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The electric guitars you need to play in 2022

Best new guitars for 2022: PRS SE Silver Sky
(Image credit: PRS)

GEAR EXPO SUMMER 2022: This year’s list shows the electric guitar market at an interesting crossroads. You won’t find a bog standard Strat on this list, though there are plenty of Fender (and Fender-affiliated/inspired) creations, and it’s worth noting that even the anniversary and reissue models here push the envelope in some small way.

It’s not all guitars made of pure unobtainium here, either. To our eye, some of the most appealing models in the current electric crop come at thoroughly reasonable price points. Browse on to view our selection of the wide array of six-strings on offer in 2022…

Abasi Concepts Emi

Abasi

(Image credit: Future)

£TBC

Tosin Abasi has had a busy few months, collaborating with Music Man on the Kaizen, as well as unveiling a host of new Abasi Concepts models, chief among them this double-cutaway, dubbed Emi.

It features Fishman’s Fluence pickups (each of which offers two voices), a roasted maple neck, Gotoh 510 tremolo – and a style that – like the Space T before it – provocatively draws its influence from classic electric designs. 

Read more about the Abasi Concepts Emi

Eastman Juliet P90-VR

Eastman Juliet at NAMM 2022

(Image credit: Future)

£1,499

Eastman already gave us the semi-hollow Romeo and follows it up with this solid-body, P-90-equipped rock guitar. It has an okume body with a raised centre bar, Gotoh bridge and a pair of Bare Knuckle Old Guard P-90s.

There’s a 12” radius ebony fingerboard and 25.5"-scale length. As ever with Eastman builds, the wiring and components are all of excellent quality, pulling in a Schaller 3-Way Megaswitch, .047 Orange Drop capacitors, CTS 500K Audio Taper pots and Switchcraft #11 jacks. 

Read more about the Eastman Juliet P90-VR

£1,499

Eastman already gave us the semi-hollow Romeo and follows it up with this solid-body, P-90-equipped rock guitar. It has an okume body with a raised centre bar, Gotoh bridge and a pair of Bare Knuckle Old Guard P-90s.

There’s a 12” radius ebony fingerboard and 25.5"-scale length. As ever with Eastman builds, the wiring and components are all of excellent quality, pulling in a Schaller 3-Way Megaswitch, .047 Orange Drop capacitors, CTS 500K Audio Taper pots and Switchcraft #11 jacks. 

Read more about the Eastman Juliet P90-VR

Guild Surfliner

Guild Surfliner

(Image credit: Guild )

£395 / $449

A new body shape for Guild, but one with classic rock ’n’ roll-era inspiration. The Surfliner pairs an offset poplar body with a satin-finished maple neck and tops it with a headstock reminiscent of Fender’s Starcaster design.

The HSS pickup combination uses Guild’s Little Bucker LB-1 with two DeArmond single-coils and opens up the tonal options via three on/off switches – creating seven switching options. It’s something new, different and affordable, yet is dressed in a classy, traditional costume. 

Read more about the Guild Surfliner

Harley Benton MR Classic

Harley Benton

(Image credit: Harley Benton)

£209 / €248

In the MR range, German retailer Thomann’s house brand takes on the classic Mosrite offset-shape, with a choice of humbucker and P-90-equipped guitars, as well as baritone options.

The MR Modern adds some flashy hardware upgrades and a vibrato bridge for a relatively modest uplift in price, but (call us purists) we like the look of the entry-level MR Classic. It  features a basswood body and maple neck, two Artec P-90 Alnico 5 pickups, Wilkinson tuners and a 25.5” scale-length on a roasted Jatoba fretboard. Essentially, though, it nails that Mosrite vibe at a highly-tempting price point.

Read more about the Harley Benton MR Classic

Fender 60th Anniversary American Ultra Luxe Jaguar

Fender 60th Anniversary American Ultra Luxe Jaguar

(Image credit: Fender)

£2499 /

A limited edition ‘Tuxedo’ take on the Jaguar, the American Ultra Luxe is finished in Texas Tea and, replete with mirrored chrome hardware, treads a highly-appealing line between classic Jaguar looks and swish modern appointments. 

There’s an ebony fingerboard with rolled edges and an augmented D shape neck. It’s loaded with Custom Double Tap humbuckers, which can be split by the toggle switches on the upper horn. Finally, there’s a through-body fixed bridge and TUSQ nut, which should offer highly stable tuning.

Read more about the Fender 60th Anniversary American Ultra Luxe Jaguar

Fender Player Plus Meteora HH

Fender Player Plus Meteora

(Image credit: Fender)

£859 / $1,149

The much-discussed Meteora shape first debuted in 2018 but it now joins the colourful, well-appointed line-up that is Fender’s Player Plus series. 

Specs-wise, you get a choice of finishes and ‘boards available in Pau ferro or maple (complete with rolled edges). It’s equipped with two Fireball humbuckers, two tone controls and a master volume, which doubles as a coil-split switch. Elsewhere, there’s locking tuners, a two-point tremolo and 22 jumbo frets. 

Read more about the Fender Player Plus Meteora HH

Sterling By Music Man StingRay SR50

Sterling By Music Man StingRay SR50

(Image credit: Sterling By Music Man )

£699 / $599

Another dual-humbucker model, the SR50 has been refreshed for 2022 and now comes with a roasted maple neck with rosewood or roasted maple fretboard and locking tuners.

There’s also a vintage tremolo mounted on a poplar body,  Sterling by Music Man-designed humbucking pickups and a choice of two finishes in Buttermilk or Firemist Silver – we think the former is particularly tasty.

