1. Patrick James Eggle Linnville Gareth Pearson signature
Materials: Alaskan Sitka spruce top, black walnut back and sides
Electronics: AER AK30+ preamp
Guitarist Gold Award winner
We said: "Every attention-arresting note sings out with a front-end slap and absolute clarity, so much so that you'd better sharpen up your playing, because this guitar picks up everything – there's nowhere to hide! This is a fantastic stage guitar and it needs to be out there and used."
2. Crafter GAE15/N
Materials: Solid cedar top; laminated dao back and sides
Electronics: LR Baggs Element pickup, LR-T
We said: "The guitar's overall tone is suited to a wide range of styles, be it single-note runs, 12th fret and above solos, fingerstyle or open chords, the GAE's timbre is evenly balanced, well rounded, clear and with good tonal separation. It's a great all-rounder and a very rewarding guitar to play."
3. Baden A-style
Materials: Sitka spruce top; maple back and sides
Electronics: Fishman Ellipse Aura
We said: "We found the A-style to posses a very Taylor-esque tone; bright respnsive and clear… the timbre is very well balanced and complete. Amid a saturated market, Baden has managed to produce a visually unique guitar that, if nothing else, will divide opinion. The A-style is a versatile and well-made guitar that's certainly distinctive."
4. Yamaha CPX1200
Materials: Solid spruce top; solid rosewood back and sides
Electronics: This is the debut of the new SRT modelling system
We said: One of the most noticeable things about SRT is the quality and usability of the mic sounds… as far as ease of use, versatility and sound fidelity are concerned, SRT is going to give existing competitors a decidedly strong run for their money."
5. Takamine EG360SC
Materials: Sitka spruce top; laminated rosewood back and sides
Electronics: TP-4T preamp with three-band EQ and a tuner
We said: "The treble is pleasantly singing and transparent, a controlled yet firm low-end delivers some nice attacking snap when played hard and the overall delivery has an easy sustain and response. EQ may need a firm hand but there's so much enjoyment to be had here."