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GALLERY: Russian Circles Gear at Electrical Audio in Chicago

Earlier this year, Premier Guitar went into Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio studio with Russian Circles as they recorded their fifth studio album, Memorial. We give you an inside look at the gear of this legendary music-making space.

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A vintage Mann amplifier, built by Garnet Amplification in Canada. Mann amps are part of what's known as Garnet "stencil" amps, which means that they're essentially identical to other amplifiers that bear the Garnet name. The company produced many other "stencil" amps in their heyday, including the second Lab Series for Gibson, Eaton amps for the Canadian retailer of the same name, Hohner, and a slew of others.

Need big tones in a small setup? Here’s a collection of lunchbox-sized amps that pack a punch.

Not every gig requires a pair of 4x12 cabs and a 100-watt head. (Sadly.) We’ve rounded up a handful of lunchbox-sized heads that can deliver crystal-clean tones, dirty crunch, and ripping lead tones—all in a very portable package.

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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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Donner andThird Man Hardware’s $99, three-in-one analog distortion, phaser, and delay honors Jack White’s budget gear roots.

Compact. Light. Fun. Dirt cheap. Many cool sounds that make this pedal a viable option for traveling pros.

Phaser level control not much use below 1 o’clock. Repeats are bright for an analog delay. Greater range of low-gain sounds would be nice.

$99

Donner X Third Man Triple Threat
thirdmanrecords.com

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A huge part of the early White Stripes mystique, sound, ethos, and identity was tied to guitars and amps that, at the time, you could luck into for cheap at a garage sale. These days, it’s harder to score a Crestwood Astral II, or Silvertone Twin Twelve with a part-time job in the ice cream shop. Back in the late ’90s, though, they were a source of raw, nasty sounds for less than a new, more generic guitar or amp.

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