Your 10 favourite new electric guitars of 2022

(Image credit: Future)

Best of 2022: Accessible vintage is an overarching theme in your choice of the top ten electric guitars of 2022; a reflection of how strong appeal of the golden era of guitar still is. But although the winner takes some influence from that, it's technically a model in its infancy…

1. PRS SE Silver Sky

Best of 2022: You waited four years – ever since the announcement of John Mayer's USA PRS Silver Sky signature model in 2018 we've been looking for the inevitable SE version. But when it came earlier in 2022 there was a surprise; its flatter 8.5" radius made it distinct from the original. 

John Mayer and PRS's desire for it to be its own entity is impressive, and perhaps wise since the 7.25" radius of the PRS model was a sticking point for some players on spec. 


PRS SE Silver Sky

(Image credit: Future / Neil Godwin)

PRS SE Silver Sky review

The SE sense of quality and attention to detail is all here; this is a flagship example of large production guitar manufacturing. The four-year wait revealing an instrument that doesn't feel compromised. There were necessary changes to reflect the price; a poplar body here instead of the USA's instrument's alder, a synthetic nut. There's also the change to the two-post vibrato from the Silver Sky's six. But not unreasonable Vs the £2,650 USA Silver Sky. 

Whatever ever you think about the Strat connection or even Mayer as an artist, the key story here is this is a flagship of what the SE line offers, and the appealing quality an artist's involvement with a guitar brand can bring when the partnership is successful. 

Buy the Silver Sky SE for £599 at Andertons

2. Yamaha Revstar RSS02T

The oft-underrated Revstar came back brighter this year – a great looking, sounding and playing proposition, now with a chambered body for enhanced resonance.

With three models at different price tiers, the Standard RSS02T sits in the middle and like the Silver Sky, hits pro-level performance at its middle market price point of $799/£873. 

P-90-style pickups and a five-way switch are further enhanced by a Focus Switch passive boost that offers an overwound effect. A fresh and versatile design statement from Yamaha – and it's almost available with humbuckers. 

Check out the Yamaha Revstar range at Sweetwater

3. Fender American Vintage II '61 Stratocaster

Despite being in the higher price reaches of the US Fender standard production electric guitar line right now, the recreations offered by the Fender American Vintage II series are still a significant (read: massive) saving on buying the originals on the used market. They offer a new vintage experience to find how much Fender got right early on, and how the influence of those models still resonates today.

The results are special; and this especially shines as a wonderful example of the Strat. The medium C profile, 7.25" radius and slab rosewood board with tall narrow frets may be an adjustment for some modern Fender players, but this is the authentic spec. And it sounds it too. 

4. Fender American Vintage II '51 Telecaster

And another! Another golden age recreation that delivered. For many, a Butterscotch Blonde Tele with blackguard is the definitive article, and this takes it right back to the source. 

They got it right first time – as our colleague Neville Martin demonstrates above. 

5. Epiphone Joe Bonamassa Lazarus 1959 Les Paul Standard

While we're talking about golden eras, this is probably the holy grail of it – delivered for under $/£1k. Your blues poll winner Joe Bonamassa has incredible form for helping Epiphone deliver on wonderful guitars inspired by instruments from his collection, and this is an absolute beauty.

Building on the success of Epiphone's late-2020 1959 Les Paul Standard, this sweetens the build with a long neck tenon like the vintage originals. The aged-gloss finish adds to the mojo and enhances the maple cap's veneer with character too. 

USA BurstBuckers deliver again here; a fine representation of the PAF blueprint in 2022 with '50s wiring teasing out maximum versatility, especially on the gain control side. 

“We wanted to make a model that was accessible to everyone at a price point that you could buy it and go out and gig with it; it looks and feels like the original guitar,” said Bonamassa. Mission accomplished. No wonder they sold out fast. 

6. Epiphone 1961 Les Paul SG Standard

It's been an interesting year for Epiphone; the lines with Gibson are blurring on spec and performances for some models, while the prices have followed according. But guitars like this and the one voted above actually feel above their asking fee. 

Like the Lazarus, our memories of the feel and tones here are some of the most positive Epiphone experiences we've had. And this is one of our favourite SGs to pass through our hands. Not so much Inspired By Gibson as Gibson-worthy. 

7. Epiphone Joe Bonamassa 1962 ES-335

Wow, you are certainly showing the Epiphone love here. Affordable reissues will always tempt us like moths to a flame and the combo of Mr Bonamassa's coveted collection along with his long-running relationship with Epiphone paid dividends again. 

The only issue being that they're always limited editions – the kind that actually sell out. 

8. Strandberg Boden Original NX 6

If you thought this was a vintage-fest, Ola Strandberg has news for you. Innovative, ultra lightweight and immensely playable, it's no surprise contemporary progressive players like Plini embrace the brand. And it'll fit in an overhead locker when they tour!

Strandberg's patented V-shaped EndurNeck is a headline innovation in itself with a playing experience that can and will sell this instrument to guitarists who approach with an open mind. 

9. Jackson American Series Soloist SL-3

Jackson returned home to California for US production this year and it was the Soloist it chose as the launch model; a definitive guitar for the brand with broad tonal versatility to answer any shred guitar naysayers.

The build lived up to the billing, and so did the tones. And this is just the beginning of a new chapter in the Jackson story. 

10. Harley Benton MR-Modern

The most affordable guitar in your list is also an interesting twist; a contemporary spec update on old Mosrite influence.

Semie Moseley's '60s reverse offset shape and German carve favoured by The Ventures still feels bold by even today's standards and HB's own additions of P-90-size humbuckers (with coil-splits too!) and stainless steel frets impress here for the price-point. 

Buy the Harley Benton MR-Modern from Thomann

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.