ToneQuest Report: October 2022 – Vol. 23, No. 12


In our exciting October 2022 Issue, we interview Tom Bukovac and talk Gretsch amps, and more!

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What's Inside This Issue:

Tom Bukovac Interview – Tom Bukovac is a salt of the earth, straight shootin’ guitar player’s musician and his session work graces well north of a thousand recordings. Over the years he has been on the road with Joe Walsh and John Fogerty. These days you may see him as a member of Ann Wilson’s band. His Homeskoolin’ YouTube Channel started as somewhat a joke and something to do during the forced downtime. At their core, Homeskoolin’ episodes are packed with beautiful playing, and interesting dialogue. Occasionally, we join Tom in the studio for a bird’s eye view of live footage or sidebar conversation about lessons learned amongst the studio players. The glimpses we present in TQ are unique and delivered with candor and intimacy.

Mr. Valco On The Gretsch 6161 Amp – We couldn’t help but dig deeper into one of Tom Bukovac’s go-to tones. It’s obvious Tom is a tone obsessed player whose joy is infectious and his choice to use the old Valco made Gretsch in his YouTube rig rundown is worthy of note. Our Indiana wild thing Mr. Valco (Terry Dobbs) was the only brutha we know who could give us the supreme rabbit hole lowdown on that late ‘50s Gretsch amp. Listen close, as Terry takes us through the common features of the Valcos, his baffle and output transformer conversions in the early model one channel Gretsch 6161 and Oahu 415K, and speaker mods… there is over forty years of amp wisdom from the man himself.

James Mastro Feature Interview – Imagine being a seventeen-year-old kid in high school who is smitten with the guitar, and Richard Lloyd from the band Television leaves a phone message with your mom to call him. From there things get even more rowdy, as you hit the road on weekends and one day thinking of giving your dog publishing rights and owning guitar stores all while you still tour. In the ‘80s Mastro honed his guitar songwriting skills while playing with the Bongos and contributed to launching the music scene at the legendary rock club Maxwells. He formed the Health & Happiness Show in the early ‘90s. James has performed with Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter and has played and recorded with Patti Smith, John Cale, the Jayhawks, Phoebe Snow, Butch Hancock, Garland Jeffries and others. He owns Guitar Bar and has been helping musicians in the quest for tone for twenty-five years. Welcome James Mastro to our TQ Advisory Board.

Magnatone Starlite Review – As a self-professed die-hard Magnatone fan, we put James Mastro right to work with a review of Ted Kornblum’s new and smallest amp the Magnatone Starlite to get his unique take on it. A few days after receiving the amp, he is called for guitar work on a recording session for his British friends Edward Rogers and Amanda Thorpe. The songs ranged from Velvet underground-style rockers to a ballad that starts as a whisper and ends with a scream. James figures this would be a great way to spend some quality time with the Starlite, putting it through its paces and stacking it up against some great studio in-house amps, a vintage Fender Deluxe Reverb, a couple of Supros, and other makes on stand-by if the Starlite, a simple Class A 5-watt combo amp wasn’t cutting it… at the end of the day James reveals how well the Starlite was able to adapt to each song’s needs.

The English Gold Bar – All of those fancy overpriced sunburst flametops are so cute, hip and trendy, but our hearts have always been game to wrap our arms around a goldtop any chance we get. We went on a bit of a goldy bender scrolling the cyber world, looking for a beater to start, we chanced upon an aged Epiphone Les Paul in a small town in England for $506 bucks. A quick flurry of questions to get the lowdown and the next thing you know, minus the couple hundred for shipping across the Atlantic Ocean, we had a goldtop with case on the way. We put a shout out to Dwight Devereaux, TonePros to maximize the guitar’s natural signal. In the meantime, we caught up with Jon Black to get his heart and soul story about how he turned a hobby into a business.