A trip down music gear memory lane
The world of musical instruments is quite odd really. In what other walk of life is there equal lusting after equipment which is cutting edge modern, and gear which would look at home 100 years ago? On one hand, there are the progressive types who want all their tools to be the most up to date, most innovative and most forward-facing. On the other, there are players who want their gear to appear identical to how it did way back when. Vintage stuff is hugely popular, particularly with guitarists, whose archaic technological requirements have never really progressed since the inception of the first amps and guitars. Brands have tried to bring things up to date, but by and large musicians still want gear which functions in much the same way it always has done – hence the market for vintage gear.
Older models do have an undeniably atavistic sense of cool though, so in this must have vintage gear round up we take a look at a few items which may have passed you by, but will quickly transport you back to an era when prehistoric guitars converted electrical energy, through magnets, to feed a signal into glass-valve powered amplifiers. Wait, hang on…
As far as appearances go, there aren’t many amplifiers that look as retro as this baby. The Marshall 1958X Re-Issue Handwired 18 Watt Guitar Amplifier Combo is a faithful reproduction of the original 1958 combo amp that blew minds throughout the 60s. It’s a very straightforward amplifier with 2 tone and volume controls as well as a speed and intensity control over the on-board tremolo. To further that vintage sound, the geniuses at Marshall have taken into account that the original Greenbank speakers of the 1958 model would age and soften their sound over time, so with this in mind the 2 x 10″ Celestion G10F-15 Greenbacks in the 1958X have been aged to produce a sound as close to that classic 60s vibe. A beautiful amp that harks back to the stages of old.
Although not the same as the Pawn Shop range, Squier’s own Vintage Modified series fill a lot of the same niche by providing a range of retro-flavoured products at more affordable prices than their Fender counterparts. The Vintage Modified Mustang is a gorgeous beast and the first Mustang to be included in the Squier family. Two Duncan Designed MU-102 single-coil pickups will take you from 60s surf rock to growling grunge when you need it to. The vintage white colourring gives it that aged vibe too – all in all a cool guitar for those who want a vintage style look.
The Fender Sonoran screams “Vintage”. A 3/4 size version of the ever popular Fender Sonoran, this travel version of the well known acoustic conjures up images of playing songs around the campfire on the beach jamming along to the Beach Boys (or is it just me?).
The stratocaster headstock is an extremely striking feature of this great guitar, and quite a cool little addition from the brand. A 20 fret rosewood fret board, rosewood Viking bridge and checkerboard rosette all add to the vintage chic look of the guitar whilst the addition of an agathis top with sapele back and sides makes sure the guitar sounds great all day everyday and gets better with age.
Considering the reasonable price tag on these guitars, this is your chance to own a piece of Fender expert craftmanship without breaking the bank.
Ever since Gretsch has been producing guitars, you’ve always been able to buy this shape (or similar). It’s never felt the need to change such a winning formula. While other brands are out chasing new markets and stuffing ever more gubbins and gizmos into their new ranges, Gretsch are content to sit at the side and watch, safe in the knowledge that their fans don’t want new-fangled, hifalutin machines. They want the same oversized, ornate, beautifully engineered guitars which will last them a lifetime, and Gretsch is only to happy to oblige. We could write a follow-up article in 100 years and you’ll still be able to buy one of these. The sign of true guitar legend status. This particular Gretsch G5420T features those gorgeous Blacktop Filter’Tron humbucking pickups responsible for belting out those vintage rockabilly tones, beautiful blues and country style licks. As far as vintage style instruments go – this one has it all.
When it comes to throwback gear, we had to include the Kramer Pacer, or more specifically the Kramer Pacer Vintage Satchel signature model. In case you hadn’t heard, Satchel (aka Russ Parrish) is the lead guitarist for 80’s hair metal rock band Steel Panther and one of the greatest guitarists to grace a stage since the hair metal legends owned the airwaves back in the 1980s. Inspired by the likes of Mick Mars, Eddie Van Halen and Jason Becker, Satchel’s style is somewhat over the top – hence the design of his signature Kramer Pacer. Featuring a lightweight maple body with a double cutaway design, his signature model screams 80s style with the addition of an in-your-face leopard print style. This is definitely not a guitar for shrinking violets as it sounds as loud as it looks due to the addition of the Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB and SH-2N JN pickups. Get your hairspray ready!