MusicRadar's guitar gear of the year

A selection of highlights from the bumper year for guitar kit that was 2007

As the year draws to a close and we kick off our collective shoes and enjoy a brandy and a fine cigar, it's time to reflect on the products that made 2007 a particularly enjoyable vintage for guitar lovers everywhere.

We guitarists are often typecast as tech-fearing, backward-looking luddites, and it's true that there's never been a better time to buy a new guitar that looks as though it's done several decades of hard labour.

However, it's not all old news. Hot on the heels of Fender's digital modelling-equipped VG Stratocaster, Gibson announced details of its self-tuning Robot Guitar.

Ovation returned to the electric guitar arena in fine style with the VXT, a cool single-cutaway hybrid design at home with classic rock as readily as acoustic strumming.

Taylor followed its 2005 T5 hybrid with a full-on electric model complete with bespoke hardware, in three tasty flavours; definitely ones to watch in 2008.

Meanwhile, on the amplification side of things, many of the headlines were devoted to the Line 6 Spider Valve. Not only did it see the brand synonymous with amp modelling make its first foray into bona fide valve technology, but it also marked a collaboration with boutique tube amp royalty in the shape of Reinhold Bogner.

Heresy, some exclaimed. Everyone else just turned the thing up and thought to themselves, actually, this sounds rather good.

Meanwhile, for the computer savvy, IK Multimedia's Jimi Hendrix edition of Amplitube and Native Instruments' Guitar Rig 3 again raised the bar in the software modelling arena.

It seems fitting that nearly ten years on from the launch of the original kidney bean-shaped POD, Line 6 now make a version that fits in your pocket, and sounds better than ever.

Our stompbox highlight of the year has to be Roland's Boss RE-20 Space Echo; a great way to gain access to iconic tape delay sounds without relying on mercurial 1974 technology.

However, if after all this, you are still insistent that the old school is where it's at, Fender's addition of a sprinkle of Custom Shop fairy dust to its new Classic Player Series guitars was an inspired decision.

We'd heartily recommend the Baja Telecaster alongside the '50s and '60sStratocasters. At a mere £499 each, all three offer staggering value for money.

At more than 10 times the cost of one of the Fender Classic Player guitars, Gibson's Vintage Original Spec '59 Les Paul Standard is a serious investment, but still the closest that anyone who isn't a rock star or multi-millionaire is going to get to the collector's Holy Grail: the 1959 'burst.

Finally, Paul Reed Smith launched what could be its most universally-appealing instrument yet, the stripped down, yet highly versatile Mira.

So, what are your 2007 highlights? Hopefully we have we covered all the good stuff here, or are there some glaring omissions? Let us know what you think, and also if you have any thoughts about what innovations 2008 will bring...

 


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