Classic to-the-bone Fender: a 1952 blackguard Tele and a ’53 Pro amp.

Found during a house renovation, this guitar is a classic example of Fender’s prized blackguard gems.

Leo Fender’s efforts to create a professional solidbody guitar began in the late 1940s and resulted in the one-pickup Esquire and the two-pickup Broadcaster in 1950. By the end of 1951, the two-pickup guitar was renamed the Telecaster, due to a name conflict with Gretsch’s Broadkaster drum set. As we all know, today the Telecaster continues to be a versatile tool for amateur and professional musicians.

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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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In 1952, Gibson's ES-295 also went for the gold—and double P-90s—in a lightweight archtop body style.

When Ted McCarty was appointed general manager of Gibson in 1948 (he became president in 1950), one of his first major goals was to rapidly increase the range of electric guitars offered by the company. In 1949, the lineup, including the 17"-bodied ES-300 and ES-350, was joined by the mid-priced 16" Florentine cutaway ES-175. The ES-175 had a laminated maple arched top and back, with a 24 3/4" scale-length neck.

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This month's star, a 1967 Epiphone Sheraton E212T, slouches against an early Devon—the first Epi-branded amp built by Gibson. The 10" combo has just a volume dial, two 6V6 power tubes, a 5Y3 rectifier tube, and a 12AX7 driving the preamp.

This semi-hollow 1967 Sheraton embodies the "wow" in John Lee Hooker's "how, how, how, how"—and much more.

It might seem unlikely that one semi-hollowbody guitar would appeal to a list of players as wide ranging as John Lee Hooker, Noel Gallagher, and Mick Cripps of L.A. Guns, but the Epiphone Sheraton has done service in all six of those hands—and many, many more—since its introduction in 1958. This month, we're focusing on a classic, cherry-finish 1967 Epiphone Sheraton E212T.

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