GEAR EXPO SUMMER 2022: This year’s list shows the guitar market at an interesting crossroads. You won’t find a standard Strat in this list, although there are plenty of Fender (and Fender-affiliated/inspired) creations out there, and it’s worth noting that even the anniversary and reissue models here push the envelope in some way. .
Not all guitars made from pure unobtainium here either. In our view, some of the most attractive models in today’s electric range come at quite reasonable prices. Scroll on to see our selection of the wide range of six-strings on offer in 2022…
Harley Benton MR Classic
£209 / €248
In the MR range, German retailer Thomann’s house brand adopts the classic Mosrite quirky shape, with a choice of humbucker- and P-90-equipped guitars, as well as baritone options.
The MR Modern adds some flashy hardware upgrades and a tremolo bridge for a relatively modest price increase, but (call us purists) we like the look of the entry-level MR Classic. It features a basswood body and maple neck, two Artec P-90 Alnico 5 pickups, Wilkinson tuners and a 25.5” scale length on a roasted Jatoba fingerboard. Essentially, though, it nails that Mosrite vibe at a very tempting price.
Fender 60th Anniversary American Ultra Luxe Jaguar
A limited “Tuxedo” edition of the Jaguar, the American Ultra Luxe is finished in Texas Tea and, filled with mirror chrome hardware, follows a very attractive line between classic Jaguar looks and sleek modern appointments.
There is an ebony fingerboard with rolled edges and a raised D-shaped neck. It is equipped with Custom Double Tap humbuckers, which can be split by the rocker switches on the upper bell. Finally, there is a fixed bridge through the body and a TUSQ nut, which should provide very stable tuning.
Learn more about the Fender 60th Anniversary American Ultra Luxe Jaguar
Fender Player Plus Meteora HH
£859 / $1,149
The much-discussed Meteora shape debuted in 2018, but now joins Fender’s colorful and well-equipped Player Plus series lineup.
In terms of specifications, you have the choice between finishes and boards available in Pau ferro or maple (with rolled edges). It is equipped with two Fireball humbuckers, two tone controls and a master volume, which also serves as a coil switch. Elsewhere there are locking tuners, a two-point tremolo and 22 jumbo frets.
Learn more about the Fender Player Plus Meteora HH
Sterling By Music Man StingRay SR50
£699 / $599
Another dual-humbucker model, the SR50 has been refreshed for 2022 and now comes with a roasted maple neck with a rosewood or roasted maple fingerboard and locking tuners.
There’s also a vintage tremolo mounted on a poplar body, Sterling by Music Man-designed humbucking pickups and a choice of two finishes in Buttermilk or Firemist Silver – we think the former is particularly tasty.
Learn more about the Sterling By Music Man StingRay SR50
PRS SE Sky Silver
£895 / $849
The most talked about guitar on the shelves this year was pretty much an unqualified triumph. It’s poplar construction (as opposed to the alder of the original), with a maple neck and rosewood fingerboard. There are three PRS 635JM ‘S’ single coils, a two-point steel tremolo, and PRS-designed vintage-style tuners.
We live in a time when the ‘affordable’ version of a high-end instrument sells for the better part of £1000, but it’s hard to argue with the meticulous build and tone quality available from the SE Silver. Sky.
Read the full PRS SE Silver Sky review
Gretsch G2215-P90 Streamliner Junior Jet Club P90
£385 / $399
Streamliner models tend to represent excellent build quality – with solid hardware and very usable pickups – at affordable prices.
The Junior Jet Club P90 actually debuted last year but has received three very attractive new finishes (Shell Pink, Ocean Turquoise and Havana Burst) for 2022. Elsewhere you’ll find Broad’Tron™ BT-2S bridge pickups and P90 Soap Bar neck, nickel hardware and an anchored compensated wraparound bridge.
Learn more about the Gretsch G2215-P90 Streamliner Junior Jet Club P90
Squier FSR Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster
Resplendent, yet understated, in olive green, this limited-edition baritone model is an FSR (Fender Special Run) model, designed to offer something different. And that is the case.
There’s that 27-inch scale for starters, plus two Fender-designed soapbar pickups. Meanwhile, a cutaway black pickguard and flat-top knobs – plus that Special Run finish – all give it a lean yet heavy aesthetic. The tones will match: think of a moody, full-bodied twang and you’re on the right track.
Learn more about the Squier FSR Paranormal Baritone Cabronita Telecaster
Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HH 2PT CM Poplar Burl
£949 / $1,299
This DK24 may have a classic body shape but, as you’d expect from Chervil’s “hot-rodded” Pro-Mod line, it’s a thoroughly modern metal guitar.
Beneath that eye-catching burl poplar top is an alder body, which is paired with a graphite-reinforced maple neck. A sculpted heel and low back give ample access to fast frets. Then there’s a pair of Seymour Duncan Full Shred SH-10B and Alnico II Pro APH-1N pickups (with series/parallel switching options), plus a Gotoh Custom 510 tremolo.
Learn more about the Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HH 2PT CM Poplar Burr
Ibanez AZ Premium AZ471QM
£1,129 / $1,866
Ibanez pushes the boat out with the AZ471QM, incorporating a host of new features that represent firsts for the lineup, namely: an ebony board, DiMarzio humbuckers and an HSH setup.
You’ll find an Air Norton pickup in the neck, True Velvet in the middle, and The Tone Zone in the bridge, while the body is basswood with a quilted maple top. There’s also a Gotoh bridge, glow-in-the-dark side markers, and a Gotoh bridge.
Learn more about the Ibanez AZ Premium AZ471QM
Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster
£359 / $479
Like the original Contemporary Starcaster, this new active variant for 2022 is a sealed hollow body construction, which should help tame unwieldy feedback.
It’s fitted with Squier’s SQR Active humbuckers and, alongside the sophisticated finish of the pickups, features some nice contemporary touches, such as a sculpted neck heel, which aids in higher frets.
Learn more about the Squier Contemporary Active Starcaster
Custom PRS S2 24-08
£1,699 / $1,929
The flexible Custom 24-08 – so called because of its eight tone controls – has arrived in PRS’ US-made but discounted S2 line.
It uses a mahogany body with a maple top, maple neck and rosewood top (with 24 frets and the usual 25-inch scale length) and features a pair of 85/15 “S” pickups. . Two toggle switches can be used in conjunction with the three-way pickup selector and master volume/tone to open the eight coil and humbucker tone options.
Learn more about the PRS S2 Custom 24-08
Fender JV Modified ’60s Custom Telecaster
£1,299 / $1,349
A reissue of a reissue, of sorts – Fender’s JV Modified range is based on its much-loved vintage Japanese reissues from the 80s.
This ’60s-style Tele looks the part, but has both a four-way switch (so you can select pickups in series and parallel), as well as the ability to toggle the pickups in and out of phase via a push-pull tone potentiometer. So it’s brimming with variety of tones, while a satin collar with a soft ‘V’ finish offers a compelling combination of looks and function.
Learn more about the Fender JV Modified ’60s Custom Telecaster