vintage

With a team of experts on hand, we look at six workhorse vintage amps you can still find for around $1,000 or less.

If you survey the gear that shows up on stages and studios for long enough, you’ll spot some patterns in the kinds of guitar amplification players are using. There’s the rotating cast of backline badasses that do the bulk of the work cranking it out every day and night—we’re all looking at you, ’65 Deluxe Reverb reissue.

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Fender’s 70th Anniversary American Vintage II 1954 Stratocaster has the feel, tone, and look of a genuine heirloom guitar.

Two Strats celebrating the iconic solidbody’s 70th Anniversary excel from different ends of the price spectrum.

Tones, dynamic range, and playability that showcase the expansive potential of a great Strat. Lively, blooming pickups. Near-flawless build. Great neck if you don’t mind a little thickness.

Thick neck may be too much for folks with smaller hands or conditioned to slimmer modern profiles.

$2,599

70th Anniversary American Vintage II 1954 Stratocaster
fender.com

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As a kid, my aesthetic leanings—particularly where guitars were concerned—were a little anachronistic and specific. In a time when canonical classics and shred machines ruled the collective guitar consciousness, I lovedcustom colors and odd shapes, so a sunburst Stratocaster, particularly one with a maple neck, was, to my eyes, downright uptight and institutional.

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Frank’s Guyatone LG-60 features an old Bigsby and alternate headstock shape, along with single-coil pickups that look sort of like humbuckers.

In the midst of his explorations of Japanese guitar culture, our columnist stumbled upon a vintage collector who also happens to be part of the Pokémon design team.

So, how many of you know about Pokémon, the popular video-game and card series? I missed out on the initial Pokémon craze of the ’90s, and its continuation while I later was toiling my way through college, but when my son was in kindergarten around 2016, we started to play Pokémon Go—another game in the Pokémon series—on my smartphone.

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