harmony guitars

Calexico’s Joey Burns (left) and John Convertino (right).

The globally-inspired band taps a United Nations of collaborators to create a sonic stew of cumbia, mariachi, Latin rock, and alt-country on their 10th studio album, the effervescent El Mirador.

For forward-thinking modern artists, experimentation across genres and generations is nothing new. Whether it’s layering acoustic and digital sounds, adding pop flavor to blues-rock, or blending funk, R&B, reggae, and hip-hop, it can seem like there’s no other option than to stir all the multicolor, variegated influences of the past into something that’s refreshingly not quite any of the above. But when it comes to psych-folk, Latin-rock, alt-country group Calexico, melding musical worlds is not as much an experiment as it is an instinct.

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A comprehensive look at the guitars, amps, and effects that defined rock movements from the 1950s to today.

We musicians love analyzing our heroes’ gear. We pore over tomes and fan-generated websites dedicated to chronicling the instruments, amps, and effects used by rock’s most celebrated artists—and not just what they used, but the when, where, how, why, and with whom of it, too. In the case of out-and-out icons, a single writer will author multiple full-color volumes inventorying everything from the gear itself on down to minutiae such as cosmetic changes and original purchase receipts. And if the hero’s big enough, the gear knowledge even spills over to the general public: For instance, plenty of everyday folks could tell you Hendrix played a Stratocaster, or that Page blasted through Marshall stacks during Zep’s heyday.

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