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October 24, 2016


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Six Defining Pieces of Sixties Gear

Arguably the most culturally defining and tumultuous era of our nations history, the 1960s was such a cluster of events it's near impossible to summarize in one article.  Even CNN’s 10-part miniseries “The Sixties” got flack for glossing over a few things. We won't even pretend to try.

But while the planet was busy tilting on its polar axis, the music world reveled in its new found freedom. Blame it on sex, point a finger at drugs, but the real catalyst of the proverbial trinity is, of course, largely due to a daring music industry and artists at the peak of their game.

So as you sit back and peruse our finely curated collection of "vintage gear porn,” pour a sip on the concrete and take a moment to appreciate the contributions of our forefathers. 



print add circa 1969

The (Fender) Rhodes Electric Piano

While originally intended for educational use, the CBS-era Fender Rhodes took to rock music immediately. Known for its smooth tone, tactile response, and ease of expressibility, the Rhodes continues to permeate nearly every genre of music to this day.  Still widely available on Reverb.com, this 100-pound ship anchor is generally reserved for local pickup only.  


 

print add circa 1965

Fuzz and the birth of guitar effects

The electric guitar blossomed from its constrained cocoon of traditional ’50s tone, emerging as a psychedelic modulating butterfly. Effects makers unleashed a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers…and fuzz like we’d never heard before! From Roland’s bowel-shifting Bee Baa to Fender’s soul-destroying Fender Blender, the guitar was armed for militant take over.  While most of these originals are as common as tan M&M's, their legacy lives on in our boutique pedal collection

 

 

print add circa 1961

Moog Music Inc.

As if gifted with advanced technology from a long-dead race of extra terrestrials, Moog graciously and wisely brought a sea change that forever changed the face of music. The accessible and intuitive Mini Moog, released in 1970, drove the stake in further still.  With this power comes great responsibility.  There is nothing in the world more helpless and irresponsible and depraved than a man in the depths of a synthesizer binge.

 

 

print add circa 1958

Fairchild 670 and Compression

Though invented in the decades prior, convincing engineers to invest in a $600 piece of gear in 1958 (over $5000 today) was a difficult sell. Go ahead and yawn, but nearly every album recorded after 1960 would not have been possible without The Fairchild 670 and the compressors that followed . Grace Slick’s whispery prophesies, John Lennon’s growling angst, you have the Fairchild to thank.  

 


print add circa 1969

Big-Ass Guitar Amps

While the crowds grew and egos swelled, the amplifiers followed suite. If your 1960s parents were unhappy with your Fender Champ disturbing their canasta game, the Marshall Super Lead was about to open a rift into Satan's powder room.  

 

print add circa 1971

Even Bigger Bass Amps

While guitarists were basking in their wall of sound, Ampeg Amplifiers responded with a huge display of force, with effects could be felt for generations to come.  

 The Ampeg SVT 300-watt Bass Amp and its towering 8x10 counterpart terrified the natives much like the black monolith in 2001 Space Odyssey. Thanks to improved speaker technology and the amp wattage arms-race Bass players were suddenly noticed, told to turn their amps down, and once again quickly ignored.

I'm sure we left a few things out. Let us know your favorite ’60s gear!

 


Brad Althouse
Brad Althouse

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