Best in guitars 2017
As another year slowly draws to a close, it’s time to reflect on what's dominated the headlines over the previous 12 months. While there’s been more than enough bad news to make you want to move underground, in the guitar world things have looked far brighter.
This year we’ve been treated to innovative playing, pioneering guitar gear and brilliant new music from all corners of the guitar universe. Now it’s time to celebrate the best that guitars had to offer in 2017.
We’ve drawn up shortlists of what we consider to be the players and the gear that made 2017 such an exceptional year for guitarists. Now we want your help to crown the most deserving winner in each category.
Click through the gallery to browse the categories and to place your votes. We’ll start announcing winners in December. You know what to do…
The MusicRadar Best in guitars awards are brought to you in association with Allianz Musical Insurance - the UK's Number 1 Specialist Instrument Insurer
Who is the best rock guitarist of 2017?
Rock music has had a bumper 2017. This year, fans of the hard stuff were treated to tours from rock’s greatest and an axe-laden haul of incredible new albums. A brief look at the diversity of guitarists shortlisted in this category gives an indication of just how peachy this year in rock was.
From new contenders to the rock throne, to rock guitar icons still playing right at the top of their game, which lord of the riff gets your vote this year?
Who is the best blues guitarist of 2017?
Blues has always been around, but in recent years we’ve seen an almighty resurgence in incredible blues players - from fresh young cats to established blues masters - hence we’ve introduced this brand new category for 2017.
Every guitarist shortlisted below channels the originators, whilst laying their own style over the foundations. The result is a collection of players responsible for some of the most soulful, real guitar playing we’ve heard in years.
Is blues on your radar? If so, let us know who gets your motor runnin’ with a vote for your favourite.
Who is the best prog guitarist of 2017?
Virtuosity, creativity and intellect lie at the core of the world’s leading prog guitarists, and the musical masterminds listed in this category are at the very forefront of the genre, pushing boundaries every step of the way.
Best prog guitarist is always one of the most hotly-contested categories in MusicRadar’s end of year polls, such is the unfathomable talent of the nominees, and the unrivalled dedication of their fanbases.
It’s difficult to ignore the supreme talents of every prog guitarist on this list, but you can only pick one. So, who would you choose as your prog guitarist of the year?
Who is the best metal guitarist of 2017?
We’re not alone in proclaiming that 2017 has been an unbelievable year for heavy metal. We’ve been treated to some fine new music from metal giants and newcomers alike, and been in the pit at unbelievable live shows from metal’s great and good.
Which guitar monsters have got your head banging with their sledgehammer riffs in 2017? Take a look at the shortlist below and cast your vote in our best metal guitarist category.
Who is the best alternative guitarist of 2017?
Alt-rock skirts proudly around the mainstream, and so do the genre's guitarists. These musicians are more than capable of plying your ears with big slabs of riff, but their music goes so much further than that in terms of sonics, attitude, depth and ethos.
From riotous Texan punks and geek rock heroes, to British alt-rock legends, there’s plenty of choice here. But who gets your vote?
Who is the best acoustic guitarist of 2017?
Acoustic guitar music is enjoying quite the renaissance right now. From pioneering purveyors of the percussive acoustic guitar, to epic singer songwriters who can tug the heartstrings with a single chord, the quality of unplugged players has never been better than it is right now.
This is another new category for this year, highlighting quite how broad and exciting the guitar world is right now.
Who is the best new guitarist of 2017?
While there are plenty of guitar heroes still doing the rounds, we get just as excited about emerging talent. We’re talking about the guitarists with their entire careers in front of them, but with enough raw talent that it’s practically guaranteed they'll be talked about in the same breath as the guitar icons of the instrument in years to come.
The list below is our pick of the guitarists who turned heads this year. Who is your choice for best new guitarist of 2017?
Who is the best bassist of 2017?
Let’s face it, the world would be a darker place without basslines; the bass guitar provides an essential foundation to most of our favourite music. In fact, bands like Royal Blood prove just how important the bass is.
Bass players come in all types - just take a look at the nominee list below - but one thing is clear, without them most music would suck!
So, which low-end legend has created the backbone for your favourite music this year?
Who is the guitar personality of 2017?
Being a guitar personality isn’t only about strumming a few chords in an internationally successful band, or having a killer picking hand and unbelievable tone. A true guitar personality is someone who brings more to the guitar world than just technique or record sales and is a figurehead for the guitar community.
The people listed below are just that, doing more than most to educate the guitar playing community on gear, technique and style. Who is your guitar personality of 2017? Get your vote in now!
What is the best new electric guitar of 2017?
Best new electric guitar is an incredibly prestigious award. The guitars nominated here are all leaders in their field, offering amazing tone and looks, and reliability on the road or in the studio. What’s more, a guitar of this calibre requires considerable research and development, testing and financial investment from the manufacturer, which mustn’t be underestimated when placing your vote.
This year’s best electric guitar shortlist includes a brace of big guns from legendary brands, across a range of price brackets. So, which new guitar ticks all the right boxes and gets your vote?
What is the best new signature guitar of 2017?
Signature guitars can be a mixed bag, but when done right they represent the ultimate combination of style and sound for fans of a particular guitarist.
The guitars listed below are the result of hours of collaboration between guitarist and manufacturer, culminating in a product that, not only is the artist proud to put their name to, but one which fans will get a kick out of playing too. Which signature guitar gets your endorsement? Vote below!
What is the best new acoustic guitar of 2017?
Whether you’re writing songs or busking to the masses, the humble acoustic guitar is a potent weapon in any guitarist’s arsenal. From budget strummers to beautifully crafted works of art, this year we’ve seen a huge range of great acoustics hitting the market.
With so many options to choose from, which of the ace acoustics listed below turned your head in 2017?
What is the best new guitar amp of 2017?
We’ve tested all manner of guitar amps this year, from small but powerful combos, to cutting-edge modelling amps, and we’ve been blown away by the work the big brands have been doing behind the scenes to help you get closer to the tone in your head.
Your guitar amp forms an important part of your core sound, so choosing the right one is critical - thankfully there’s never been more choice, and the names below are the pinnacle of the 2017 releases. Get voting!
What is the best new guitar effects pedal of 2017?
The guitar effects you use say a lot about you as a player, so it’s a pleasure to see so many options available to players looking to refine or define their sound - and 2017 was no exception, with plenty of new options to boost your sonic arsenal.
So, which one topped your list and made its way onto your pedalboard this year?
What is the best new guitar innovation of 2017?
Innovation is key to keeping the guitar industry moving forward, and thankfully there are plenty of visionaries still inventing new ways to help guitarists make great music and boost their creativity.
2017 has been a top year for gear progression, and the industry pioneers listed below deserve your recognition. Take a look at the shortlist and place your vote now!