Read more about the Sterling By Music Man StingRay SR50

PRS SE Silver Sky

PRS SE Silver Sky

(Image credit: Future / Neil Godwin)

£895 / $849

The most talked-about guitar to hit the shelves this year has been pretty much an unqualified triumph. It’s a poplar build (as opposed to the original’s alder), with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. There are three PRS 635JM ‘S’ single-coils, a two-point steel vibrato and PRS-designed vintage-style tuners.

We live in an age where the ‘affordable’ version of a high-end instrument retails for the best part of £1,000, but it’s hard to argue with the meticulous quality of build and tone available from the SE Silver Sky.

Read out full PRS SE Silver Sky review

Gretsch G2215-P90 Streamliner Junior Jet Club P90

Gretsch

(Image credit: Gretsch)

£385 / $399

The Streamliner models tend to represent great build quality – with solid hardware and highly useable pickups – at budget prices. 

The Junior Jet Club P90 actually debuted last year but has received three highly-attractive new finishes (Shell Pink, Ocean Turquoise and Havana Burst) for 2022. Elsewhere you’ll find Broad’Tron™ BT-2S bridge and P90 Soap Bar neck pickups, nickel hardware and an anchored compensated wrap-around bridge. 

Read more about the Gretsch G2215-P90 Streamliner Junior Jet Club P90

Harley Benton Fusion-III HH

Harley Benton Fusion III

(Image credit: Harley Benton)

£384

Updating its high-spec Fusion-III line-up for 2022, Harley Benton has tweaked the electronics, placing the coil-split under a push-pull tone pot, as opposed to the previous mini-toggle. 

More importantly, it’s added roasted maple necks and fingerboards as an option across the line. This HH model looks great with the new neck, and offers two Roswell AlNiCo 5 humbuckers,  Grover GH305 6L machine heads and a Floyd Rose 1000 tremolo – a spec and build quality usually unheard of at this price point.

Read more about the Harley Benton Fusion-III HH

Squier FSR Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster

Squier FSR Cabronita Baritone

(Image credit: Squier )

£399

Looking resplendent, if understated, in Olive Green, this limited edition baritone model is an FSR (Fender Special Run) model, designed to offer something different. And that it does. 

There’s that 27” scale-length for a start, plus two Fender-designed soapbar pickups. Meanwhile, a cut-off black pick guard and flat-top knobs – along with that Special Run finish – all give it an aesthetic that is somehow both lean and hefty. The tones will match: think moody, big-bodied twang and you’re on the way.

Read more about the Squier FSR Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster

Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HH 2PT CM Poplar Burl

Charvel PRO-MOD DK24 2022 models

(Image credit: Charvel)

£949 / $1,299

This DK24 might have a classic body shape but, as you’d expect from Chervil’s “hot-rodded” Pro-Mod range, it is an all other aspects a thoroughly modern metal guitar. 

Underneath that eye-catching poplar burl top, there’s an alder body, which is paired with graphite-reinforced maple neck. A sculpted heel and lower back bout give ample access to the fast frets. Then there’s a pairing of Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10B and Alnico II Pro APH-1N pickups (with series/parallel switching options), plus a Gotoh Custom 510 tremolo.

Read more about the Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HH 2PT CM Poplar Burl

Ibanez AZ Premium AZ471QM

Ibanez new for 2022

(Image credit: Ibanez)

£1,129 / $1,866

Ibanez is pushing the boat out with the AZ471QM, incorporating a heap of new features that represent firsts for the range, namely: an ebony ‘board, DiMarzio humbuckers and an HSH configuration.

You’ll find an Air Norton pickup in the neck, True Velvet in the middle, and The Tone Zone at the bridge, while the body is basswood with a quilted maple top. There’s also a Gotoh bridge, luminescent side-dot markers and a Gotoh bridge. 

Read more about the Ibanez AZ Premium AZ471QM

Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster

Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster

(Image credit: Squier)

£359 / $479

Like the original Contemporary Starcaster, this new-for-2022 active variant is a sealed hollowbody body build, which should help to tame unwieldy feedback.

It’s loaded with Squier’s SQR Active humbuckers and, alongside the pickups fancy finish, has some nice contemporary twists, such as a sculpted neck heel, which makes it easier to upper frets.

Read more about the Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster

PRS S2 Custom 24-08

PRS S2 Custom 24-08

(Image credit: PRS)

£1,699 / $1,929

The flexible Custom 24-08 – so called due its eight tonal settings – has arrived in PRS’ US-made-but-lowered-priced S2 line. 

It uses a mahogany body with a maple top, maple neck and rosewood ‘board (with 24-frets and the usual 25” scale-length) and features a pair of 85/15 “S” pickups. Two toggle switches can be used in conjunction with the three-way pickup selector and master volume/tone to open up the eight coil-split and humbucker tone options.

Read more about the PRS S2 Custom 24-08

Fender JV Modified ‘60s Custom Telecaster

Fender JV Modified ‘60s Custom Telecaster

(Image credit: Fender)

£1,299 / $1,349

A reissue of a reissue, of sorts – Fender’s JV Modified range is based on its highly-regarded 80s Japanese Vintage reissues.

This ’60-styled Tele looks the part, but features both a four-way switch (so you can select pickups in series as well as parallel), plus the ability to flip pickups in and out of phase via push-pull tone pot. It’s packed with tonal variety, then, while a satin neck with soft ‘v’ finish makes for a compelling combination of looks and function. 

Read more about the Fender JV Modified ‘60s Custom Telecaster

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.