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Sleeper Amp Alert: The B-52 AT-100

Hey gang, I had somthin’ cool pass through my shop that I thought y’all might just want to know about.  An AT-100 that had had its treble and contour knobs busted off.  I spent a little time under the hood replacing the two pots and then played through her for a while.  I wound up with two overriding impressions: 1) that this is a well thought-out and easy to work on amp, and 2) that it sounds damn good.  Given it’s VERY reasonable price, that officially qualifies it as a “sleeper amp” in my book! The construction: She IS a Chinese made PC-board amp … as are most under a...

Why Every Guitar Player Should Learn to Play the Banjo … or something else …

Banjo, mandolin, ukulele, fiddle, dulcimer, and my favorite, the Bouzouki.   Shoot, if ya REALLY want to get in over your head, add sitar to the list.  The point is:  Get outta your “normal” zone where stringed instruments are concerned; when you do you will encounter a refreshing creativity like none other.  Sure, a little experimentation with alternative tunings can breathe a bit of freshness into your creative atmosphere … but it’s not even close to the creative cyclone of a truly DIFFERENT instrument … one that not only has a different tuning, but also a...

How To Adjust (Set) Pickup Height on a Humbucker for ULTIMATE TONE!

Okie dokie gang, this is kinda part three in this series which started with How To Adjust (Set) Pickup Height on a Stratocaster for ULTIMATE STRAT TONE!  And then came How To Adjust (Set) Pickup Height on a Telecaster for ULTIMATE TELE TONE!  So, what about setting the height on humbucker equipped guitars like Les Pauls?  Well, let’s get into it! Once again, I need to make it clear that these are my personal recommendations.  You may be going for something totally different, and as such may want to totally disregard my suggestions; if so, I fully understand,...

Historic 1968 Fender Telecaster Bass Restored - Anatomy of a Vintage Fender Pickup Restoration

First a shout-out to my buddy John Scott at Bluesman Vintage here in Nashville for helping to make this blog (along with the restoration) possible … Thanks John!   Now, let’s get into this story. This bass is currently owned by Georgia picker Wayne Kistner who traded for it it way back in 1971 from super-picker Les Dudek who, in addition to his solo material, has played guitar with The Steve Miller Band, The Dudek-Finnigan-Krueger Band, Stevie Nicks, Cher, Boz Scaggs, The Allman Brothers and many more uber-cool cats.  So, this bass has some History with a capital...

Of Snowstorms and Gear Galore, Vaughn Skow’s Take on Winter NAMM 2016

FYI: The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) shows are held each January in Anaheim California and July in Nashville, Tennessee; they are the biggest music gear trade shown in America … historically, most companies announce their new products at a NAMM show.  As I pen this blog, I am completely snowed-in and feeling a bit “under the weather” at my home in Nashville while the NAMM convention is in full swing with a sweeeet 72-degrees temp in California.  Okay, yea, I might be feeling just a teeny, weenie bit sorry for myself.  But, let’s not dwell… Luckily, every...

Of P90 Pickups, Les Pauls, and Treble-Bleed Circuit mods

Howdy friends!  Here is PART of the story of my long journey to develop truly holy-grail level P90 pickups … the part about treble bleed circuits!  Now, most treble-bleed circuit discussions fall into one of three general camps:  1) what values to use, 2) Parallel vs series wiring of the cap & resistor, and 3) how pleasant the treble content is as you roll-down the volume control.  My discussion is a bit different, as it primarily is about P90 equiped guitars, I DO NOT recomend treble-bleeds on already spikey single-coil guitars ESPECIALLY Telecasters!  And,...

American Made … does it still matter?

A pic I snapped a couple years back at the WGS plant, I think this picture really does say 1000 words!It’s almost Christmas, 2015 as I pen this blog.  Over the years I have written a number of blogs on what you could call “Pro-America” topics.  I just can’t help it.  I feel so genuinely blessed to have been born in the time & place where I was.  And, I’m totally grateful for having been born an American.  In the history of the world, there has never been a better place.  I won’t re-hash old feelings here … at the end of this blog I’ll have a list of...

Guitar Pickup Coil Tap vs Coil Split, the Definitive Answer

Google “coil tap vs split”; by the time you get to the “v”, it’ll fill in the rest for you … it’s THAT common a question!  The two terms “coil-split” and “coil-tap” are often used interchangeably, but they are very different.  So, what is the difference?  Let’s give the definitive answer right here and right now!  Don’t worry, it’s simple, and this won’t take long. Coil Split:  this is what most folks are thinking of when they consider these terms.  It is simply when a dual-coil pickup (i.e. a humbucker), has its two coils, which are usually wired in...

The Surprising Success of Vaughn’s Velvet Telecaster Pickups

Hi Ya’ll!  I have a confession to make:  I’m not really a “Tele guy”.  So the phenomenal Success of my Vaughn’s Velvet Tele pickups might seem a bit surprising … but wait … you haven’t heard the REST of the story! Let’s start with this little piece that accompanies the product description of my Velvet Tele set: “Whenever I talk to "Strat guys" about tone, they say that if money were no object, they'd be playing vintage pickups from the 50s-60s. Same goes for Les Paul people, their "if money were no object" pickup would be a vintage 57-60 PAF.   But...

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