Although I don’t currently own any vintage gear aside from a couple of old pedals, that doesn’t stop me spending an unhealthy amount of time gazing longingly at pictures and videos of golden-era Gibsons and Fenders, planning hypothetical purchases and zeroing in on the years in which my favourite guitars had the best pickups and neck shapes. Familiar story? It’s certainly not just me – and the relentless allure of vintage gear shows no sign of waning any time soon.
Sure, there are plenty of decidedly average and downright bad vintage guitars out there and the year of an instrument’s manufacture is not a stone-cold guarantee of quality. But having been lucky enough to spend a fair chunk of time in recording studios with vintage gear over the years, there’s definitely something special about a well-sorted old guitar that makes dialling in a great tone incredibly straightforward.
It’s a phenomenon I’ve discussed with several engineers: great vintage guitars seem almost to produce themselves and sit perfectly in a band mix with very minimal additional EQ or sonic fairy dust required.
In this month’s magazine, we celebrate all things vintage. Along with a smorgasbord of beautifully photographed gear, you’ll find expert buying tips – featuring none other than Joe Bonamassa and a host of other vintage-guitar gurus – and we also try to get to the bottom of whether the wood, hardware or pickups are the biggest factor in the pursuit of old-school guitar sounds.
It’s not all old news; we also check out some of the hottest new gear that the industry has to offer, from the likes of Fidelity and Blackstar, and speak to guitar players and industry figures who are making waves in the here and now. Get in touch if there are any players or brands you’d like us to cover – and see you next month!
Inside this issue
A 1949 Gibson ES-5 with a breathtaking flametop would be more than worthy of inclusion in these pages, but this month’s coverstar is truly unique, having once been the main squeeze of none other than T-Bone Walker.
Following an extensive overhaul, Guitar Center’s Hollywood location may have a new look, but what really matters hasn’t changed a bit. We check out some jewels from the vintage room.