gary clark jr

This 1994 Vibro-King hangs with another versatile tone machine—a Fender Strat. The combination can yield enough clean or gnarly sounds that some players might want to leave their overdrive pedals at home.

This bruising 60-watt powerhouse is ready for anything, with three speakers, five reverb and tremolo controls, and a fat boost.

I'd like to pay respect to the Fender Vibro-King. I still remember how I first admired it, brand new in guitar magazines, in 1994. It was the raw, wild, and blonde Viking cousin of the classic vintage Fender amps. I immediately wanted one and got my first in 2004. So, let me share my view on this flagship from Fender's Custom Shop.

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Austin’s hottest son shares why he loves Epiphone Casinos and never thought he was much of an SG guy until the Foo Fighters gave him the ultimate gift.

PG’s Chris Kies tracks down the soft-spoken guitarist and his tech Dave Folman to talk shop before Clark Jr.’s opening slot for the Foo Fighters at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

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Known for playing Epiphone Casinos onstage, Gary Clark Jr. now has his own signature model, dubbed the Blak & Blu Casino.

Photo by Lindsey Best

The innovative bluesman says he wasn’t made for these times.

Just in case this whole hotshot axe-man thing didn't pan out, Gary Clark Jr. had a backup plan—more than a few of them, in fact. “My mother used to say to me, 'What if you can't be a guitarist? What then?' So I told her, 'If the guitar doesn't work out, then I'll play drums. If that doesn't work, I'll play bass. If that doesn't work, I'll play keys. And if that doesn't work, I'll play trumpet.' Or whatever. The backup plan was always music. There was never any two ways about it."

The funny thing is, Clark made good on most of his promises. While he doesn't play trumpet on his musically diverse and compelling new album, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, the 31-year-old singer-guitar star gives pretty much everything else a go, functioning as a veritable (and astonishingly versatile) one-man band, tackling drums, keyboards, bass, finger snaps … oh, and, of course, the guitar. The album brims with the kind of fiery, emotive, and imaginative 6-string work that has prompted some writers to compare Clark to Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. But the Austin native is anything but a strict traditionalist, and on the new set he weaves psychedelic and Delta blues, chillaxed retro-soul, acoustic gospel, and gonzo garage rock into a personal sonic tapestry that's as daringly au courant as it is classic.

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