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Bruno Custom Amps
Bruno Custom Amps
Cow Tipper Pro II 90 amp, $12,500; and and Pensa MK 1 guitar, $9,500

These award-winning amps may have a retro, 1960s look, but inside they're pure 21st-century sound technology.

Handmade in small batches by Tony Bruno -- a.k.a. "The Amp Guru" -- at his Cairo, N.Y., store (he produces between 80 and 100 amps a year), these artisanal amps have baffles made from 13-ply Baltic birch (a stronger and much tighter grain than traditional woods), yielding a clean, smooth sound.

Pensa Custom Guitars

Rudy Pensa has been crafting guitars in his Manhattan shop for more than 30 years, including his signature Pensa MK. In 1985 Dire Straits guitarist Mark Knopfler told Pensa he wanted an ax with the sleek design of a Fender and the fat sound of a Gibson. The two sketched a design on a napkin, and the MK -- with high-end touches such as a Brazilian rosewood fretboard -- was born.

"I use high-quality materials," says Pensa. "They cost more, but I don't care. I just want to make great guitars."


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