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Classy design extras, ultra-buttery playability, and sweet, growling pickups distinguish this excellent ES alternative.

Faultless construction. Very nice PAF-style tones. Exceptional playability. Beautiful visual presence and cool vibe. Comes with a hard case.

The extra 200 bucks you’ll pay over the price of a more modest Epiphone ES-335 might be too much for practical players.

$899

Epiphone Noel Gallagher Riviera
epiphone.com

4.5
5
5
4

Whatever your opinion of Oasis—and they have a way of engendering opinions—there’s little arguing that Noel Gallagher has an ear for a tune. And like many contemporary British indie guitarists and forebears like his hero, Johnny Marr, Gallagher also understands the romantic and iconographic power of a great tune played on a classic guitar—particularly as a means of asserting difference from the pop and hair metal tribes that came before.

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Rig Rundown: Ariel Posen [2023]

The silky smooth slide man may raise a few eyebrows with his gear—a hollow, steel-bodied baritone and .017s on a Jazzmaster—but every note and tone he plays sounds just right.

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The guitar universe gathered momentum in a big way in 2022—which is easy to see in this year’s wildly diverse parade of Premier Gear Award winners.

Here's a look at 2022’s most notable new guitars, amps, effects, and accessories, reviewed by our editors and writers:

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CuNiFe-driven Wide Range pickups and a 7.25" fretboard radius make this the most period-correct Thinline since the original.

Awesome, alive, and individual Wide Range pickup sounds. Great neck. A 7.25" fretboard radius. Light weight. Period-authentic 1 meg pots.

Taper on 1 meg pots not very nuanced. Less-than-plentiful ash supplies could mean odd grain matches on natural-finish guitars.

$2,399

Fender American Vintage II '72 Thinline Telecaster
fender.com

5
4
5
4

In the 50 years since their big, chrome covers first reflected a hot stage light, Fender’s Seth Lover-designed Wide Range humbuckers have gone from maligned to revered. The guitars built around Wide Range pickups are legends in their own right, too. Keith Richards’ Telecaster Custom is synonymous with the Stones dynamic and adventurous late-70s-to-early-80s period. Scores of punk and indie guitarists made the Telecaster Deluxe a fixture of those scenes. And Jonny Greenwood almost singlehandedly elevated the Starcaster from a curiosity to an object of collector lust. The fourth member of the Wide Range-based guitar family, the ’72 Telecaster Thinline, lived a comparatively low-profile life. Yet it is a practical, streamlined, uniquely stylish, and multifaceted instrument with a truly original voice—qualities that are plain to see, feel, and hear in this new American Vintage II incarnation.

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A supreme shredder’s signature 6-string dazzles with versatility.

This immaculately built guitar sounds great and can do it all.

The more affordable price is still out of reach for many guitarists

$2,799

Charvel MJ San Dimas SD24 CM
charvel.com

5
5
4.5
4.5

Charvel’s first Guthrie Govan signature model was released in 2014, after an arduous two-year effort to get the design just right. Since then, the guitar—now in its second edition—has become one of Charvel’s most coveted models. Unfortunately, its $3,699 price keeps the U.S.-made axe out of reach for many.

This year, though, the company released the Made-in-Japan signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM, which sells for a slightly more manageable $2,799. Needless to say, that’s not cheap. But depending on your priorities, it’s a fair price for a very high quality, pro-level instrument.

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