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Farees—seen here in the studio with his Danelectro 12-string—cut his teeth playing with iconic Tuareg group Tinariwen.

Photo by Rafaelle Serra

Bucking the “neocolonialism” of World Music, this guitar pluralist brings explosive scope and skill to Tuareg-rooted playing on his new album, which includes original Meters guitarist Leo Nocentelli.

Farees’ new album, Blindsight, opens with a blistering cover of “Hey Joe.” And although the guitarist is heavily influenced by Hendrix and delivers a nearly spot-on rendition of the iconic solo in the middle of the song, he’s really displeased by the comparisons being bandied about in attempts to describe his own guitar prowess.

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We've reviewed a ton of cool gear over the past 12 months, but these stood above the rest and won our coveted Premier Gear Award.

This year more than 40 guitars, basses, effects, and amps from a diverse group of gear makers earned the coveted Premier Gear Award from our discerning editors. Here is our gear of the year.

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A whimsically flipped and twisted Jag evolves into a minor classic on its own terms.

Slinky, fast playing feel. Balanced string-to-string response and output from pickups. High build quality. Great value. Show-stopping good looks.

Vibrato could be more tuning stable. Pickups can feel flattish in terms of headroom and dynamic response. Upper horn can be uncomfortable playing seated.

$429

Squier Paranormal Super-Sonic
fender.com

4
3.5
4.5
5

The 1990s marked a time when the eclectic electric guitar underground saw the sun again. When the punk/indie/art tidal wave that gathered momentum over the two previous decades finally crested and crashed, it didn't just smash guitar-rock templates. It also swept aside a collector mentality that regarded almost everything apart from a few pre-CBS Fenders and '50s Gibsons as junk. And by the time the big builders caught up to their newly liberated customer constituency, there were a lot of open-minded buyers willing to get weird.

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