Relive all the guitar highlights from one of the longest-running U.S. festivals that celebrated its silver anniversary with sun, fun, and tunes.

Kurt Vile and the Violators’ Rob Laasko

Like his bandmate Jesse Trbovich, multi-instrumentalist Rob Laasko handles guitar, bass, and even dabbles with keyboards. On the left he’s seen with a B.C. Rich Eagle—a score he landed on the cheap because it didn’t have a bridge pickup and other head-scratching mods—and on the right he plays a white-turned-yellow Gibson Les Paul (with the wrong Bigsby vibrato) that he used on “Jesus Fever” and “Freak Train.” (Learn about all of Rob’s gear in our Rig Rundown with him and the other Violators.)

Can an entry-level modeler hang with the big dogs?

Excellent interface. Very portable. Nice modulation tones.

Some subpar low-gain dirt sounds. Could be a little more rugged.

$399

HeadRush MX5
headrushfx.com

3.5
4
4
4.5

The allure of portability and sonic consistency has become too much to ignore for some guitarists, making smaller digital modelers more appealing than ever.

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"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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