10. Vintage V6M24
After receiving over 50,000 votes across 11 categories, this year's Total Guitar readers' polls were fiercely competitive. Now, the results have been tallied, and we're ready to announce what you voted the finest gear and guitarists of 2015.
It's been a great year for the electric guitar, with plenty of instruments offering outrageous value for money and killer spec for ever-lower prices. Your top 10 spans everything from jazz to metal, starting with…
By paying homage to classic designs at affordable price tags, Vintage has earned a decent reputation.
The company's new 80s-vibed V6M24 continues the theme, with a svelte body that appears to be a doff of the cap to the hot-rodded 80s double-cuts of brands such as Charvel and Suhr.
"A well made guitar at a great price - what's not to like?"
FULL REVIEW: Vintage V6M24 review
9. Godin Core CT P90
Up to this point, Godin's three Core models have shared a chambered mahogany slab body with a choice of humbuckers – P-90s or active EMGs – with a 629mm (24.75-inch) scale length and Graph Tech's impressive ResoMax adjustable wrapover bridge.
This year's additions keep the same scale and bridge, but the CT (carved top) version not only moves to a much more Gibson Les Paul-like outline, it also adds a glossed maple top that we'd call contoured – the top itself is flat but its edges are chamfered, a little like a Gibson SG.
"It's a fine guitar to audition some P-90 flavour, especially in rockier settings, but thanks to a great neck pickup and evocative pickup mix, its stylistic potential is much wider."
FULL REVIEW: Godin Core CT P90 review
BUY: Godin Core CT P90 currently available from:
8. LTD MH-401BFM
While the roots of baritone guitar may take you back to the surf/country-rock of the '50s, it would be fair to say that in the modern age, these lower-pitched axes have been well and truly claimed by heavy metal.
Case in point: the LTD MH-401B, which comes tuned to A, and will have you riffing away to your favourite Slipknot and Deftones records in no time at all. Granted, it might take a short while to get used to the heavier string gauges (the extra scale length requires thicker strings to get the tension right at a lower pitch), but once adjusted, you won't even blink an eyelid.
"A metal workhorse with excellent clean tones, although it comes at a price."
FULL REVIEW: LTD MH-401BFM review
BUY: LTD MH-401BFM currently available from:
UK: Andertons Music
7. Guild Newark St Starfire IV
Used by the likes of Buddy Guy, the Starfire was one of Guild's most popular models in the 60s. Now the Newark St edition offers a vintage-styled specification to match its heyday.
At first blush, its aesthetic puts it in competition with Gibson's ES-335. But make no mistake: the Starfire has a voice all of its own.
"Watch your tuning on extreme bends and you'll have a semi-acoustic workhorse with a truly individual sound."
FULL REVIEW: Guild Newark St Starfire IV review
6. Jackson JS32T Rhoads
The Jackson Rhoads V-style is about as pointy as guitars get, and Jackson hasn't made any health-and-safety concessions with the JS32T: it can still pierce skin if deployed with sufficient force.
The Rhoads is a sharp player, too. The tune-o-matic-style bridge makes low action a cinch, and the almost waxy feel of the satin neck finish is a dream to speed up and down.
"If you like the shape, there's very little to dislike about this Rhoads."
FULL REVIEW: Jackson JS32T Rhoads review
5. Schecter Banshee Elite-6
Although Schecter has been in business for over 30 years, producing models diverse enough as to attract the likes of Pete Townshend and Mark Knopfler, today, it's synonymous with rock and metal.
In recent years, the gauntlet has been very much thrown down by the more technical exponents of these genres and Schecter, along with a select few other companies, offers the discerning djentleman a wide variety of high-powered rock guitars in six-, seven-, eight- and even (gulp!) nine-string versions.
"One of the best-sounding rock guitars we've played."
FULL REVIEW: Schecter Banshee Elite-6 review
4. PRS S2 Standard Singlecut Satin
It's been a bumper year for PRS, which is fitting as it's the firm's 30th Anniversary.
Funny, just like The Rolling Stones' dear ol' Ronnie, PRS will always been seen as the new boy on the block. Still, the Maryland-based company has achieved plenty in the past three decades with its classic Custom 24 – perhaps the definitive hybrid of the Strat and Les Paul – still atop the pile of models they make.
Just over a year ago, however, came the Vela, the first S2 series-specific design, swiftly followed by the all-mahogany, scratchplate-toting Standards. Gradually, the S2s starting heaping on the cool. Enter the new Satin Standards – a Custom 24, Custom 22 and Singlecut, as here.
"Clean, low, medium or high-gain, this one's a banker: the most rock-out, resonant blue-collar PRS we've ever played."
FULL REVIEW: PRS S2 Standard Singlecut Satin review
BUY: PRS S2 Standard Singlecut Satin currently available from:
3. PRS S2 Vela
To many of us, PRS guitars just ain't cool. Why? Well, it's not that they don't attract a huge roster of artists and users, it's just that with those fancy looking maple tops and shell adorned fingerboards, they are, well, not always as rock 'n' roll as we'd like.
Guitars such as the S2 Mira and Starla may have appeared previously in the high-line USA 'core' range, but S2 models are almost becoming the 'anti' PRSes, with their mainly all-mahogany construction, scratchplates and bevelled-edge tops; hey, you can even have ordinary dot inlays if you want, not just those polarising birds. Now, for the first time, there's a brand new S2-only creation: the astronomically named Vela.
"This is the finest S2 to date... and a PRS guitar that certainly isn't for doctors and dentists!"
FULL REVIEW: PRS S2 Vela review
2. Gibson 2015 Les Paul Studio
Who's been mucking about with my Les Paul? Gibson has. 2015's annual makeover is one of the most dramatic we can remember.
Not only are the Min-ETune 'robot' tuners - improved and rebranded this year as G Force - standard on virtually every model, we also get a height-adjustable brass zero fret and increased neck width.
There are no cost-cutting satin finishes, either - it's all gloss nitrocellulose, and there's a new gold-coloured TKL moulded case included with every instrument. There's a slight uplift in price but this Studio might well be the bargain of the 2015 range: a USA Les Paul for £899!
"Excellent value, high-quality sounds - including those single-coil voices - these will sell by the truckload."
FULL REVIEW: Gibson 2015 Les Paul Studio review
1. Chapman Guitars ML-1 Pro
With a trio of Seymour Duncan pickups and a walnut top, the ML-1 Pro is a classy piece of kit, kitting out one of the earliest Chapman designs with a host of pro features.
It might be a generation removed from the hot-rodded double-cuts that debuted in the 80s and opened the floor to a flood of electrics boasting new and exciting features, but the ML-1 Pro continues in that shred-ready tradition.
"The ML-1 Pro's imaginative pickup selection and meticulous ride is proof that the Monkey Lord is not just content to ape the opposition."
FULL REVIEW: Chapman Guitars ML-1 Pro review