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The best new guitarists of 2020, as voted by you

Melanie Faye
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)

The future is bright for electric guitar – and it's never been easier to find and share the great new talents taking the instrument forwards. Here you've helped us recognise some of the very best this year.

Melanie Faye 

The words virtuoso and prodigy gets bandied around a little too easily these days but really apply here. W get Hendrix vibes watching Faye, but she's not playing those blues licks you've heard countless players borrow from him, it's the sense of freedom she has with her guitar that so many of us are working towards.

 Melanie is coming more from the R&B and gospel genres and her ability, in the context of her voice and songwriting feels like a genuinely fresh sound. This year saw the release of her debut EP and it is really the beginning of what should be a remarkable career. 


Kazuki Isogai

Another guitarist who isn't coming in with any blues tropes, Isogai's fingerstyle 'neo soul guitar' is clean and articulate and coming more from the hip hop and R&B worlds. But his sense of feel and melody has an old school purity to it. 

The Tokyo guitarist suggests a way ahead for players looking to build an online following; he has risen to prominence on YouTube  and Instagram, tailoring concise arrangements for those platforms 


Gabriel Cyr

This year saw the 2018 Guitarist Of The Year winner and PRS artist Gabriel Cyr come into his own as a solo artist with the release of two instrumental EPs. His playing is a joy to listen to – drawing from the uplifting melodicism of Satch with chops for days. 

Latest EP Spectrum Exploration II finds the Quebec musician exploring some heavier elements, but its intersped with soaring passages and even some of the jazz Gabriel is schooled in – as you can see in the video above. 


Adam Ian Sykes and Sam Grant (Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs)

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs (seven times, remember that) produce a hog's heaven of loud riffs that reaches a whole new level on the live stage – Sabbath, Black Flag and Hawkwind sprung to mind, and what more do you need? 

Guitar needs players willing to turn Orange amps to uncomfortable levels and  make glorious sounds. Sykes and Grant are the ideal candidates as this year's Viscerals album attests. 


Ruben Wan 

LA-based multi-instrumentalist Wan brings a producer's mindset to his compositions and  is another player who draws from the gospel and R&B worlds, but the blues and rock element is undeniable too. 

after graduating from the Musicians Institute, he made an impressive start as a session player, recording with artists including Allie Sherlock, Ryan Tedder, Elijah Blake, Grace Sewell, RIAH and Kimie Mine. But recently he's used social media effectively to further his solos ambitions and you can find Ruben's single releases from this year on streaming services including Spotify


Sam Blakelock

New Zealand-born Sam is bringing the smooth jazz on his John Scofield signature Ibanez with a clean tone that leaves nowhere to hide and shines the spotlight on his wonderful feel. 

Like most of the newer school players, you'll find the majority of Sam's latest playing clips over on his Instagram and this year has also seen acoustic single releases from him on Spotify

The 10 best new electric guitars in the world right now, as voted for by you