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2008 Premier Gear Awards


While we played more great gear than anyone really has a right to ask for, some of the things we reviewed were just so “over the top,” “beyond the beyond,” or “off the hook” in their craftsmanship, attention to detail as well as their artfulness, we just can’t describe them without prepositional phrases like these. Suffice to say, these items will elicit double-takes when taken onstage. For the gear whose tone and build quality was matched only by its inspiring artistry, here is our Premier Gear Artisan Award.
Brown’s Guitar Factory BGF Guitar Brown’s Guitar Factory BGF Guitar

The first guitar from a bass maker could’ve won the Branching Out award, but the exquisite shimmer of the koa top and headstock faceplate placed the guitar solidly in the artisan category. The BGF features a shape that will stand out on stage, and a pickup configuration that allows for endless tones from humbucker to single coil to piezo and onboard ghost preamp and any endless combinations of those. Reviewer Brett Petrusek said [April ‘08], “Brown’s BGF Chambered Guitar provides a great range of tones to pull the player through the most demanding of musical situations, and the craftsmanship is top-notch.”

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Xits Piper X30

Often, spicing up an amp consists of a new color of tolex. This is not the case with Xits. The Piper X30 combines stunning woven vinyl and exotic hardwoods for a beauty of an amp. The artistry extends to less visible places—ebony on the backplate, finished wood inside—and to the crafting of the amp’s AC30-inspired tone. Thick, loud and articulate, both channels are stunners.

“…a handmade amp of unsurpassed quality, exceptional good looks, and astounding tone.” – October ’08, online
Xits Piper X30
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Zemaitis Tribal Tattoo Guitar Zemaitis Tribal Tattoo Guitar

We could stare at Zemaitis’ intricate engraving for hours, and everything about the guitar—from the looks to the sound to the price—makes a statement. With a metal top engraved by Zemaitis’ long-time engraver Danny O’Brien, the single-cut Tribal Tattoo excels in its clean tones. As reviewer Adam Hunt put it [September ‘08], “In terms of playability, tone and ergonomics, the Tribal Tattoo is a top-tier guitar that anyone would be proud to add to their collection.”

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Remember to check out our full list of top rated gear from 2008, only on

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