Following the shocks and sudden adjustments of the preceding 12 months, 2021 felt like the year when the world began to take online learning seriously. Our guitar personality poll certainly reflects that.
There’s still a lot of humour, astonishing guitars feats and, err, Fart pedals, but there’s also a noticeable trend among our top 10 towards really informative, educational content for guitarists. Long may it last…
1. Best online guitar personality, 2021: Rick Beato
Viewers love Beato because he brings a rich and interconnected musical insight to all of his videos. He’s able to share opinion as convincingly as theory. His breakdowns go deep on technique, yet he doesn’t take himself too seriously (as proved by the boomer bends debate). Big names are starting to catch on, too. Everyone from Tommy Emmanuel, to Pat Metheny and Sting have dropped by this year.
2. Josh Scott (JHS)
He’s wry, he’s dry and if you don’t like it that‘s really your problem. The JHS man’s channel has been going over a decade now and just seems to get better with age. A special mention has to go to the major, historically-accurate 30-minute production that was Guitar Pedals: The Musical. It should be in the West End.
3. Ola Englund
The Super Swede and one of the original YouTube guitar icons shows no signs of slipping out of favour. Big videos this year have included a very cool run-through of very cool band Gojira’s very cool Nearal DSP plugin and, of course, a slightly less dignified testing of The Fart Pedal.
4. Jared Dines
We were bowled over by Dines’ collaboration with 10S Guitars to produce a real-life version of the Mountain Dew Meme Guitar, while the real hits of the year have been the videos of his originals band SION (with ex-Killswitch man Howard Jones).
5. Daniel Steinhardt, Mick Taylor (That Pedal Show)
That Pedal Show was not afraid to ask the big questions this year: Are guitar gear demos pointless? Expensive pickup in a cheap guitar – is it worth it?. Meanwhile their regular Monday Q&As have seen them play tonal agony aunts to the nation…
6. Rhett Shull
Few other YouTube channels get so forensic about tone and playing without losing the viewer in a web of terminology. Shull’s channel is packed with useful advice and while he does voice his own, sometimes controversial, opinions – as above – it never descends into click-bait.
7. Tyler Larson (Music Is Win)
Larson’s videos combine humour and fanboy insight into the guitar world, with genuine playing know-how. His recent clip on How Every Guitar Player Practices not only skewered a few cliches, but also proved what a multi-faceted player Larson is and was inspiring, to boot…
8. Sophie Burrell
Unlike many on this list, Burrell has a big presence on Instagram and TikTok, as well as YouTube. The platform is largely irrelevant though. Burrell is a guitar chameleon, someone who sounds as at home hammering Van Halen lines, as she is perfecting David Gilmour’s legendary touch.
9. Chris Buck (Friday Fretworks)
Buck has an incredible voice as a guitarist and for the last four years, he has been sharing great insights into playing and tone via his Friday Fretworks series on YouTube. He usually opens each one with the sort of off-the-cuff jam that will make you weep…
10. Jonathan Koh
On his gear and tech-focussed channel, Jon is just TOO LouD!!, Koh covers everything from capacitors to sanding your guitar neck. However, his best-loved videos are his in-depth gear demos, particularly of multi-FX like the Zoom G6 or NUX MG-30, which combine great song demos and an exhaustive exploration of presets.