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

TC Electronic

TC Electronic PolyTune 2 Mini

TC’s polyphonic PolyTune was a hit from its first iteration. The ease—and the sense of reassurance that comes from determining which strings are sharp or flat with a single strum—made it super practical in real-world performance situations. This even smaller version makes it even more utilitarian. It’s an elegant, simple tool and a shoo-in for a Premier Gear Award.
$89 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.

A respected luthier’s take on the classic J-style recipe—with added modern flavor.

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Brubaker Musical Instruments has a reputation for exotic woods, innovative designs, and high-quality builds.

Brubaker Musical Instruments has a reputation for exotic woods, innovative designs, and high-quality builds. Kevin Brubaker has been making handmade, custom basses and guitars since 1997, and his custom basses are endorsed by a number of heavy-hitting players. Three years ago, Brubaker began working on the import Brute series, which aimed to offer many of the features of his handcrafted KXB and NBS series basses at a price that’s more accessible to the greater bassist community. These instruments are available as both 4- and 5-string models, with MJX or JJX pickup configurations, and here we take a look at the Brute JJX-4.

A Lasting First impression
The Brute JJX-4 arrived in a sturdy hardshell case with a nicely padded handle that makes transporting the instrument surprisingly pleasant. Opening the case, I found a svelte instrument with a gloss finish over a basswood body, a satin-finished neck, and a unique and quite attractive flamed-maple pickguard.

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