robben ford

Larry Thomas knew how much Alexander Dumble revered Leo Fender and his designs. Thomas took Dumble to visit Leo’s office, where this photo was taken. It hasn’t been changed since Leo’s last day at work.

Photo courtesy of Larry Thomas

His amps fetch eye-popping sums, and the stories are legendary. Dumble’s friends share their memories of a true musical visionary.

Howard “Alexander” Dumble was about as close to a guitar mystic as you can get. He was an eccentric recluse as well known for the mythology surrounding his creations as for the amplifiers themselves. The list of players who have relied on his amps carves a through line of the history of modern electric guitar styles. Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jackson Browne, Robben Ford, Eric Johnson, John Mayer, Sonny Landreth, Joe Bonamassa, and dozens of other A-listers found their sound through a Dumble amp. On January 17th, Dumble passed away at his home in Turlock, California.

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Musicians Institute and Norman's Rare Guitars are proud to announce "From Hollywood with Love," a concert to benefit the 100th Anniversary of downtown Los Angeles homeless charity, The Midnight Mission.

Los Angeles, CA (October 31, 2013) -- Musicians Institute (MI), and Norman's Rare Guitars are proud to announce "From Hollywood with Love," a concert to benefit the 100th Anniversary of downtown Los Angeles homeless charity, The Midnight Mission. Hitting the stage at MI's Concert Hall in Hollywood on Saturday, January 11th, 2014, the event will be hosted by comedian Kevin Nealon (Saturday Night Live, Weeds); and will feature performances from an all-star cast of guitar greats including Robben Ford, Joe Bonamassa, Jason Sinay, Jimmy Vivino, Tony Galla, Kirk Fletcher, Grant Geissman, Jimmy Earl, Del Casher, and more surprise acts to be announced.

Tickets for "From Hollywood with Love" are $100 for General Admission, and $250 for a VIP package that guarantees premium seating, early entrance, a special reception, and a meet-and-greet session with the artists. Doors open at 7:30pm for the event, and seating will be limited, so fans are urged to reserve their tickets or make additional donations now at: http://FromHollywoodWithLove.charityhappenings.org.

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Robben Ford chose a little-used axe from his collection for the new album–a 1966 Epiphone Riviera.
Photo by George B. Wells

Robben Ford challenges himself to simplify his rig and his melodic approach on his soulful new album, Bringing It Back Home.

Blues-bopper Robben Ford has done more to develop the more sophisticated side of blues guitar than anyone since T-Bone Walker. Without blinking an eye, he can move from a sweet, B.B. King-inspired bend to a furious diminished-scale run—and make it all work seamlessly. His playing encompasses a lot more than those two extremes, but no matter where his muse takes him, that ability to be both approachable and intellectual is always part of his sonic signature. Even on his R&B-flavored new album, Bringing It Back Home—on which Ford challenged himself to record everything through a single pickup from one specific guitar, a 1966 Epiphone Riviera.

One of the main inspirations for this unusual move came from Kind of Blue, the seminal 1959 jazz album by trumpeter Miles Davis—who Ford played with back in 1986. “It presents quite a moody thing,” Ford says, “and it’s consistent—there aren’t a lot of highs and lows. It stays in one place and just explores it.”

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