The California Mini Series consists of the Redondo Mini and the Sonoran Mini each packing a big punch into a smaller-sized acoustic guitar. Delivering the tone of a full-sized guitar, they come with premium features such as a walnut fingerboard and bridge, Nubone nut and saddle, and a satin finish.

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Formed in 1986, Darkthrone have been a duo consisting of Fenriz (left) and Nocturno Culto (right) since the release of 1994's Transilvanian Hunger.

Photo by Ester Segarra

Using Metallica and ZZ Top as signposts, and moving from their condemned bomb shelter studio to a pro room, the wicked progenitors of Norwegian black metal give off major throwback vibes on their new Eternal Hails.

Norwegian extreme metal band Darkthrone have been shrouded in mystique ever since their 1986 inception. The band's second, third, and fourth albums, A Blaze in the Northern Sky, Under a Funeral Moon, and Transilvanian Hunger—released in 1992, 1993, and 1994, respectively—are commonly regarded as the unholy trinity of black metal. But the band no longer consider themselves purely black metal, and it's questionable as to whether they ever did. They've arguably jumped around stylistically for their entire career—from death metal to doom metal to black metal, and even crust punk, as evidenced on 2006's The Cult Is Alive. They never tour or perform live (their last performance was in 1996), which defines their sound just about as much as any musical influence, as they've long chosen to focus their creative energy on crafting albums in their own makeshift studio, which was located in an old bomb shelter in their hometown, Kolbotn.

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Why I Built This: M-Tone Guitars’ Matt Proctor

Watch the Portland luthier demo his intricate axes and explain how Dry Cleaning and a five-story block of marble factor into his creative dreams.

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Another FIVE winners will be chosen from Crazy Tube Circuits, Ernie Ball, Ibanez, Tech 21, and Valco FX.

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A Leslie West devotee turned an '80s "pointy" guitar into a more playable companion with a hand-painted homage to his hero.

Name: Mike Murphy
Hometown: Tavares, Florida
Guitar: Flying Star

I've been building/modifying guitars for over 50 years. With the recent passing of guitar legend Leslie West (of Mountain fame), who was one of my greatest influences, I thought this might be of interest to your readers.

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Our columnist shares the devices and materials needed to do some of his favorite guitar maintenance tricks.

The problem with giving advice is that there are many different approaches to everything, and usually more than one "right" answer. With my five decades of taking guitars apart, and sometimes putting them back together, I take a lot of stuff for granted, and I admit that I'm still learning. But ignoring all that, I'll just forge ahead and share the inexpensive tools and materials needed to do some of my favorite little tricks.

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