An easy-to-use multi-head octave echo with solid foundational delay tones and weirdness on tap.

Deceptively deep but easy to use. Great for every day delay tones and deep freakouts.

Glitch and warp settings could get same-y over time.

$209

SolidGoldFX EM-III Multi-Head Octave Echo
solidgoldfx.com

4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5

The EM-III from SolidGoldFX starts with a foundation of warm, analog-like digital delay and builds a bevy of functionality on top. It's a powerful pedal, and thanks to a simple and well-considered set of controls, it's intuitive and practical too.


The basic delay sound is easily controlled via time, repeat, and level controls, while flutter and color knobs allow users to tweak modulation and tone settings. Switching the center toggle to the left selects up to three delay heads; switching to the right activates the pedal's octave-down setting. With these controls, it's easy to access solid, foundational delay tones or head for totally twisted, but controlled, sonic space.

The self-oscillation and tape-snap sounds should be considered a requirement for any "Maggot Brain" cover you have in the works.

The EM-III's secret personality is unleashed by holding down the bypass and tap switches, which have secondary functionality for glitch and warp respectively. The self-oscillation and tape-snap sounds contained in these switches can be as weird or as subtle as you want, depending on how long you hold them down, and should be considered a requirement for any "Maggot Brain" cover you have in the works. The EM-III is a heavy hitter with a heart of gold, tons of personality, and all the warbly bliss you can imagine.

SolidGoldFX EM-III Multi-Head Octave Echo Demo - First Look

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.

Read More Show less

"'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.

Read More Show less
x