We’re searching for the best young guitar talent in the world today - could it be you?
We’re working alongside our sister titles Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar Techniques, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Bass Guitar and Bass Player magazines to find our 2019 Young Guitarist of the Year (powered by Ernie Ball), to be crowned at the live final at the UK Guitar Show (opens in new tab) in London on 21 and 22 September 2019.
You’ll need to be 16 or under on the day of the live final, but entering is easy: upload a video of your playing to YouTube and fill out the entry form below (selecting the Young category from the drop-down menu).
While you’re there, tell us where you're from and a bit about yourself. What drew you to the guitar, which styles you favour and what gear you use, for instance.
The top entries will be shortlisted down to three finalists by a brace of star judges. Last year, judges included Matt Tuck, Rob Chapman and Chris Buck. This year we are pleased to announce that prog instrumentalist Plini (opens in new tab), Alice Cooper/solo shredder Nita Strauss (opens in new tab) and Toska mastermind, current best new guitarist in the world (opens in new tab) and YouTube star Rabea Massaad (opens in new tab) will make up our judging panel.
In addition to the prestigious title, the winner will also walk away with a suite of top guitar prizes (which last year included a PRS guitar and Ernie Ball string endorsement), a swathe of industry contacts and exposure to a huge audience – videos of last year’s live final performances (opens in new tab) have been viewed a whopping 4 million times.
2018 Young Guitarist of the Year finalists in action (opens in new tab)
2018 Young Guitarist of the Year winner Hunter Hallberg tells us that winning the title has been of huge benefit to his burgeoning guitar career: “I've got to meet a lot of top players and make loads of industry contacts, and the Young Guitarist of the Year title has been a big part of that. Right after attending NAMM in January 2019 I got my second endorsement with Aristides Guitars.”
Hunter says it’s important to choose the right piece to perform in order to impress the star judges. “[Your video] needs to have a bit of everything that you have mastered in your bag of tricks, and you have to take some big risks to win at this level. You can't just shred mindlessly, you have to go fast at the right time, and you have to be really clean if you are going to go fast. Vibrato and bends will be looked at carefully by judges.”
We’re looking for talent in all its forms, whether that’s technical ability, a distinctive playing style or an ear for composition. Get thinking, and show us your creativity and ability. The competition is now officially open so get practising, shooting and uploading today. Good luck!
Enter the competition here!
8 tips for Guitarist of the Year success
1. We need to see you play! No promo-style band videos or miming please.
2. Keep it musical. We’re all for fretboard madness and next-level sonics but not at the price of trusty musicality and genuine mastery of multiple techniques. This competition is open to all types of player.
3. Keep it tight and get to the point fast. Our experts are begging to be impressed, so 15 minutes of noodling won’t make the grade.
4. Make it impressive. Go for it. We want to see the full breadth of your skills in as tight a playing package as possible.
5. Just your best video please! Our experts are busy. Don’t make us wade through multiple entries where one would do.
6. Make it sound and look good! Smartphone audio can work fine, but remember to point the camera at yourself, not at the dog.
7. Want to enter all four categories? ‘Guitarist’, ‘Young Guitarist’, ‘Acoustic Guitarist’ and ‘Bassist’ of the Year? Go for it!
8. The Guitarist of the Year team and judges also want to know about the person behind the playing; use the ‘tell us about yourself box to explain what drew you to the guitar, what styles you favour, the gear you use, and anything else that could make you stand out.
1. All entries must be via videos uploaded to YouTube and submitted through the entry form above. No other emails or points of contact will be accepted.
2. Entries must be received by 23.59 (BST) on 3 July 2019.
3. Young Guitarist of the Year entrants must be 16 or under on 21 September 2019.
4. Don’t call us - we’ll call you if we like what you’re doing.
5. You need to be okay with us sharing your video to our wider online audience,
6. appearing in Future Publishing magazines and playing live on stage at the UK Guitar Show in London on 21 or 22 September. Live performances will be filmed, photographed and live streamed.
7. You need to be available to travel to London for the live final and must cover all your own travel and accommodation costs for the event.
8. As ever, the judge’s decision – picking our finalists and our eventual winner – is final.