guitar history

The plastic bridge on this Kent Copa is a limitation, but when it is properly set up this guitar can sing thanks to three Guyatone pickups and a vibrato unit that feels great to play.

The simple design of the Kent Copa was a perfect fit for Sterling Morrison and Lou Reed’s pragmatic, noisy needs.

Are any of you like me when it comes to TV watching? Like, I have cable and I have about five different streaming services, and I barely watch any of them. Seriously, all I ever watch is sports! But I spend so much money on the TV because my wife likes to watch certain things and my daughter likes to watch certain things and my son likes his stuff and for whatever reason they all tell me we need each of these different channels. My wife is always trying to get me to invest in some long series or drama, and I just get bored after a while and drop out. Recently though, she found Todd Haynes’ excellent Velvet Underground documentary, which I totally enjoyed. (Yeah, it wasn’t sports, but there were guitars, history, and great music!)

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This Maserati 250 F, shown at the 1957 Paris Motor Show, is a contemporary of Gibson's Flying V.

Photo by Alexander Migi/Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Now-classic designs such as Gibson's Flying V and Explorer originally bombed with the public—and chances are you would've turned up your nose at their debut, too.

Over the years, I've vacillated between my love of classic instruments and looking to the future. The same goes for automobiles. I was an F1 fan who always looked to the future. I drooled over carbon fiber wings and thought manual shifters were as antiquated as the crank starter and roll-up windows. Then I was stopped dead in my tracks in the paddock at a vintage sports car race by the sight of a beautifully crafted 1950s Maserati Grand Prix car. As Seinfeld might have said, worlds collided. As I stood before this piece of rolling artwork, it cast a spell on me that I haven't been able to shake.

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Frank Meyers' Recco, pictured, is essentially the same model as Robert Smith's beloved Top Twenty, but with three single-coil pickups versus two.

Circa "Boys Don't Cry," Robert Smith's favorite tones came from a Japan-made model that reached these shores under several brand names, but with the same distinctive voice.

So, the other day my wife and I were having this wonderful conversation about music from the '80s and great songs from our youth. She is a huge '80s music fan who sings along anytime she hears "99 Luftballons" or "Take on Me" (her favorite). Heck, if I play Devo, it's game over! While immersing ourselves in the old classics, I came across the first album by the Cure, 1979's Three Imaginary Boys. I was never a big Cure fan, and only knew a few songs, but the first LP was really something. The band had an incredibly interesting sound with some creative guitar stuff going on, and I was really digging on "10:15 Saturday Night," "It's Not You," "Faded Smiles," and, of course, the total classic "Boys Don't Cry."

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