gear award 2022

Ola Englund’s merry band of guitar builders serve up an affordable shred gem.

A killer, ultra-playable guitar with top components at a nice price.

The EverTune bridge and Fluence Modern pickups are very niche-specific components that could turn some players off.

$1.349

Solar GC1.6AFAB
solar-guitars.com

5
4.5
4.5
4.5

Ola Englund, YouTube sensation and guitarist for the Haunted and Feared, started Solar Guitars, his own line of high-quality instruments, in 2017. The company is based in Sant Gregori, Spain, and their guitars are made in Indonesia. But as the marvelously decked-out GC1.6AFAB reviewed here reveals, this collaborative formula is yielding killer results at relatively affordable prices.

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Shredding on a hardtail? This Schecter will show you the light.

Gorgeous, unusual tonewoods. Versatile pickups and switching. Fast, comfortable playability.

A case or gig bag would be nice at this price.

$1,249

Schecter Sun Valley Super Shredder Exotic Hardtail Black Limba
schecterguitars.com

5
4.5
4.5
4

David Schecter started Schecter Guitar Research in 1976. In the beginning, the company did repairs and sold parts in their Van Nuys, California, shop (much like their contemporaries, Charvel). But Schecter quickly developed a solid reputation among SoCal players and started selling complete guitars in 1979.

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UA enters the entry-level interface fray with a stylish unit that includes a track-transforming compressor and preamp.

Beautiful design. Fun to use. The 76 compressor is a true tone sweetener. Elevates quality of raw tracks without burdening host computer processor or involving extra effects.

More expensive than roughly equivalent competition.

$299

Universal Audio Volt 276
uaudio.com

4.5
5
5
4

Generally speaking, audio interfaces are tools we prefer not to think about too much. Even powerful interfaces like Universal Audio’s Apollo Twin are made as streamlined as possible, so you can focus on the tracking, editing, and mixing that goes on inside your DAW.

To date, Universal Audio has largely steered clear of the lower-priced side of the interface spectrum, focusing instead on the more professional-grade end of the production equation and leaving the entry-level business to companies like Focusrite, PreSonus and others. UA’s Volt series of interfaces, which range from the $139 1-in/2-out Volt 1 to the $369 4-in/4-out Volt 476 mark a change in that strategy

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