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July 2014 has been an atrocious month for legendary guitarists: On the heels of Johnny Winter’s departure, famed Lou Reed and Alice Cooper collaborator Dick Wagner has died at 71. From The Detroit Free Press:

(Wagner) had famously overcome a series of medical issues during the past decade, retraining himself on guitar after a stroke paralyzed his left arm. He succumbed to respiratory failure at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Healthcare Shea Medical Center, where he had been in intensive care for the past two weeks following a cardiac procedure.

Aside from his high profile stints with the above, Wagner was also a widely recorded studio player, appearing (with various levels of public credit) on albums by Kiss and Aerosmith.

Read more at the Free Press.

Right here.

 

It’s amazing what you can buy if you have piles of money. For example, a Martin D-28 that once belonged to Elvis Presley will go to auction in Memphis next month. The guitar is currently owned by Greg Page, founder of the children’s group The Wiggles and mega Elvis collector. Despite the fact that this item and the others to be listed don’t originate from the Presley estate, they’ve all been verified as legitimate. According to Today.com:

Everything up for sale has been given the stamp of approval from the new Graceland-affiliated authentication and appraisal service, Graceland Authenticated.

Read more and take a look at the Martin at Today.com.

Right here.

The amazingly robust reddit.com/r/guitar community is hosting an interesting conversation about guitar prices, “Is there a point where a guitar just becomes simply over priced?.” In an age where you can spend more on a Gibson reissue than on a decent used car, the answer seems to be a resounding, OF COURSE. But the opposite position has a surprising amount of support. User nobodygivesafuckk (!) describes a fleeting meeting with Vince Gill’s $12,000 Kelton Swade strat:

5 years and hundreds of guitars played later, nothing else has come anywhere close, both tone-wise as well as playability. I got to play it for about 3 hours, and to this day that memory is still my most vivid one when it comes to guitars. I’m sorry, but nothing even comes close. So yeah, I guess you get what you pay for.

Read along or join the discussion at Reddit.

Right here.

G.C. Jr. beneath not very 'bright lights.'

G.C. Jr. beneath not very ‘bright lights.’

Blues bellwether Gary Clark Jr. brought his modernized mix to a sweltering Kansas City last night. Highlights of his 19 song set at Crossroads KC included “Please Come Home” and a scorching “Numb.” Here’s how the Kansas City Star’s Tim Finn summed up the young icon:

Clark can be an incendiary guitarist when he chooses, and there were plenty of fireworks all night: salvos of notes and chords delivered at high speed and in high volume, then splintering and climaxing almost libidinously into a seismic resolution …

Read the entire review at Back to Rockville.

Right here.

 

Solo artist and former Beachwood Sparks guitarist Josh Schwartz is battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease) and is seeking help raising funds for stem cell therapy. From LA Weekly:

Schwartz has been battling the disease for close to four years. It affects muscles all over the body, making everything from playing music to eating and speaking a challenge. The initial treatment is extremely costly — (Schwartz and his longtime girlfriend Allison Betzler) are aiming to raise $25,000 for the first round.

Read more and learn how to contribute at LA Weekly.

Right here.

 

An American guitar giant has departed: John Dawson Winter III has died at 70. American Blues Scene shares a message from the blues legend’s PR company:

Johnny Winter has passed away on July 16th, 2014, in his hotel room in Zurich, Switzerland. His Wife, family and bandmates are all saddened by the loss of one of the world’s finest guitarists.

Jenda Derringer, wife of longtime Winter associate Rick Derringer, added the following on her Facebook feed, via Blabbermouth:

(Johnny) was not in good health and was very frail and weak.

Read the entire ABS article right here.

And listen to Johnny Winter play the blues today.

Malcolm Mitchell Young

Malcolm Mitchell Young

This is a time of highs and lows for AC/DC fans: News of an imminent album is tempered with continued reports of Malcolm Young’s ill health. Above is rhythm guitarist #1 in a Gretsch ad from Guitar World, March 1997. At that time another multi-platinum album, Ballbreaker, was in the rearview mirror and the Bonfire box set was about to appear.

The Unique Guitar Blog has given its typically comprehensive treatment to the subject of Vox guitars. In a recent post, they run down the company all the way from its beginnings in 1962 through present day. Did you know:

The company started as the Jennings Organ Company in 1958, by Tom Jennings who …  joined up with a guitarist named Dick Denney who had built an amplifier for his guitar. Denney was suffering from hearing loss and the amplified sound of his guitar could keep him working.

Read much more and see lots of great vintage pics and ads at UGB.

Right here.

Guitar Muse is featuring an interview with former Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Ed King. In addition to discussing his favorite touring partners and clamshell guitar picks, the co-author of “Sweet Home Alabama” covered the gear he used on that iconic song:

I used a ‘72 Stratocaster and a 50-watt Marshall turned all the way up. The pickups on that guitar were really bad and even when you turned everything up full, it didn’t really have any kind of natural crunch. It was really a good guitar for that song. But it was a lousy-playing guitar, and every time I hear my solo, I can hear myself fighting it.

Read it all at GM.

Right here.

 

Check out this wild improvisation between guitarist John Russell and pipa player Luo Chao Yun. Where the hell is Russell coming from? As he told Something Else! “I listen to everything and nothing, really … and I have quite an indiscriminate approach. I think music, both playing and listening, is good for the heart and mind and is central to everything I do.”

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