It’s been harsh on many these past 12 months. Thinking of getting the electric guitar of your dreams? Here are a dozen of our favourites.
The electric guitar has had many iterations since it first became commercially available in the 1930s — and it’s definitely come a long way since the original ‘fry pan’ design made by Rickenbacker. Unlike the automotive industry, enthusiasts love retro-inspired and vintage re-issues as much as brand-new content!
Were you saving up for a new electric in 2020? Well, the world turned upside down and you needed to spend that money elsewhere. Now that touring is back on the agenda and fresh musical ideas are bursting from the seams, we’re going to take you through a fine selection of beauties, both old (aesthetically speaking) and new for 2021.
H.E.R. Fender Stratocaster
H.E.R just took out ‘Best Original Song’ at the Oscars with Fight For You. But did you know the multi-award-winning artist collaborated with Fender? In late 2020 the renowned instrument manufacturer delivered the first signature electric guitar for a woman of colour, the H.E.R Fender Stratocaster.
The H.E.R signature Strat has a stunning ‘chrome glow’ finish that sets it apart from other Stratocaster models. 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.
Notable features include a mid-’60s C shape neck for a thinner feel at the first fret and thicker at the twelfth and Fender Vintage Noiseless pickups, great for some great clean and slightly gritty tones.
Visit Fender to find out more.
Gibson Hendrix Signature Electric Guitars
Although guitar god Jimi Hendrix is unquestionably synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster, he also used Gibson electric guitars from time to time. In 2020 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 will also be released with a left-handed model. Only 25 of these lefties were made, and they’re exclusively hand-made in Nashville by expert luthiers.
Fender Ben Gibbard Mustang
The old-school controls have been removed, and a rotary switch for a pickup selector has been installed. It features a chambered ash body for more resonance and less weight, custom vintage-inspired pickups. Also features a reinspired innovative hardtail bridge for improved stability, intonation, and sustain.
Head to Fender for more info.
Epiphone Uptown Kat ES
The Epiphone Uptown Kat ES electric guitar was released in 2020 but has recently gone through some updates, including some flashy new colours. In a budget-friendly price range, Epiphone is giving you access to the closest thing to a Gibson archtop.
Featuring the recently designed ProBucker, this axe is made with a delicate blend of vintage and modern specs. It features a vintage sound that can fool the most precious of purists while giving you a transparent and crisp output. Other features include an ebony fingerboard, Graph Tech nut, and Grover tuners. It also comes in an array of shiny metallic colours.
Visit Epiphone for more.
Squier Classic Vibe Starcaster
The original Starcaster electric guitars of the ’70s were kind of a flop, but it was one of two models that Fender designed to break into the semi-hollow market. Gibson was dominating this market at the time with the 335 and similar models. But it continued to draw steady underground popularity with the right people spending big bucks on originals.
The Classic Vibe Starcaster has hit the right notes: a semi-hollow guitar at an affordable price point and a faithful recreation of the original design. The Classic Vibe Starcaster features wide range humbuckers, a vintage tint gloss neck, that gorgeous headstock contour and it’s all 100% Fender-designed.
Find out more at Fender.
Jared James Nichols Epiphone Gold Glory
Jared James Nichols, the blues-rock guitar maestro known for his raunchy tone and pickless playing, has once again teamed up with Gibson to release the Epiphone ‘Gold Glory’. It’s a limited edition gold-top version of his signature Epiphone Les Paul Custom, ‘Old Glory’.
Built around a full mahogany body, the ‘Gold Glory’ is a very simple guitar, featuring a single Seymour Duncan dog-eared P90, ebony fretboard with traditional block inlays, Grover Rotomatic tuners and an EpiLite hard-case, all brought together beautifully with its double-gold aged finish.
Visit Epiphone for all the details.
Gibson Adam Jones 1979 Les Paul Custom
Late last year, Gibson confirmed months of online speculation by announcing the release of the Adam Jones 1979 Les Paul Custom. The Tool guitarist’s custom electric guitar comes in two variations. The first is an identical replica of Jones’s own touring guitar, with all the exact blemishes recreated.
Notably featuring a Custombucker reverse mounted in the neck and a custom-wound Seymour Duncan DDJ in the bridge, for maximum Tool tone. Also features artwork by Jones on the back of the guitar, in the case, and that famous headstock mirror as an accessory.
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 we’ve seen in a while.
Visit Gibson for more details.
Danelectro sells the 64XT with the caption “Best tone of any 6 string we ever made”. Like many other popular Danelectro electric guitars, the 64XT features a reversed double cutaway offset horn shape. Could argue it’s a Mosrite copy at first glance.
The 64XT has the very distinct Dual Lipstick Humbucker Pair, pickup in the bridge, and a larger single-coil pickup in the neck. Other features include a coil tap for the bridge and a Wilkinson tremolo.
This is another unique, retro release from a consistently quirky guitar manufacturer, visit Danelectro to find out more.
Fender American II Professional Jazzmaster
The Jazzmaster was made famous by artists like My Bloody Valentine, Elvis Costello, and Sonic Youth just to name a few. Its dashing good (offset) looks won hearts amongst indie players looking for something different in the 90s.
This deluxe version of a Fender classic has all the iconic Jazzmaster bits. Notable features include a satin-finished neck and a new neck heel for improved comfort. The new V-Mod II pickups being more articulate than ever and still retaining that sparkle and chime. Tone knob in the lead circuit and you have access to two voicings of the bridge pickup, new and warm to vintage and sparkly.
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
Gretsch is world-renowned for some of the most striking electric guitars of the 20th century. 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 the simple, classic Gretsch shape and sound, 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. A mahogany solid body gives the Troublemaker a serious amount of mid-range growl. Looking forward to its bound mahogany 12-inch radius neck. A stunning 22 medium-jumbo frets on an ebony fingerboard guarantee a smooth playing experience.
Featuring a custom calibrated double tap pickup set, adjust-o-matic bridge, and a custom neck plate. 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.
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 features an incredible custom floral artwork on the butt of the guitar as well as the back. It has a 15-inch, semi-hollow body with a satin walnut stain finish for acoustic warmth. Strapped with Seymour Duncan this limited-edition instrument has surely excited The Grateful Dead’s incredibly devoted fanbase.
Visit D’Angelico to find out more.