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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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Some Common Sense Rules to Buying and Selling Guitars and Music Gear on Craigslist, eBay, Reverb, etc.

I’ve been buying and selling on eBay for over 16 years, almost since day one of eBay; my history on Craigslist is about the same, and like many of you, I have started buying and selling on Reverb.  And so I propose that I am about as qualified as anybody to offer up some general guidelines for both buyers and sellers, so here goes! Sellers: You must provide GOOD detailed pictures of the item you are selling; expect to field many requests of “I need to see pics”!  If you don’t provide pics we all know that you are either: 1) a crook, or 2) a do-fuss.  Number one...

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

I recently composed a blog in response to an email from one of my pickup affectionados in Germany asking a question that I realized is of ULTIMATE importance in Strat tone: “what is the best distance from the pickup to the strings for the best results?”  Since that time, I have received several requests to do a similar blog on Tele pickup height adjustment … and so, here we go! Once again, I need to make it clear that I am talking about real-deal vintage pickups and real-deal quality pickups like the ones made by Jason Lollar, Curtis Novak, Lindy Fralin, And myself. ...

Bogner Alchemist – Ultimate Sleeper Amp?

Hi-diddly do fair blog neighbors!  In my first couple years of this blog, I often featured amps that I considered “sleepers” … amps that could be bought for fairly cheap money and deliver more than expected.  I think it’s time to revive the sleeper-amp concept!  Let’s dig in with this week’s choice, the Bogner Alchemist.  Ready?  Let’s go! I clearly remember when the Alchemists first appeared in stores like Guitar Center, and the supporting ads in the guitar mags.  Man, they really caught my attention, at over a grand or so, they certainly were not...

Gibson Guitar's 2016 Line-Up, the Insanity of 2015 is OVER!

Did you hear that loud “Pop”?   For Gibson guitar lovers, it was a sweet sound.  Word on the street is that it was the sound of Gibson Guitar’s proverbial head popping out of a very, very dark place. Just in case you, dear reader, are the one guitar player who didn’t catch it, Gibson really screwed the pooch in 2015, imposing “improvements” upon almost every model guitar.  It was by all accounts guitar atrocities. The most offensive of which were: G-Force automatic tuning systemZero Fret Adjustable Nut Wider neck and compound-Radius fingerboard with flatter...

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