vintage guitars

Gibson 1960 Les Paul 0 8145 is from the final year of the model’s original-production era, and likely from one of the later runs.

The story of 1960 Gibson Les Paul 0 8145—a ’burst with a nameplate and, now, a reputation.

These days it’s difficult to imagine any vintage Gibson Les Paul being a tough sell, but there was a time when 1960 ’bursts were considered less desirable than the ’58s and ’59s of legend—even though Clapton played a ’60 cherry sunburst in his Bluesbreakers days. Such was the case in the mid 1990s, when the family of a local musician who was the original owner of one of these guitars walked into Rumble Seat Music’s original Ithaca, New York, store with this column’s featured instrument.

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This trio from 1964, accompanied by a 1969 Super Bass head and 8x10 cab, projects a ready-to-rock attitude.

This pair of Firebird I guitars and a Thunderbird II bass, from 1964, were tucked in a closet for decades. Now, they're ready to rock again.

With help from noted automobile designer Raymond Dietrich, Gibson introduced the Firebird and Thunderbird lines in the spring of 1963. They were an effort to compete with Fender's offset body instruments: the Jazzmaster, the Jaguar, and the Jazz Bass. Dietrich, who was famed for his work with Chrysler, Packard, and Lincoln, created the contours of four guitars—the Firebird I, Firebird III, Firebird V, and Firebird VII—and the Thunderbird II and Thunderbird IV basses.

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The Vox V241 Bulldog is (almost) a dead ringer for a Mosrite, but plugging in reveals a mellower sound that is less Ventures and more … Pinky Perky and the Beakles?

I mention this all the time, but I have a real fascination with old music catalogs and print media. The other day, as I was perusing all my catalogs and magazines, I came across my grungy Vox catalog from 1966. The Beatles were on the cover! On page 6, the print reads: "Vox: It's what's happening to the world's top beat groups." The text goes on to list some rather interesting band names that must have been using Vox gear.

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