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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.


Taylor T5z
The cult of the T5 may not be growing quite as fast as Bob Taylor hoped, but the model’s ranks of loyalists are bound to feel vindicated by the new T5z, which refines the instrument as an electric guitar without sacrificing an ounce of its switch-hitting, amplified-acoustic potential. Reviewer Adam Perlmutter loved its ability to deliver Telecaster- and Stratocaster-like tones colored with a unique, woody air. He also dug its versatile, feedback-resistant acoustic tones. But it was the flawless build and silky playability that put the T5z over the top.

$2,999 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.