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Hordes of great guitars, basses, amps, stompboxes, and accessories came through our doors this year, but these specimens caught our eyes, ears, and wallets with their exceptional performance, tone, and value.


Blackstar LT Drive and LT Metal (January)
Blackstar’s LT pedals were built to be accessibly priced. But it’s their combination of value and sonic potency that made the LT Drive and LT Metal pedals award winners. Reviewer Joe Charupakorn said of the LT Drive, “there’s not much it can’t do short of extreme metal. It’s a great all-purpose dirt pedal that can rise to many occasions.” And of the LT Metal he said, “it can cover everything on the gain spectrum from classic rock to fusion to ’80s metal to djent.”

LT Drive $79 street, LT Metal $99 street,

A year’s worth of gear at Premier Guitar adds up to a whole lot of wood, wire, silicon, germanium, aluminum, and steel. It also makes up a whole universe of musical possibilities, which is what strikes us as we look back on the Premier Gear Award winners for 2014. From luxurious acoustics to ridiculously buttery-sounding amps and furiously frantic vintage-style fuzzes, there are almost infinite sounds to be extracted from this roster of favorites.

As always, you’ll see the full spectrum of manufacturers represented, too—from garage circuit tweakers to industry giants. And apart from the beautiful sounds that you’re likely to extract from these instruments of expression, that diversity among builders might be the thing that makes this industry so fun and special. We all share the joy, ecstasy, emotion, and rush of creation that music brings. And from these 43 award-winning guitars, pedals, amps, audio interfaces, and accessories, we expect y’all will brew up more than a little magic in the years to come. Happy music making, and enjoy the ride.