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Guitarists may be tightening their belts in this challenging financial climate, but they’ll sure as hell still find a way to keep acquiring new gear. And 2009 has been a vintage year for drool-worthy new guitars, amplifiers and effects.
Our awards are a celebration of the very best of the products that have graced the pages of our sister magazines Guitarist and Total Guitar, in combination with our own experiences at MusicRadar. Kicking things off, here’s the big one: 2009’s best electric guitar.
As ever, manufacturers continue to innovate – witness Taylor’s stunning T-3 and the thoroughly space-age Manson MB-1 – but there’s just something spellbinding about those enduring design classics from the golden age of electric guitar that makes us want to auction elderly relatives to pay for stunning pieces like Gibson Custom’s Joe Bonamassa Les Paul Goldtop.
It’s ironic then that our winner should draw inspiration from an era considered to be the most forgettable in Fender’s history, the 1970s. However, there wasn’t a guitarist in the office whose head didn’t turn in the direction of the Classic Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe.
No mere vintage reissue, Fender blended features from its early 1970s Deluxe and Type II Thinline Telecasters, beefed up the pickups and the frets and the result was a guitar that looks coolly retro but has all the attributes required for myriad modern playing styles.