, designers, and tinkerers were pushing the boundaries of the instrument, while musicians were experimenting with various playing techniques and sounds. There was an evolution of sorts (or de-evolution, depending on your slant) from solidbody “sit-down” guitars, like pedal and lap steels, to “stand-up” or “upright” solidbody electrics. If you look at an early Fender catalog—let’s say from 1953—you’ll see the Telecaster (and Esquire), the Precision Bass, and then a whole bunch of steel guitars. There was a shift underway, and many manufacturers began to blur the lines of what a guitar should look, sound, and play like.

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PRS Guitars and John Mayer officially announce the PRS SE Silver Sky, an affordable version of the original with PRS trademark bird inlays and three single-coil pickups.

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