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From 1942 to ’45, the period known as the “banner era,” Gibson had emblazoned on their headstocks a yellow banner that reads, “Only a Gibson Is Good Enough.” This J-45’s decal has proudly stood the years.

Photo by Kate Koenig

The historic manufacturer hit the nail on the head when, in the early 1940s, they released the J-45—a model that’s graced the hands and recordings of Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams, Steve Earle, and many, many others. Here, eight musicians, luthiers, and historians shed light on its near-mythical status in the lineage of acoustic guitars.

Tom Crandall was the first person I met in the vintage-guitar industry, when I wrote a profile on him for Acoustic Guitar magazine back in early 2018. In mid February of that year, I visited his shop, TR Crandall Guitars—then in New York’s East Village, now on the Lower East Side—and spent three hours chatting with him about his work as a luthier and playing some of the instruments in his collection. (I had some unconfirmed flu symptoms, and, by so carelessly breathing in his general direction, passed the sick onto him right before he went on a trip to Mexico with his now-wife, Renée. Miraculously, he forgave me for this.)

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Sam Shipstone ripping on his G&L Tribute ASAT T-style in butterscotch blond.

Photo by Jamie Macmillan

Photo by Jamie Macmillan

Yard Act’s Sam Shipstone joins reader Greg DeGood and PG staff members in naming the guitars they love best, stock—with no need to mod.

Question: What is your favorite guitar that comes stock without the need for modding?

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Slash onstage with Guns N’ Roses, backed by a fleet of glowing Magnatone M-80 amps, the inspiration for his current signature model, the SL-100.

Photo by CQPhotographer

The guitar icon revisits his roots with a feral 6-string rager featuring guests Billy Gibbons, Gary Clark Jr., Chris Stapleton, Brian Johnson, Steven Tyler, Beth Hart, Demi Lovato, and others. His guests onstage for the accompanying S.E.R.P.E.N.T. Festival tour will be a rotating cast of the Warren Haynes Band, Keb’ Mo’, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Robert Randolph, Larkin Poe, Eric Gales, ZZ Ward, Samantha Fish, and Jackie Venson.

Many of us have been transfixed by Jimi Hendrix’s acoustic 12-string performance of “Hear My Train A Comin’,” in the 1973 documentary A Film About Jimi Hendrix. Including Slash. But Slash, being Slash, took it a step further.

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