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Guitarist Presents: Historic HardwareGuitarist Presents: Historic Hardware

Guitarist Presents: Historic Hardware

Guitarist Presents: Historic Hardware

Explore the beauty, craft and heritage of over 66 stunning vintage guitars, from the 1933 National Duolian resonator to the legenday 1959 Gibson Les Paul Standard in this lavishly illustrated, reference grade companion for any guitarist who wants to immerse themselves in the history of the great 20th century guitar makers.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Future Publishing Ltd
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IN THIS ISSUE

access_time1 min.
instruments of history

Guitar players are infamously conservative when it comes to guitars, and it’s often alleged that we spend more time gazing admiringly to the past than celebrating innovation. While I’d take that with a pinch of salt, there’s no doubt that a golden era of guitar came into bloom in the mid- 20th century, with its epicentre in America during the 1950s. When you consider that Leo Fender didn’t even play guitar, it’s staggering how much he got right with his amp and guitar designs, likewise his more traditional contemporaries at Gibson such as Ted McCarty. Our mental templates for what sounds ‘good’ were formed by musicians wielding the instruments these visionary designers and others made – searing their image into the collective consciousness as the musical revolution of the 50s…

access_time8 min.
pre-war guitars

The incredibly diverse and colourful spectrum of guitars from World War I onward (aka the Contemporary Period) are the result of a metamorphosis spanning hundreds of years, blending technology and culture into a vast array of shapes and sounds. Over the course of time, guitars undertook many successful evolutionary leaps as players, craftsman and inventors reworked and remodelled the form through numerous, often radical, transitions. Many ‘holy grail’ examples of vintage guitars are considered to be the zenith of tone and/or concise turning points with respect to modification, progression and design – they are guitars that reflect an enhanced musicality and a characteristic peak of quality with respect to craftsmanship and materials. Today, many of these beautifully constructed instruments are highly prized by both players and collectors alike as, aside from…

access_time1 min.
gibson nick lucas

A radio star of the 1920s, Nick Lucas was sometimes affectionately referred to as the ‘grandfather of jazz guitar’ or the ‘Crooning Troubadour’ and was known for his guitar-centric hits Picking The Guitar and Teasing The Frets. He was approached by a representative of Gibson in 1924 offering to build his dream guitar in an attempt to convert him away from his beloved Galliano. He agreed on the premise of certain specifications, such as a wide neck, deep sides and small body, and in 1925 was presented with his own custom guitar, setting the precedent for future Gibson signature models. With a unique body constructed of mahogany (and later rosewood) back and sides measuring at least 4 ½ inches deep and a slightly arched top and back measuring 13 ½ inches…

access_time1 min.
1924 gibson l-4

Gibson’s L-4 was first introduced in 1912 as an addition to the well established L-1, L-2 and L-3 acoustic archtops released earlier in 1902, and soon acquired popularity within the early jazz guitar circle. It was used by jazz pioneer Eddie Lang who, performing regularly on radio with violinist Joe Venuti, is often credited as the ‘father of jazz guitar’, placing his unique style firmly on the map and laying the foundations of the guitar as a solo and band instrument in the 1920s. Viewed by many as something of a template for later guitars such as the ES-175, it originally arrived with a 16-inch body, an elegantly understated oval soundhole, and pointed ebony fingerboard with pearl dot inlays, sporting a trapeze tailpiece and a bound neck, top and back. By…

access_time7 min.
dust devil

The Great Depression of the early 1930s hit America hard. No-one was spared, from dirt farmers to sportsmen such as ‘Cinderella Man’ James J Braddock, to the car plants in Detroit. Things were so bleak that the Gibson factory in Kalamazoo, Michigan cut back on guitar production to make wooden toys or anything else that could keep the workers employed. Ironically, at a time when the guitar was beginning to eclipse the popularity of the piano, accordion and banjo, few could afford to buy a quality Gibson instrument. The fact that the company survived America’s toughest decade at all is down to Gibson’s president, a brilliant businessman named Guy Hart. Holder of the big job between 1924 and 1948, Hart’s legacy has been obscured by later president Ted McCarty (he of…

access_time11 min.
rock of ages

The letter, written in a flowing hand on fading yellow notepaper, is dated 10 May 1976. Its contents may be brief, but mark an extraordinary moment. “Mr Keith Perry, I am fine and hope you are. Most of all, I hope you have received the guitar by now and I hope you will like and enjoy it,” the letter read. “You will have to tune it up, as I had to tune it down to send it. I will be looking to hear from you and [so] I will know if you got the guitar. Have a nice time in music and thanks a whole lot and let me continue to hear from you and Hard Rock.” The words are those of Booker ‘Bukka’ White, the legendary Delta bluesman whose slide…

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