silvertone

These 1966 "Speed Bump" pickups appeared on Kay and other private-label instruments.

Our columnist ponders the evolution of private-label guitar manufacturing.

Tribal alliances are a big part of American life. Football fans at tailgate parties paint their faces and dance around the barbecue grill like Vikings revving up for a raid. Dad-buddy elders recount the legends of past glories to their daughters and sons, passing on the oral history of rising from defeat to ultimately lifting the trophy. It's all about the brand. The truth of the matter is that the team the kids will worship is not the team of their ancestors. The players are different, the coaches are new, the team has been sold and moved—maybe twice. We all want to belong, and everyone loves a good story, but what actually makes an authentic brand?

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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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