Ten of the most intriguing stomp stations from our last year of Rig Rundowns, including Warpaint, Mr. Big, J Mascis, the Fall of Troy, Eric Gales, Silversun Pickups' Nikki Monninger, and Primus' Larry LaLonde.

Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis

Dinosaur Jr. frontman J Mascis sported a hefty board way back in our 2012 Rig Rundown shoot, and in our more recent visit with him we found that he continues to rely on a bevy of pedals controlled by a Bob Bradshaw-built Custom Audio Electronics (CAE) switcher. Standout stomps include a combo pedal (bottom right corner-in a new enclosure since our 2012 video) made by Built to Spill's Jim Roth. One side is a clone of a ToneBender MkI, and the other apes a Rangemaster. Mascis also brought along his first Electro-Harmonix "Ram's Head" Big Muff (top right), an EHX Electric Mistress, an MC-FX clone of a Univox Super-Fuzz, a CAE Twin Tremolo (upper left), and a ZVEX Double Rock (two Box of Rocks in one, bottom left). Other differences between our latest and the previous Rig Rundown include a newer Tube Works Real Tube Overdrive, a Moog MF Delay, an Ibanez Analog Delay Mini, and a Boss TU-3S Tuner. An MXR/CAE MC403 Power System and an MXR M238 Iso-Brick supply the juice.

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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