I’ve reviewed guitars spanning the entire price spectrum, but which would I take on stage in 2020?
Something that I think gets lost in the shuffle of guitar reviews is how gig-worthy instruments are. Often times I (and other gear fans) are drawn to praise studio ready guitars or instruments that make us want to write a song. Even so, while I view guitars as tools not artwork, I’m still sometimes so hesitant to look at some gorgeous, $4000+ guitar and say “wow, I’d love to play a gig with this!”.
The truth is, I love cheap gear, and I loved having really reliable but affordable stuff to play when I was younger and gigging more. With that note of bias out of the way, I thought it would be fun to look at everything I reviewed in 2020 and pick the guitar I would take up on stage if I had a gig to play tonight.
I’ll post a list of every guitar I’ve reviewed to date at the bottom of the article so you can yell about how I made the wrong choice too!
Not the most expensive or highly rated guitar of 2020 but honestly, I can’t put it down. It’s not perfect and certainly no 10/10, but the neck is so comfortable to me as an avid Fender player and fan. I’m also a huge fan of how hot the pickups are, making it a perfect guitar for live garage rock, punk rock, or anything really in the rock world. The coil split functionality makes it even more versatile. I feel like it also cuts out so much of the added gain provided from the hot wound pickups. Fender’s Lead III could easily go from Young The Giant atmospherics to SWMRS punk snarl with ease through my rig, which is why I’m such a fan. But most of all, it’s pretty cheap, which makes me feel 100 times better about damaging it, or modding it, or replacing it if something were to happen. I’m not sure I’ll ever be in a financial place where I can take the amazing John Petrucci Majesty in Purple Nebula (almost $5k) out and risk losing it, getting it stolen, or smashing it up.
I’m a sucker for Mexican Fenders and honestly this one is just another in a long line of MIM guitars that I will own and use. Ever since I recorded the UG shot of this guitar, I just haven’t haven’t looked back and have made it a staple of my rig. Fender made a great looking, great sounding, and comfortable guitar for like $600 here, and that’s right up my wheelhouse.
Runners Up In Order Of What I’d Take On Stage
- Fender Player Lead III
- Ernie Ball Music Man Sabre
- PRS Silver Sky 2020
- Howl Guitars Sirena 3
- Fano Omnis MG6
- Schecter Ultra III
- Harmony Rebel
- Knaggs Kenai J H2
- Eastman SB59
- Ernie Ball Music Man Majesty Purple Nebula
- Harmony Jupiter
- Morifone Quarzo
- Harmony Juno
- D’Angelico Premier Mini DC
- Gretsch G5622T
Goldfinch Painted Lady 2020(Don’t support this brand!!)
- Harley Benton TE-90QM
- Grote GT-150
- Stadium NY Strat