The very first humbucker and probably the most sought after pickup of all time, the PAF was invented by Seth Lover, then Gibson employee, as an answer to the problematic hum caused by single coils. Famously the de-facto pickup on Les Paul standards of that era, the PAF was the secret weapon to crush Fender.
PAF stands for “Patent Applied For”, as seen on the decal. Story goes that no PAF pickup sounds the same, but they all roar. This is probably due to the fact they were randomly stuffed with Alnico II, III, IV or V magnets. Modified patented versions were produced after 1962, marking the official end of the “Patent Applied For” era. Since then, countless reissues, clones and copies have been produced.
Marc Bolan’s Les Paul was a FrankenPaul. It was built out of several LPs from different eras. Its whereabouts are unknown, but Gibson believed its last state to be a 50s Les Paul body with a 70s LP Custom neck. That’s on these specs that they built the Custom Shop Marc Bolan signature Les Paul. Of course, its a limited run of 100, on top of which another 350 VOS have been produced.
The name Byrdland is a mashup of the names of Billy Bird and Hank Garland the two guitarists who participated in its design. They had requested a short scale archtop that would be less bulky than the traditional hollowbody, and this is basically what they got: A short-scale thinline L5CES.
P90s, PAF pickups, venetian or florentine cutaway, the Gibson Byrdland went through several phases, but was always seen as a remarkable and prized instrument. Some of Gibson’s finest. Hear it
Designed by Dan Smith to compete against the Jackson models of that era, its pretty safe to say the Fender Katana is one of the Fender guitar ever made. That’s probably what people thought at the time since it was pulled off from catalogs a year after its introduction.
Looks aside, its a high quality model made in Japan. Set neck, Tbx tone control, it has a surprisingly snappy sound despite the dual coils. A much more common squier version with the same name exist. Scott Grove’s Youtube review
Ted McCarty, former president of Gibson (during the 1950-65 golden era) has been involved with PRS since 1994. His first contribution was properly called the McCarty Model. Thicker neck and body than usual PRS, The PRS McCarty has a strong, pleasant vintage Les Paul influence in both sound and feel. It is also the first PRS to feature a three way switch.
the first 100 units were signed and numbered. In 1998, a rosewood fretboard was offered as optional. Hear it
One thing to know about Magneto guitars is that they are entirely, and beautifully, hand crafted — a rare feat in the modern world. Magneto founder and luthier Christian Hatstatt was inspired by the powerful sound of Gibson SGs when he designed this Magneto Velvet. Two Lollar Imperial pickups deliver a sound with a lot of emphasis on the mids and an impressive sustain. Visually, the guitar looks stunningly clean, and the hand rub oil finish really makes the grain of the wood shine. Nice job Frenchies. Hear it.
Since the opening of its Custom shop in 1988, Ibanez gained popularity among heavy metal players with endorsements from numerous Speed legends. The Ibanez JS 10th Anniversary guitar, reasonably nicknamed ‘Chromeboy’, marked a decade of fruitful collaboration with Joe Satriani.
Unlike other JS which were made of basswood (with a chrome coating), the body of the JS 10th is built out of a composite synthetic material with unique tonal properties called Luthite. DiMarzio humbuckers, double locking vibrato, scalloped back, good sustain and harmonics, melting hot tone, this guitar is designed for complex, speedy solos with mandatory tapping and dive bombs. Hear it blast. A total of 507 Chromeboys were made.
As everyone knows, the SG was originally a double cutaway version of the Les Paul model. Les Paul didn’t care so much for the new style and his name eventually got dropped to be replaced by the SG label(as in Solid Guitar) in 1963. So the 1961-63 transition model, sometimes referred to as a SG Les Paul. It is technically not a SG yet, even though it looks, smells and taste like one.
The SG custom is the top of the SG line. Until 1969, the only finish available was white. Three humbuckers that drool 60s heavy rock. No less than four tailpieces variations can be found on the SG Custom: Bigsby (61-63), Sideways Vibrola (61-62), Short Vibrola (62-63), Maestro ‘lyre’ Vibrola. Hear Phil X get High on it
Originally designed by John Page in 1983, the Fender Performer was supposed to be Fender’s entry point to a competitive metal market, dominated at the time by brands like Jackson or BC Rich. The headstock is somewhat reminiscent of the one of a Fender Swinger and has probably the worst looking Fender logo decal ever produced. The body looks vaguely like a Parker Fly with pointed horns. What’s quite unique to the performer is a pair of slanted humbuckers that are surprisingly versatile. A mini-switch allows to choose between single-coil or humbucker mode. Hear Scott Grove make them purrr!
As the stories goes, this model would have been made with leftover scraps from strats. Not a problem for the Fuji-gen factory who manages to pull out a great sounding guitar in 1985. Sadly, the performer never conquered any crowd and faded out of the catalogs a year after its release.
The Folks at Eastwood Guitars released last month a neat retro looking Mandoline. The Eastwood Airline mandola is made of classic Alder body and maple neck combo. Priced at $300, it seems like a fun little toy to play with.