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Electric guitars: check out the 10 best new axes of 2020

From electric guitars that don’t need picking to axes that smashed glass ceilings, check out the best electric guitars released in 2020.

Despite existing for over 70 years, the electric guitar is still constantly reimagined in the pursuit of perfection. Guitar manufacturers never stop putting out new electric guitars and it seems that we guitarists can never get enough.

There are ostensibly endless ways to interpret the beloved electric guitar. Every year sees entirely new models released, re-releases of old favourites and manufacturers collaborating with artists to produce signature guitars, along with those who think outside the box with wacky and weird inventions. Here is the best that 2020 had to offer.

Hendrix Flying V

Gibson Jimi Hendrix 1967 SG Custom and Jimi Hendrix 1969 Flying V Collection

Although guitar god Jimi Hendrix is unquestionably synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster, he also used Gibson guitars from time to time. Just recently, Gibson announced a signature collection of the two Gibson models that Hendrix preferred to use live: the Flying V and SG Custom.

Both guitars feature mahogany bodies and necks, with aged gold hardware. Since Hendrix was a lefty, the Flying V collection is being released with both right and left-handed models.

Visit Gibson for more details.

Gibson Adam Jones 1979 Les Paul Custom

In October, Gibson confirmed months of online speculation by announcing the release of the Adam Jones 1979 Les Paul Custom. The Tool guitarist’s Custom guitar comes in two variations. The first is an identical replica of Jones’s own touring guitar, with all the exact blemishes recreated. The other is a VOS replica.

A seven-minute-long video and song called The Witness were released to accompany the launch of the guitar. Jones’ Tool bandmates Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey contributed to the project so it’s the closest thing to new Tool music in 2020.

Visit Gibson for more details.

The Circle Guitar

The Circle Guitar from London based builder Anthony Dickens is arguably the most inventive new guitar of 2020. It took over two years to make and is based around a mechanical step sequencer to strike the strings instead of the human hand. Jones believes the lack of human touch allows a range of sounds, textures and rhythms that would be “impossible with a conventional electric guitar”. 

The sequencer can go up to 250 bpm and players can code the circle themselves, meaning the guitarist has complete creative control over the playing experience. Currently, only a prototype has been made so the Circle Guitar is not yet commercially available.

Epiphone ‘Tommy Thayer’ Electric Blue Les Paul

This is the fourth signature Epiphone guitar from legendary KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer. The sparkling electric blue finish is undoubtedly on-brand for the glam rocker (even its custom hard case is blue).

It comes with Seymour Duncan humbuckers and a chrome finished pickup. Since Tommy Thayer is nicknamed ‘the Spaceman’ there’s a spaceman logo included on the back of the headstock (now that’s some serious customisation).

Visit Epiphone to find out more.

Danelectro 64XT

Danelectro boldly claim that the 64XT has “the best tone of any 6 string we have ever made”. Like many other popular Danelectro guitars, the 64XT features a reversed double cutaway offset horn shape.

The 64XT has a very distinct double lipstick pickup in the bridge and a larger single-coil pickup in the neck. This is another unique, retro release from a consistently quirky guitar manufacturer.

Visit Danelectro to find out more.

Fender American Professional Jazzmaster

This is a deluxe version of a Fender classic. It has all the iconic Jazzmaster features, such as the rhythm circuit, ergonomic design and Deep C neck shape.

It also comes with a Panorama tremolo system, an enhanced upgrade to the Jazzmaster’s revolutionary tremolo. With the American Professional II, Fender found ways to improve a sixty-year-old model while still remaining true to its original character.

Visit Fender to find out more.

Gretsch G2210 Streamliner Junior Jet Club

The latest addition to Gretsch’s Streamline collection, the Junior Jet Club is a stripped back, bare-bones guitar that packs some serious punch. It has a simple, classic shape and is powered by Broad ‘Tron humbucker pickups.

The Streamliner comes in several stylish finishes, including Imperial Stain, gold-dust and gold metal. It’s also worth noting that the Streamliner comes at a very affordable price, bringing the glamour of Gretsch to a new audience.

Visit Gretsch to find out more.

Fender Parallel Universe Vol II Troublemaker Telecaster Deluxe

Fender Parallel Universe Vol II Troublemaker Telecaster Deluxe lives up to its name. Its mahogany solid body gives the Troublemaker a serious amount of bite. However, its 12″ radius neck and 22 medium-jumbo frets guarantee its a smooth playing experience.

It comes in a bold Olympic White finish with classy gold hardware. This guitar is the perfect combination of rowdy and refined.

Visit Fender to find out more.

H.E.R. Fender Stratocaster

Fender and Grammy award-winning youngster H.E.R have come together to deliver Fender’s first signature for a black female artist, the signature H.E.R Fender Stratocaster. It is part of a concerted effort by Fender to release more signature guitars with female artists, such as the recently released Billie Eilish signature ukulele.

The H.E.R signature Strat has a stunning chrome glow finish that sets it apart from other Stratocaster models. There is also a mid 60’s C shape neck and vintage noiseless pickups.

Visit Fender to find out more.

D’Angelico Grateful Dead SS

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of The Grateful Dead‘s classic folk-rock album American Beauty, D’Angelico unveiled the Premier Grateful Dead SS. Like all the instruments from the New York boutique, it is of exceptional quality.

It comes in a warm satin walnut finish and has a 15-inch, semi-hollow body. This limited-edition axe has surely excited The Grateful Dead’s incredibly devoted fanbase.

Visit D’Angelico to find out more.