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Fender Bassbreaker 45 Combo

Fender’s new nine-product Bassbreaker series combines popular traditional amplifiers with modern technology. Classic tones and flexibility are the name of the game, which means a plethora of wattages and sizes providing the kinds of tonal succulence guitarists have come to know and love. The Bassbreaker 45 Combo is the series flagship, and it has a ... ...

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Mojotone ’58 Quiet Coil Strat Pickups

Players love that single-coil sound but hate the noise and hum that generally come with them. For the most part, “noiseless” pickups, whether stacked coils, side-by-side coils, or other designs, have meant something of a compromise between tone and hum-free operation. The new Mojotone ’58 Quiet Coil Strat Pickups use traditional side-by-side coils with blade ... ...

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Black Cat Vibe and TWA’s Triskelion Mk. II

In today’s world of proliferating boutique pedals, guitarists have a staggering array of divergent options. Case in point, the Black Cat Vibe and TWA Triskelion Mk. II make for a pair of pedals, which couldn’t be more different. The Black Cat Vibe is based on the original Uni-Vibe of the 1960s and ’70s, evoking that ... ...

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Xaviere XV-950

Gibsonguildgretsch! Cumbersome as it may be in word form, Xaviere’s XV-950 gracefully combines attributes from the “big trio.” The XV-950 employs a classic Florentine cutaway body measuring a small-ish 15″ at the lower bout, 2″ thick at the edge, (25/8" at the arch), and is made with hand-laid laminated maple front and back. There is ... ...

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Vega De Luxe Electric Plectrum Banjo

Billed as “the latest orchestral sensation… unparalleled for versatility,” Vega’s electric banjos – developed to compete with one being made by Gibson – were of little consequence in the market. Documentation is sparse, but it appears Vega started building them in late 1938 and continued until ’42, before surrendering to the production privations of World ... ...

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Vega Model 120

Viewed from our contemporary perspective, it’s difficult to fully appreciate how different the music scene in general – and the guitar scene in particular – was back in the early part of the last century. When the electric guitar hit the ground as a viable entity in the mid 1930s, everything was up for grabs… ... ...

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Ronnie Earl

Ronnie Earl is one of the most prolific blues guitarists working today. And though his solo career now spans almost three decades, he shows no signs of slowing down. While studying education at Boston University, Earl experienced an epiphany watching Muddy Waters onstage; taking up the guitar at the relatively late age of 21, he ... ...

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Hallmark Swept-Wing

Bob Shade exemplifies the adage “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” The guitar builder has an enviable assortment of ’60s Hallmark guitars and basses, and they’ve inspired his own creations. Hallmark was founded by Joe Hall (1938-2011), a former Mosrite employee who in 1965 opened a shop in Arvin, California, just down the road ... ...

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Robert Cray

Robert Cray’s new album with producer-drummer Steve Jordan and the Hi Rhythm section is a no-brainer slam-dunk – and a brilliant collaboration. Together with Cray’s indelible hybrid of R&B, blues, and soul-drenched vocals and Jordan’s historic knowledge of “The pocket,” it just works. And it begs the question, “What took them so long?” Recorded at ... ...

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The Dean Ween Group

The Dean Ween Group’s debut showcases all the genre-hopping shenanigans that became the stock in trade of Ween’s first band – the prolific and eponymously named indie weirdos Ween. While it’s busy serving up Dean Ween’s eclectic songwriting, The Deaner Album is also pushing his guitar chops to the fore. After all, there’s a pair ... ...

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