Young Guitarist of the Year 2018 judges speak! “Enthusiasm, fire and passion trump a flawless performance”

The 2018 Young Guitarist of the Year competition is hotting up with loads of impressive entries already hitting the MusicRadar inbox. If you’re 16 or under, love the guitar and want to get your playing in front of a panel of star judges, this competition is for you.

Entering Young Guitarist of the Year is easy: shoot a video of your playing, upload it to YouTube and send us the link using the form below.

However, if you’re still unsure whether to enter, maybe our judges can help you decide. We sat down with Dorje and Chapman Guitars overlord Rob Chapman and MusicRadar’s Best New Guitarist 2017 Chris Buck - who will judge alongside Bullet For My Valentine’s Matt Tuck - to hear their own guitar competition triumphs and woes, and to find out what they looking for in this year’s entrants.

Older than 16?

Did you ever enter any guitar competitions or battle of the bands when you were younger, and if so, how did you do?

Rob Chapman: “I entered one Battle of the Bands many years ago in Bath. I didn’t do great because I was really nervous.”

Chris Buck: “I did! I entered Caerphilly Young Contemporary Musician of the year when I was around 14. I won and had my photo taken with the Mayor. Those were the days…”

What qualities are you looking for from Young Guitarist of the Year entries?

RC: “Individuality, musicality, feel and somebody who has great hand tone.”

CB: “Early signs of a natural flair and a love of playing the instrument. Being a guitarist is about more than just technical proficiency; it’s being connected to the music in some way and more importantly, enjoying it. It’s music, not maths. Let rip!”

Being a guitarist is about more than just technical proficiency.

Chris Buck

What tips would you offer players looking to enter?

RC: “Be yourself and try to speak through the guitar rather than just throwing shapes.”

CB: “Be yourself and play what you love, from the heart with all that you’ve got. Enthusiasm, fire and passion trump a ‘flawless performance' any day of the week!”

What does playing guitar mean to you?

RC: “Playing guitar for me is an expressive release. Writing music in general is a way of life and something that I find I can’t live without.”

CB: “Expressing yourself and playing music for the love of playing music.”

Enter the competition here!

6 tips for success

  1. We need to see you play! No promo-style band videos please.
  2. Keep it tight. Get to the point fast. Our experts are begging to be impressed so 15 minutes of noodling won’t make the grade.
  3. 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.
  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. Want to enter all three categories? ‘Guitarist’ ‘Young Guitarist’ and ‘Acoustic’ Guitarist of the Year? Yeah! Go for it.


  1. All entries must be via videos uploaded to YouTube and submitted through the entry form above.
  2. Young Guitarist of the Year entrants must be 16 or under on 29 September 2018.
  3. Entries must be received by 23.59 (BST) on 2 July 2018.
  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, appearing in the magazine and playing live on stage at the UK Guitar Show in London on 29 September.
  6. As ever, the judge’s decision – picking our finalists and our eventual winner – is final.

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