jim hall

Photo by Ryan Paternite

The father of modern jazz guitar influenced generations of musicians with beauty, grace, and a commanding authenticity.

Every time Jim Hall opened his case there was a sticker inside the lid that reminded him of his mantra. “Make musical sense.” Hall died in his sleep on December 10, 2013, at the age of 83. His contributions to guitar—both as a player and composer—elevated the instrument and made a deep and lasting impression on the musical world.

At times, Hall could be both elegant and angular with his approach but he never stopped searching for the next sound. Much in the mold of Hendrix, Michael Hedges, and Les Paul, Hall was an innovator who stretched, bent, and pushed the boundaries of modern jazz guitar and created a uniquely soulful language all his own. His approach to harmony, comping, and rhythm was groundbreaking and his landmark album with saxophonist Sonny Rollins, The Bridge, is a classic example of this.

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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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Emily Wolfe lets loose, with an Epiphone Sheraton around her shoulders. Her signature Sheraton Stealth was released in 2021. "The guitar is the perfect frequency range for my soul," she says.

Photo by Brittany Durdin

The rising guitar star blends classic and stoner rock, Motown, and more influences with modern pop flourishes in songs replete with fat, fuzzy, fizzy tones from her new Epiphone Sheraton signature.

For so many artists, the return of live shows means the return of the thrill of performing, much-needed income, and, in a way, purpose. The third definitely goes for guitarist Emily Wolfe, who, when asked about her goals, immediately responds, "I just want to play arenas every night for the rest of my life. When I go up there, something could hit me at any point—an emotion that I felt 10 years ago could come out in a bend on the low E."

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