In 1958, Gibson brought the ES-335 into the world in response to Jazz Players whose hollow-bodied git-boxes howled with feedback. Looking very much like a traditional thinline hollow body, the 335 had a center block of maple that cut feedback while it spawned a far-flung family of subtle, genetic variation, such as Gibson’s Vintage ES-345, ES-347, ES-350 and ES-355 models, Epiphone’s Sheraton, Casino and Riviera guitars and a slew of close relatives and out-and-out clones by virtually every guitar maker in existence. Read more
Call them the biggest of custom shops or the smallest of production plants; either way, Hamer knows how to put together some fine guitars. Even their most affordable instruments reveal an attention to detail you might expect to find only in high-priced guitars.
So it only goes to figure that a costlier instrument like Hamer’s Newport Hollowbody electric guitar exhibits some truly topnotch craftsmanship. The Newport is part of Hamer’s unique line of true hollowbody instruments, which also includes the Newport Pro. It features a hand-carved spruce top on a mahogany body and a mahogany set neck, all bound in ivoroid. The transparent orange finish is subtly flecked with silver sparkles, and the chromed hardware includes Grover Super Rotomatic tuners, chrome pickup surrounds, a Tune-O-Matic bridge and a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece.
The Newport sports a pair of single-coil Phat Cat pickups hand-built in Seymour Duncan’s custom shop, master volume and master tone controls and a three-way toggle pickup selector. The Phat Cats are cleverly designed to humbucker dimensions, by the way, so if you must swap them, you can do so without taking a knife to the top. For those less inclined toward this model’s rockabilly leanings, the Newport Pro comes with a Tune-O-Matic bridge with stop tailpiece and two Seymour Duncan Seth Lover pickups. Read more
Fans of George Harrison may well remember the guitar he was holding on the cover of his Cloud Nine record: a black ’57 Gretsch Duo Jet. When the Gretsch Company decided to honor the legendary guitarist with a signature guitar, it was this Gretsch Duo Jet they chose to re-create. Read more
Every year or so, the big 2 guitar manufacturers [Gibson, Fender], release a guitar that is designated as their latest “Wow Guitar”. You know, the ones that are pure eye and ear candy, that tempt you with selling your car to have one of your own. Read more
Here’s how fresh the 2011 Epiphone ES-355 is at this point in time and space: I walked into two different music stores, one a giant corporate retailer and the other a small local shop (albeit one that specializes in Epis), and neither one of them even knew it existed much less had one in stock. Read more
Introduced in 1955 Gibson’s Byrdland was one of the first thinline hollowbody electrics. Designed with the help of hot-shot guitarists Billy Byrd and Hank Garland, whose surnames were combined to form the model’s name, the Byrdland was a Venetian (i.e. rounded) cutaway archtop with a carved spruce top and solid maple rims and back. Though the body was only 2-1/4 inches deep, rather than the standard 3-3/8 inches. Also unusual was the instrument’s short scale length 23-1/2 inches, a full two inches less than that of most archtops, allowing guitarists to play chords that required large stretches. Read more
These guitars were on display at the NAMM show in January, alongside Stu Hamm’s new signature Washburn bass, The Hammer.
The Jazz Series addition features a maple neck with rosewood fingerboard, spruce top, flame maple back and sides, gold hardware, bound f-holes and a Venetian cutaway. RRP is $1247.90, available mid-2011.
The Parlors are based on the R314K and R320SWR vintage models, minus the ‘vintage’ finish. Both feature mahogany necks with ebony fretboards and bridges, abalone rosettes and herringbone bindings. The R315KK has a spruce top while the R321SWRK boasts a solid spruce top and solid Rosewood back and sides.
Gretsch guitars are among the most iconic images and sounds of rock and roll, especially the early years. They have also been used by modern players ranging from Dave Stewart to Brian Setzer and, like the Les Paul, Stratocaster, and Telecaster, have never really gone out of style. The only problem with Gretsch is they can be a bit expensive, like many of the finer things in life. Well, good news hep cats and kittens: now there is a Gretsch that sounds great, oozes cool, and can be had for a price that won’t give your significant other indigestion. I am talking about the Gretsch G5120 Read more
Over the last 35 years, Taylor guitars has amassed a sterling reputation as on of the world’s premier guitar companies. Bob Taylor is widely recognized for bringing innovative refinements to the guitar-making process, and the proof is in the playing. But as Bob will point out, innovation is never an end unto itself. Bob and his product design group are driven by a deceptively simple goal Read more
Hamer’s Newport Series hollowbody guitars feature an ivoroid-bound Honduras mahogany neck and body and a hand-carved, arched spruce top with two f-holes. Newport guitars also feature two Hamer Phat Cat single-coil pickups, which are hand-built in Seymour Duncan’s custom shop. The Phat Cat’s wide-shape allows players to switch to a humbucking pickup without having to alter the pickup cavity. Newport guitars come stock with Tune-O-matic bridge, Bigsby vibrato, Grover Super Rotomatic tuners and Transparent Orange Sparkle finish. Read more