The Gear Turning "Vintage" in 2022

A new year brings with it new music projects and plans. If your holiday season was fruitful, maybe it has even brought you some brand-new gear. But it also brings a new distinction to old favorites, those decades-old instruments that are now—or will soon be—turning vintage.

While "vintage" as a term doesn't have a strict definition, any instrument 30 years old or older can count. That means any music gear that was new in 1992 will be newly vintage this year. So what are some of the samplers, amps, and guitars you can call "vintage" for the very first time?

Ensoniq ASR-10

Ensoniq ASR-10

Alongside Akai's MPC series, Ensoniq's ASR-10 proved to be a monumental development in the idea of the sampling workstation. The Advanced Sampling Recorder lived up to its name, combining 16-bit sampling with the synth and sequencing architecture of the ESQ-1.

For many, it was a centerpiece of hip-hop and dance music production rigs, and some stick with it to this day. The list of famous users is too vast to list in full but includes Timbaland, The Neptunes, No ID, Prince Paul, Kanye West, Autechre, and Daft Punk. (The ASR-10 Rackmount module will also be turning vintage this year.)

Mesa-Boogie Dual and Triple Rectifiers

Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier
Mesa-Boogie Triple Rectifier, photo by private seller.

Would it be an overstatement to say that when alt-rock ruled the airwaves, Mesa-Boogie's Rectifier amps ruled alt-rock? Released in 1992, the Dual Rectifier (100 watts) and Triple Rectifier (150 watts) heads became dominant fixtures in all manner of loud and heavy music scenes—from chart-topping hard rock to nu-metal to SoCal punk. Incubus, Creed, Korn, Limp Bizkit, Foo Fighters (at the time), Tool, and many others rocked the Rectifier, with the heads' front metal grills shining under stage lights everywhere.

EVH 5150 Amps

Peavey EVH 5150

Eddie Van Halen's 5150 amps have become an institution. Now made under the EVH brand, 5150s come in many shapes and sizes, from 15-watt lunchboxes to full-sized 100-watt heads to variously configured combos. The very first EVH 5150s—released by Peavey in 1992 and designed by the company's lead amp engineer, James Brown—are turning vintage this year.

Much like the 5150 Iconic series amps launched in 2021, the original 5150s were meant to give everyday players the sound of their hero at a price they could afford.

Fender SRV Stratocaster

Fender SRV Stratocaster

The first Stevie Ray Vaughan Signature Stratocaster was a posthumous affair, released to the public in 1992 after the legendary guitarist's death in 1990. However, Stevie had been working with Fender on the features—including what is now the iconic "SRV" lettering on the pickguard.

A 1992 Los Angeles Times article on that year's January NAMM convention called the unveiling an "emotional tribute," where brother Jimmie Vaughan, Buddy Guy, James Burton, and others honored Stevie. With the SRV signature being built to Stevie's specifications, Jimmie said, "The only thing you could do to make it more original is drag it behind a car for about a year. Otherwise it’s perfect."

Gibson SG '61 Reissue

Gibson SG '61 Reissue

Because guitarists and guitar makers both revere the Golden Age electrics of the '50s and '60s—and have for many decades—we are now firmly in an age when even the reissues of those classics are themselves turning vintage. Such is the case with Gibson's SG '61 Reissue.

Following the very similar '62 Reissue (otherwise known as the SG-62), production of the '61s began in 1991 and continued without interruption until 2013. Like the very first SGs (which were still called Les Pauls in 1961 and experimented with various features), there have been some changes to the '61 Reissue over the years. But it has remained a perennial favorite. Since 2013, the '61 Reissue itself has continued in various forms and now takes the shape of the SG Standard '61 in Gibson's current lineup.

Honorable Mentions

  • Waldorf Wave: A behemoth wavetable synthesizer, the Wave is a 16- to 48-voice monster whose expansive cost (and sheer expanse) made it unreachable for most synthesists in 1992. A rarity in today's "vintage" market, they're now even more expensive.

  • Alesis ADAT: We mentioned the ADAT in last year's roundup, as it was announced at 1991 Winter NAMM. But as with many NAMM announcements, the first release date turned out to be a little too ambitious, with the game-changing multitrack recorders becoming available near the end of 1992.

  • Sovtek MIG 100: In 1992, EHX's Mike Matthews was deep in his Russian manufacturing phase. He brought the Sovtek MIG 100 tube-powered head to market in 1992 at just $359, a price "for the proletariat."

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