With so many of us in lockdown and live music frequently grinding to a halt in 2020, the spotlight fell online. To learn, discover and entertain, the influence of YouTube and social media guitar content creators was felt like never before.
Relative veterans and newcomers feature in your pick for this year's poll and it's great to see some younger players benefitting from your recognition. Here, in descending order or votes, are your choices for the best online guitar personalities of 2020.
1. Paul Davids
It's fitting that Paul Davids (opens in new tab) should be your first choice weeks after he crossed the milestone of two million subscribers in five years. A mind-boggling figure, yes, but looking at the body of work he's created in the last few years, it's no mystery why players keep coming back to the Dutch guitar tutor-turned-YouTube super teacher.
Paul is clearly a musician who knows good tone, but he believes in inclusivity and asking questions about it – breaking down myths and techniques to help people understand how they can play and sound better.
How you can enjoy the guitar you have rather than trying to sell you something you think you need.
His production values have become a benchmark in this field, his soothing voice and sublime playing the hallmarks of a creative, educational space where everyone can gain something. We salute you, sir.
2. Ola Englund
Rule number one in the world of YouTube; don't take yourself too seriously. Actually, that's good advice for life. Because Ola always has fun, even while diligently sticking to his weekly regular formats that viewers know he'll always deliver.
Will it chug? It's testament to Ola Englund (opens in new tab) that one of those regulars is becoming a catchphrase. As it should, because we're all secretly asking ourselves that whenever we plug into new gear. Well we are!
Ola's work with The Haunted and Feared has also given him the added perspective of a touring musician – there was even a solo album last year. He brought that combined depth of understanding to the launch of his Solar Guitars (opens in new tab) brand in 2017. The quality of all his output speaks for itself.
3. Peter Dankelson (Pete's Diary)
It's remarkable to watch what Peter Dankelson has achieved on Tik Tok (opens in new tab), Instagram and YouTube in two years – even if all he did was play, he constantly inspires us with his fearsome vibrato. But Pete's Diary (opens in new tab) has a bigger message to share than his Gibsons alone convey.
The classic rock and blues fanatic is communicating kindness and inclusion alongside his mother, Dede (who originally began the diary concept) that has clearly struck a chord – pardon the pun – with many of you.
Pete has undergone 35 surgeries as a result of more than 10 birth defects from Goldenhar syndrome (opens in new tab). He discovered guitar at 15 and it helped to motivate him through his toughest times. His recovery from major procedures and growth as a player in the last five years has been astonishing and now he wants to continue helping others to 'amplify positive vibes'.
Keep rocking, Pete and Dede!
4. Lee Anderton and Pete Honoré (Andertons)
It speaks volumes that Captain Anderton and Danish Pete represent the only retailer to make your top 10. The retailer saw the potentials of YouTube early on with a stellar cast of players over the years including Rob Chapman (opens in new tab), Mick Taylor and Rabea Massaad (opens in new tab).
Lee and Pete are now a double-headed tour de force of gear demos, interviews and glorious tomfoolery that has continued to elevate the UK's number one MI store to a worldwide name.
5. Chris Buck (Friday Fretworks)
Last year's blues guitarist poll winner (opens in new tab) has turned his talents to creating his own weekly YouTube show that really took off this year. Quite an achievement, and his videos consistently deliver insight on gear that we can all learn from.
And we know the best is yet to come from Chris – a musician as humble as he is talented.
6. Sophie Lloyd
It's great to see the young musicians receiving your recognition this year – and British guitarist Sophie Lloyd is an example of a player going from strength to strength, even in a year that kept her from the stage.
7. Tyler Larson (Music Is Win) [Joint placed]
You never know what guitar topic Tyler Larson (opens in new tab)'s next video will be about – and his attention to creating varied and entertaining content and insight into guitarists' mindsets is why he's now at 1.5 million subscribers and counting.
7. Mick Taylor and Dan Steinhardt (That Pedal Show) [Joint placed]
Exactly neck and neck with Tyler Larson in the vote count, the greatest pedal-obsessed double act in history have earned your support in spite of themselves (they nobly asked people to vote for a number of the other candidates instead).
But you can't deny them – and why would you? Nobody ignites our GAS like men who obsess over the details of boutique overdrive pedals (opens in new tab), wet/dry rigs and expensive pedalboard (opens in new tab) rebuilds that nobody else would notice at our next pub gig. But we do, and that's what makes us guitarists.
8. Sophie Burrell
You know when someone is a special guitar talent when they make it look effortless. And 21-year-old Sophie Burrell has dazzled us and plenty of you too –no wonder PRS chose to endorse her this year.
The British musician is closing out her 2020 on a high with her first solo single. The melodic and tonesome Tranquility proves again she's capable of much more than playing spookily accurate cover versions of Mark Tremonti (opens in new tab), Slash (opens in new tab) and Synyster Gates (opens in new tab) solos. Her future is looking very bright indeed.
9. Rabea Massaad
We first became aquatinted with Rabea's playing from his work in Rob Chapman's band Dorje (opens in new tab). He's continued to reach new heights since but like fellow Victory Amps (opens in new tab) artist Chris Buck, he has a genuinely humble and approachable persona online that players really appreciate.
Touring with his instrumental trio Toska, as well as the live incarnation online metal covers phenomenon Frog Leap Studios, was off the table for most of 2020. So Rabea has focussed on his superlative gear videos while refining a signature playing style that proves how much tone is in his own hands.
10. Mary Spender
Considering the huge audience MusicRadar has in the US, we're impressed with how many Brits have made your shortlist this year. And Mary Spender has consistently been a UK artist at the forefront of YouTube and social media guitar content.
As a singer/songwriter who recognised an opportunity to create guitar content for guitar players, she proved how a musician can transition between online guitar personality while in turn benefitting their musical output.
This has happened because Mary constantly refines creatively – working equally hard as a songwriter as a presenter. In her own words, it's a new type of music career, one she's worked tirelessly and independently to forge.