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The Year in Gear 2015

Our favorite guitars, basses, amps, effects, and accessories from the last 12 months.


Fender Stratocaster HSS Shawbucker

Given the near-perfection that’s the essence of the Stratocaster design, where do you turn for improvement? Well, if you’re among the players that find regular Strat pickups too quacky and clean, you’ll appreciate this variation from Fender design guru Tim Shaw. The Shawbucker—a throaty, full, midrangy and downright classy-sounding pickup—makes this a familiar yet spectacularly different Strat.
$1,299 street

Click here to read the full review

In the years we’ve compiled our annual list of Premier Gear Award winners, we’ve probably never seen a list more eclectic than 2015’s. From high-gain monster amps and atmospheric reverbs to mini overdrives and wahs, 2015’s award winners covered all the bases.

As always, it was a joy to see how both big-time musical instrument industry players and little shops a step removed from the garage managed to haul in Premier Guitar’s prize for gear excellence. And if anyone’s counting, we’re pretty sure we also set a record for Premier Gear Award winners. So we hope you’re comfy—this list of primo gear may take some time to cover.