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Pro-Advice

Pickup wizard and innovator Seth Lover, as captured by the author.

Guitarists are always changing pickups. So, what are we searching for?

Everyone knows that tone is in the pickups, right? At least that’s what the prevailing thought seems to be. There must be something to that idea because guitarists are spending a huge amount of cash changing pickups like dirty underwear. Almost daily we hear about a new pickup maker who has “cracked the code” by utilizing materials and techniques that somehow companies with million-dollar R&D budgets missed. I’ve worked with and rely upon a large number of pickup brands, and I truly love a lot of what they produce, but I’ve also learned that it’s easy to get lost in the hype.

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Slash onstage with Guns N’ Roses, backed by a fleet of glowing Magnatone M-80 amps, the inspiration for his current signature model, the SL-100.

Photo by CQPhotographer

The guitar icon revisits his roots with a feral 6-string rager featuring guests Billy Gibbons, Gary Clark Jr., Chris Stapleton, Brian Johnson, Steven Tyler, Beth Hart, Demi Lovato, and others. His guests onstage for the accompanying S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival tour will be a rotating cast of the Warren Haynes Band, Keb’ Mo’, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Robert Randolph, Larkin Poe, Eric Gales, ZZ Ward, Samantha Fish, and Jackie Venson.

Many of us have been transfixed by Jimi Hendrix’s acoustic 12-string performance of “Hear My Train A Comin’,” in the 1973 documentary A Film About Jimi Hendrix. Including Slash. But Slash, being Slash, took it a step further.

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The Howard Roberts signature, originally an Epiphone like this one, was built by Japanese guitar-makers throughout the ’70s lawsuit era before being reintroduced by Epiphone in the ’90s.

Photos courtesy of Reverb and Garrett Park Guitars

This acoustic-electric, built for the jazz-fusion guitarist, was varied in both specs and brand names throughout the late 20th century.

My last installment of Vintage Vault, in the April 2024 issue, highlighted the signature guitars of Johnny Smith, a 20th-century jazz legend whose eye for detail resulted in the creation of a premium electric archtop for the ages. Here, we turn our eyes to what could be that guitar’s stranger cousin: an odd merging of acoustic and electric design built for jazz-fusion guitarist Howard Roberts.

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Wherever you’re looking to plug in your acoustic, these stomps have you covered with a wide range of functionality and sounds.

A good preamp plays an important role in making your acoustic guitar sparkle. Here are options in a wide price range that will keep your 6-string singing.

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Indonesian guitarist Dewa Budjana chatting with rig designer Bob Bradshaw.

Our columnist tells the story of his visit to a recording studio, interviews an Indonesian guitarist, and releases some of his prejudices about a rack-system-style rig.

Last month, I had the opportunity to do a recording session at a professional studio, or more precisely, the best recording studio in my city. As an amateur musician, I only brought my Marshall 6101 combo, Les Paul, and ’70s fuzz wah. The owner and engineer of the studio had said that I could use all the equipment in the studio, especially the rack system that was available there.

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