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Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

The Leslie speaker is a unique and iconic sound device primarily associated with the Hammond organ. Invented in the early 1940s, it has become synonymous with the distinctive swirling, rotating speaker effect heard in many classic rock, jazz, and blues recordings.

The Leslie speaker was invented by Don Leslie, an engineer and inventor, in 1941. Leslie was initially inspired by the desire to enhance the sound of the Hammond organ, which was becoming increasingly popular at the time. The goal was to create a speaker system that could replicate the rich, full-bodied sound of a pipe organ within a smaller, more portable instrument.

Leslie experimented with different speaker designs and configurations until he developed a system that used rotating speakers to create a unique modulation effect. His invention utilized a system of rotating horns and baffles to spread the sound around the room, producing a swirling, Doppler-like effect that enriched the sound of the organ.

Leslie's invention quickly gained popularity, especially among musicians playing Hammond organs, as it added a dynamic, spacious quality to their performances.

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Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

In the late 1950s, a groundbreaking invention emerged in the world of music— the Maestro Echoplex. Conceived by Mike Battle and released by the Maestro company in 1959, this tape delay effect unit swiftly became a trailblazer in shaping the sonic landscape.

Operating on tape delay technology, the Echoplex utilized a loop of magnetic tape to craft mesmerizing echo effects. Its mechanism involved recording the signal onto the tape and playing it back after a brief delay, resulting in a warm and distinctive sound. This innovation quickly found favor among musicians, particularly guitarists seeking to experiment with novel delay effects.

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Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

The Gibson Flying V is a distinctive electric guitar known for its V-shaped body design. The design was the brainchild of then-Gibson president Ted McCarty, in an effort to update, modernize and generate interest in Gibson electric guitars. In the late 1950s, futuristic styling abounded and Gibson looked for ways to capitalize on it. In this article we cover the history of the Gibson Flying V.

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Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

The Dumble Overdrive Special amplifier is considered one of the most sought-after and iconic guitar amplifiers in the history of rock music. Created by Howard Alexander Dumble, a reclusive amp builder based in California, the Dumble Overdrive Special has gained legendary status due to its unique tonal characteristics and its association with some of the world's most renowned guitarists. Let's delve into the history of this remarkable amplifier and the guitarists who have embraced it.

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Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

Melody Maker Single Cut

The Melody Maker is a popular model of electric guitar produced by Gibson. It has a long history dating back to its introduction in 1959. The Melody Maker was initially designed as an affordable option for beginners and students, but it gained popularity among professional musicians as well due to its unique sound and simplicity.

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Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

The Gibson EDS-1275 is a unique and iconic double-neck electric guitar produced by Gibson Guitar Corporation. It gained popularity for its distinctive design and versatility, allowing guitarists to switch between six-string and twelve-string configurations on a single instrument.

The EDS-1275 was introduced by Gibson in 1958. The "EDS" in the name stands for "Electric Double Spanish." Catalogs called it the "Double 12". The guitar was intended to cater to the needs of guitarists seeking a versatile instrument capable of producing a wide range of sounds.

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Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

The Gibson Les Paul is one of the most iconic and revered electric guitar models in history. Its rich history spans over several decades, beginning in the early 1950s. Here's a brief overview of the Les Paul's history:

Development and Introduction (1950-1952):
The Les Paul model was developed by Gibson in collaboration with renowned guitarist and inventor, Les Paul. The initial prototype, known as "The Log," was created by Les Paul himself in the late 1940s, named for the pine block running through the middle of the guitar. Hollow guitar sides or "wings" were added to achieve a conventional shape. Paul had brought his prototype to Gibson, but it was rejected.

In 1951, Gibson president Ted McCarty and his team began work on what would eventually become the Les Paul model. The intent in developing the guitar was not so much to compete with Fender's solid body electric as it was to outshine it; Gibson's would be a well-made-- and expensive-- guitar. McCarty's intent in approaching Les Paul for the right to imprint the musician's name on the headstock was mainly with an eye toward increased sales.

In 1952, Gibson officially introduced the Les Paul Goldtop model. It featured a solid mahogany body with a carved maple top, a glued-in mahogany neck, two P-90 single-coil pickups, and a trapeze tailpiece.

The Gibson Les Paul Custom (1954-1960):
In 1954, Gibson introduced the Les Paul Custom, also known as the "Black Beauty." It featured an all-black finish, multiple binding on the body and headstock, gold hardware, and an ebony fingerboard with mother-of-pearl inlays. The original Customs were fitted with a P-90 pickup in the bridge position and an Alnico V "staple" pickup in the neck. In 1957, the Custom was fitted with Gibson's new PAF humbucker pickups, and later became available with three pickups instead of the usual two.

When the original Les Pauls were discontinued in 1960, the Custom model's features and designation were transferred to a new SG Custom model.

