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Top 10 First Looks of 2022

Sure, perennial big hitters like Gibson, Fender, PRS, and MXR dazzled with fresh offerings, but one surprising stunner earned the most clicks.

10. Warm Audio Centavo & Warmdrive

John Bohlinger

The vintage-style gear specialists dive into the legacy of two classic drive pedals.

9. Supro Amulet

John Bohlinger

Power attenuation plus all-tube tremolo and reverb make this a killer club amp at a nice price.

8. MXR Poly Blue Octave

John Bohlinger

Pitch shifting, deep modulation, and monster fuzz make this single box a multi-headed tone mutator.

7. Gretsch G5420T Electromatic Hollowbody

John Bohlinger

Trestle-block bracing and new, refined FT-5E Filter'Tron pickups make a classic shape punchy, powerful, and more feedback resistant.

6. Magnatone Starlite

John Bohlinger

Maggie’s 5-watt mighty mite bursts with black-panel and tweed-Champ style sounds.

5. MXR Duke of Tone

John Bohlinger

An impressive taste of what lurks in the King’s chambers for players on a budget.

4. Fender Kingfish Telecaster Deluxe

Premier Guitar

The Mississippi blues maestro’s signature instrument is a potent and dazzling evolution of an underrated Tele’.

3. Gibson Theodore

John Bohlinger

Ted McCarty's archives reveal a long-lost treasure.

2. PRS SE Silver Sky John Mayer

John Bohlinger

An affordable version of John Mayer’s signature solidbody sacrifices little in the way of tone and quality, and sells for well under a grand.

1. Yamaha Revstar Standard RSS02T

John Bohlinger

A chambered body makes Yamaha's latest café racer-inspired electric a truly lightweight machine.

While Annie Clark was named the 26th greatest guitarist of all time by Rolling Stone in 2023, she couldn’t care less about impressing an athletic stamp on either her sound or her image.

Photo by Alex Da Corte

On her eighth studio release, the electroacoustic art-rock guitarist and producer animates an extension of the strange and singular voice she’s been honing since her debut in 2007.

“Did you grow up Unitarian?” Annie Clark asks me. We’re sitting in a control room at Electric Lady Studios in New York’s West Village, and I’ve just explained my personal belief system to her, to see if Clark, aka St. Vincent, might relate and return the favor. After all, does she not possess a kind of sainthood worth inquiring about?

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The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

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Mdou Moctar has led his Tuareg crew around the world, but their hometown performances in Agadez, Niger, last year were their most treasured.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

On the Tuareg band’s Funeral for Justice, they light a fiery, mournful pyre of razor-sharp desert-blues riffs and political calls to arms.

Mdou Moctar, the performing moniker of Tuareg guitar icon Mahamadou “Mdou” Souleymane, has played some pretty big gigs. Alongside guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and bassist Mikey Coltun, Moctar has led his band’s kinetic blend of rock, psych, and Tuareg cultural traditions like assouf and takamba to Newport Folk Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, and, just this past April, to the luxe fields of Indio, California, for Coachella. Off-kilter indie-rock darlings Parquet Courts brought them across the United States in 2022, after which they hit Europe for a run of headline dates.

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How do you capture what is so special about Bill Frisell’s guitar playing in one episode? Is it his melodies, his unique chord voicings, his rhythmic concept, his revolutionary approach to pedals and sounds…? It’s all of that and much more.

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