Chicago’s three-day, punk-rock carnival was host to Slayer, Jawbreaker, Raconteurs, Patti Smith, Rise Against, Bob Mould, Rancid, Bikini Kill, Lucero, the Struts, and more. Here are our favorite guitar-related moments from the 15th annual gathering.


Lucero’s Ben Nichols

Quite possibly the man who writes the saddest songs at Riot Fest kicked his feet up and had a helluva good time with his dancing partner—an Epiphone Sheraton II. In our 2015 Rig Rundown, we found out that: “At the end of the day, Nichols appreciates how it sounds, how it plays, and that if something ever were to happen to it, he could go to a local guitar store and replace it without taking out a loan. He actually records with the Sheraton II rather than the higher-end, fancier cousin ES-335. Like Venable, he uses Ernie Ball Slinkys .011–.048 strings.”

Fender’s American Vintage II Series

For these new recreations, Fender focuses on the little things that make original golden-era Fenders objects of obsession.

If there’s one thing players love more than new guitars, it’s old guitars—the unique feel, the design idiosyncrasies, the quirks in finish that all came from the pre-CNC era of instrument manufacturing. These characteristics become the stuff of legend, passed on through the years via rumors and anecdotes in shops, forums, and community networks.

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The Red Sea was born out of the vision to provide complex signal routing options available to the live/performing musician, that up until now, are only found in a studio mixing environment.

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Stardust V3 was designed to capture the sound and response of 3 distinct amplifier models.

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The Sunn O))) Life Pedal circuit has been meticulously tweaked from the original and includes a third footswitch.

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