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!

Bad Religion’s Mike Dimkich and Jay Bentley

Dimkich goes old school by rocking a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Junior that is all stock, aside from a refinish and tuners. He loves the raw sound of a P-90: “It’s probably recorded more classic rock ’n’ roll records than folks would ever imagine and has been on most classic punk albums—NY Dolls, Sex Pistols, the Clash, 999, the Avengers,” he says, “plus the single pickup and minimal controls makes a guy’s life far easier in the heat of battle onstage!”

Co-founding bassist Jay Bentley, for the band’s 1988 classic Suffer and a few fan favorites, he rode hard and fast with his 1977 Fender Precision bass that has a DiMarzio DP122 pickup and a Badass bridge. And if you look closely, you’ll see that he has no tone or volume controls because “turning down isn’t an option.

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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