Top 10 First Looks of 2020

A shit year didn't mean shit gear—here's our most-popular gear demos featuring fresh pieces from Epiphone, Fender, Suhr, EHX, MXR, and others.

10. Guild X-175 Manhattan Special

Thanks to its DeArmond Dynasonic pickups, true hollowbody tone delights await in this classy and handsomely styled 6-string that won't break the bank.

Click to read the review.


9. Fender Brent Mason Telecaster

B-bender, mini-bucker, and copious switching options make this session master's signature Telecaster a twanging tone chameleon.

8. Electro-Harmonix 5MM

Check out the big amp tones from a little box that won't bust your eardrums (or your bankroll).

Click to read the review.


7. Fender Player Duo-Sonic

A streamlined, short-scale solidbody that spans Stratocaster tones and Telecaster simplicity.

6. Electro-Harmonix Ram's Head Big Muff

From Gilmour to Mascis, the mighty Ram's Head has always represented the pinnacle of Muffery. Now this econo version delivers the goods for a fraction of the vintage-madness price.

Click to read the review.


5. MXR Timmy Drive

Paul Cochrane teams with MXR to build a tiny and accessibly priced take on his ultra-legendary overdrive.

4. EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath

Guitar phenom ​Yvette Young tap dances around the ethereal, ambient, cavernous world of EQD's latest reverb.

Click to read the review.


3. Suhr Hombre

Sweet simplicity meets tasty tremolo in a brownface-inspired tone machine.

Click to read the review.


2. Fender American Professional II Stratocaster

The world’s most iconic electric evolves again—this time with a roasted pine body, contoured heel, rolled fretboard edges, and more articulate pickups.

1. Epiphone Joe Bonamassa 1960 Les Paul Standard "Norm Burst"

Fat tones, fast neck, and scads of vintage Les Paul vibe at an easy-to-own price.

Click to read the review.


Kemper Profiler Stage, Nueral DSP Quad Cortex & Line 6 HX Stomp (clockwise from top)

A deep dive into faux amps, futuristic setups, and how to use modern technology’s powers for good.

The jump between analog and digital gear has never been more manageable. It no longer takes a rack full of outboard gear with a six-figure price tag to help realize not only the tone you have in your head, but the expansive workflows that started to pop up in the early ’80s. We’re now about a decade into the modern era of digital modelers and profilers and it seems like the technology has finally come into its own. “This is really the first time in a while where you can have bar bands playing the exactsame gear as stadium acts,” says Cooper Carter, a Fractal Audio Systems production consultant who has done sound design and rig building for Neal Schon, James Valentine, John Petrucci, and others.

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Master builder Dennis Galuszka recreates the legendary "Chicago" guitarist's legacy with a collectible, limited run guitar.

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