12 Songs for 12 Strings

While the twelve string guitar has been around for over a century, its role as a foreground instrument only surfaced in relatively recent rock and roll history. Sure, the instrument was favored by the likes of early blues artists “Lead Belly” and “Blind Willie McTell” in the 1920’s and ’30s, but at that time the instrument would […]

Vegematic Guitars

1965 Hagstrom Impala

Vegematic Guitars By Michael Wright The Different Strummer   As with our old friend Nigel Tufnel, that more is better goes without saying.  Why play an amp at 10 when you could play at 11?  I’ve bought guitars just because they had 4 pickups.  And I’d for sure be interested in a guitar like this Hagstrom Impala […]

Hell On Wheels

1978 Travis Bean TB500

by Michael Wright The Different Strummer There are any number of things I associate with pickup trucks (from Handicaps to gun racks), and guitars aren’t one of them.  Yet—as anyone who’s followed the recent advertising battle between the Ford F-150 and its competitors—the two sometimes flirt with the use of aluminum to optimize performance.  Certainly […]

Roll Out the Barrel, And We’ll Have a Barrel of Fun!

1965 Avanti

By Michael Wright The Different Strummer   It’s curious how wildly tastes can swing in a relatively short period of time.  When, in the 1967 classic movie The Graduate, Murray Hamilton (Mr. Robinson) leans in to advise Dustin Hoffman (Benjamin Braddock) to consider a predictably successful future in “Plastics,” the very concept of “plastic” was […]

Five Guitar Techniques and the Players Who Made Them Famous


Most things in this world have gone through various changes or “evolutions” to get to how we know them today. When the wheel was invented, it’s not like Rolls-Royce launched their product line the next day – we just weren’t present during the time it took to move from “spinny stone circle” to “Phantom Coupé”. […]

Heeding the Siren Call

1982 Yamaha SC-600

by Michael Wright The Different Strummer   It’s odd that I never thought of things this way before but it was encountering Japanese guitars that started me on the road to writing guitar history.  It was probably more about coincidence—and me being cheap—than any sort of far-sighted strategy, maybe salted with a generous dash of […]

Fretless Wonder


By Michael Wright The Different Strummer Back in the early 1990s I did a few “guitar shows” for my son’s primary school classes, basically a show-n-tell with half a dozen guitars in various shapes and colors.  I’d conclude with “Swamp Thing,” the then-popular TV show theme adaptation of the Troggs’ classic. At the end, I’d ask […]

Bad Moon Rising

1982 Kawai MS-700 MoonSault CU

By Michael Wright The Different Strummer   I’ve always been a sucker for oddball guitars.  A LaBaye 2×4?  You bet!  A Bunker Astral Series Sunstar?  Yup!  A Jay Turser Shark?  O’Hagan Shark?  Of course.  So, when a chance to get a moon-shaped guitars beckoned, the call was irresistible.  Now, despite its hallowed place in the […]

Seat-backs straight. Prepare for Take-off.

1983 Modulus Graphite Flight 6 Monocoque

By Michael Wright The Different Strummer I never really warmed up to headless guitars.  Oh, they were really cool looking and there’s no denying Andy Summers had real style playing a Steinberger for The Police.  But I guess I’m old fashioned.  I need a head to keep me oriented.  Still, present me with something made […]

1987 Casio DG-20 Digital Guitar

1987 Casio DG-20

By Michael Wright The Different Strummer Blame it on disco.  I remember it well…as an observer, of course!  The excesses of early ‘70s hard rock inspired a vapid dance craze reaction toward the end of the decade with mirror balls and platform shoes and, well, you know, Studio 54, glitter spandex, and Donna Summer and […]