Evolution and Innovations (Late 1950s-1960):
Gibson continued to refine and evolve the Les Paul model throughout the late 1950s and into the 1960s. In 1957, Gibson introduced the PAF (Patent Applied For) humbucking pickups, which provided a warmer and thicker tone compared to the original P-90 pickups. The Les Paul Standard was introduced in 1958, featuring a sunburst finish, a tune-o-matic bridge, and a stop tailpiece.

For all its innovations, the Les Paul Standard didn't sell well. The guitar was heavy, and Gibson was still marketing primarily to an older, jazz-oriented audience. As a result, fewer than 2000 of the model were sold 1958-1960.

In 1961, Gibson made some design changes to the Les Paul, giving it a thinner body and a double-cutaway shape. These models are commonly referred to as the "SG" (Solid Guitar) series. Les Paul did not approve of the changes, and asked his name be removed from the guitars. Even so, many press and promotional photos, and even album covers exist showing both Paul and his wife Mary Ford with 1961 SG Custom model guitars. And, for a period of time, some were still sold with "Les Paul" inscribed on the truss rod covers.

Discontinuation (1960) and Reintroduction (Late 1960s-1970s):
Despite its initial success, sales of the Les Paul declined during the late 1950s due to competition from other guitar manufacturers. As a result, Gibson decided to discontinue the Les Paul model in 1961 and replaced it with the aforementioned SG series.

In the mid-1960s, seeking to emulate their American blues guitar heroes, British rock guitarists began to embrace the original Les Paul models. Subsequently, popular demand prompted Gibson to reintroduce the Les Paul in 1968. This reintroduction included both the "Standard" and "Custom" models, featuring the original single-cutaway design and a range of finishes.

The Gibson Les Paul Deluxe (Late 1960s-1985):
In the late 1960s, Gibson also released the Les Paul Deluxe, which had mini-humbuckers instead of full-sized humbuckers. The pickups were surplus Epiphone inventory, and were fitted into pre-carved P-90 size cavities by means of an adapter ring. Several notable guitarists used Deluxes over the years, although many opted to switch the pickups to full-size humbuckers. The Deluxe went through multiple neck and body construction changes over the years, but was eventually discontinued in 1985.

Professional (1969-1971) and Recording (1971-1979) Models:
In 1969, the Les Paul Professional was introduced. The model forewent the cosmetic embellishments of the Standard and Custom and was aimed at the studio musician. Low impedance pickups replaced standard humbuckers, and two toggle switches provided additional tonal controls. The model was not popular, however, and was discontinued after selling less than 120 units. It would be replaced by the "Recording" model.

The Les Paul Recording differed from the Professional in only minor ways, primarily the controls layout. It was, however, the model Les Paul himself preferred.

Les Paul Studio (1983-present):
The Studio followed the Recording as a model designed to appeal to those who wanted the classic Les Paul sound at a lower cost than Standard or Custom models, again primarily studio musicians. Unlike the Professional and Recording, the Studio was basically a stripped-down Standard with a slightly thinner body. Features such as body binding, neck binding, and headstock inlays were not available.

Over time, revisions were made to the Studio to improve playability and reduce weight, a complaint often lodged against the Standard and Custom. Ironically, Studio models gradually began to be offered with most of the cosmetic features the model was originally intended to eschew.

Modern Era and Variations (1980s-Present):
Since the 1980s, Gibson has continued to produce various Les Paul models, offering different finishes, pickups, and features to cater to the preferences of modern guitarists. Some notable variations include the Les Paul Classic, Les Paul Traditional, Les Paul Custom Lite, and Les Paul Custom Pro. Gibson has also collaborated with famous guitarists to create signature Les Paul models, such as the Jimmy Page Signature and the Slash Signature Les Pauls. Gibson also offers Les Paul models under their more economical Epiphone brand.

The Gibson Les Paul's timeless design, powerful tone, and notable association with legendary guitarists have made it a highly sought-after instrument, securing its place in music history as an iconic electric guitar model.

Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

The invention of the humbucking electric guitar pickup revolutionized the world of electric guitars by eliminating unwanted electrical interference and producing a rich, noise-free tone.

In the early days of electric guitars, single-coil pickups were commonly used. While these pickups were effective in converting string vibrations into electrical signals, they were also susceptible to external electromagnetic interference, commonly known as hum. This interference caused an audible hum or buzz in the signal, particularly in environments with electrical equipment or strong radio waves.

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Classic Rock History: Tools Of The Trade: 

The Valley Arts Super Strat guitar is a high-end electric guitar model that was originally produced by Valley Arts Guitar in the 1980s and 1990s. The company was founded by luthier Mike McGuire in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles, California.

The Valley Arts Super Strat has been used by many professional musicians over the years, including Steve Lukather, Larry Carlton, and Lee Ritenour, among others. Its versatility and high-quality components have made it a popular choice for players who require a high-performance instrument for a variety of musical styles.

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