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Pro-Advice

This refinished and modded 1958 Gibson Les Paul Special exemplifies the plusses of buying a “player’s guitar.”

Sometimes, the easiest route to vintage tone and playability is by finding a guitar that’s had a refinish, or other mods that haven’t disturbed its musical essence. These are called “player’s” or “player-grade” guitars in the vintage market, versus “collector’s guitars,” which are unaltered from their original state. This month’s featured instrument, a 1958 Gibson Les Paul Special, is a player’s guitar—and I’m that player.

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Rig Rundown: Ariel Posen [2023]

The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.

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The author found his mint-condition 1966 Vibro Champ on eBay, completely original with the Oxford 8EV speaker.

Extolling the virtues and sharing some easy mods for Fender’s littlest vintage bruiser.

This month, let’s talk about the black- and silver-panel Fender Champ, the tiniest of vintage Fender amps. Weighing only 22 pounds, it is super portable and easy to carry wherever my music takes me. It’s actually so small that I put it between my kids in the car’s backseat when we go on vacations. Before I share what I’ve learned about the Champ, let’s have a quick look in the rearview mirror.

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In a world of widely shared components, don’t just dare to be different. Insist on it. Aesthetics matter.

Regardless of the number of companies swimming in the pedal pond, I often find myself thinking about aesthetic diversity. We builders tend to all use the same components when designing our devices. It’s how we use them that is the subject here. And I’d like to focus primarily on the external components and how they are presented. Finish and graphics play a big part in a company’s branding and identity. However, I’d like to almost solely talk about knobs, footswitches, toggles, and LEDs. These are the most common things that you’ll see on a pedal.

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Wondering how to join a band and get some sweet gigs? Then this episode is for you. Rhett and Zach share their advice, from how to get in front of audiences and make more connections—if it’s all about who you know, how do you get to know the right people? And how do you impress them enough to hire you?—to the skills you’ll need to hone to get the job done. Sure, knowing your way around your instrument is really important, but it’s not just about scales, arpeggios, and chord voicings. And different gigs—cover bands, wedding bands, singer/songwriters—require different skills. (Hint: Know how to get a good sound out of the gear you already have!)

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