2021 Guitar Ranks: Everything We Reviewed This Year

While 2021 had a few less guitar reviews than we hoped, it did not lack in quality at all!

All I can say about 2021 is; you could really feel the long term impacts of the pandemic’s impact on the supply chain. Despite being a moderately well known reviewer at best (and that is generous), the number of guitars reviewed this year dropped to 19 from last year’s 41. However, the overall viewership and support for my work has increased in ways I never expected so there is much to be thankful for as well!

And while this year didn’t feature quite the vast number of brands and guitars, it had some incredible quality up and down the list. Some of my biggest surprises this year included how impressive the Sterling by Music Man guitars were as well as how far Fender has taken the Squier products. Vox’s Bobcat S66 was arguably the quirkiest guitar I’ve played in years as well, though it was flanked by some great reissues from Silvertone in 2021 as well.

Interestingly enough, signature models seemed to get a lot of attention this year, both from manufacturers and the media. In a year when it was hard to source loaner guitars to review, I got to try Epiphone’s Joe Bonamassa LP, Sterling’s take on the Mariposa, and Manson’s affordable Matt Bellamy signature.

Some disappointments included the Gibson Explorer, my dream guitar that showed up damaged, and it wasn’t from shipping. On a more positive, two single-P90 guitars absolutely had me drooling from Grez Guitars and Fender, and I’m determined to one day own both of them. In terms of highlights, it is also impossible to put into words how fun the Acoustasonic Stratocaster has been. It is easily the most inspiring and musical instrument I own.

Superlatives:

Best Sub-$500 Guitar: Sterling By Music Man Cutlass CTH50 – read full review

Best Overall: Rubato Guitars Lassie – read full review

Best Import Guitar: Dunable DE Cyclops – read full review

Best Candidate For Mod Project: Squier Affinity Telecaster Deluxe – read full review

Most Versatile: PRS SE Custom 24-08 – read full review

Best Reissue: Vox Bobcat S66 – read full review

ModelRating (1-10)CostGrab Your Own
Rubato Guitars Lassie9.5 out of 10$4300.00rubato.guitars
Fender Acoustasonic Stratocaster 9.4 out of 10$1999.99reverb.com
Grez Guitars Mendocino Junior8.9 out of 10$2700.00reverb.com
Dunable DE Cyclops8.8 out of 10$1099.00reverb.com
PRS SE Custom 24-088.6 out of 10$899.00reverb.com
Vox Bobcat S668.5 out of 10$1399reverb.com
Fender Noventa Series Telecaster 8.3 out of 10$949.99reverb.com
Sterling by Music Man Cutlass CT50HSS 8.3 out of 10$499.99reverb.com
Epiphone Joe Bonamassa Black Beauty Les Paul8.0 out of 10$799.00reverb.com
Sterling by Music Man Mariposa 7.9 out of 10$549.99reverb.com
Silvertone Model 14497.8 out of 10$399.00reverb.com
Gibson Explorer Antique Natural 20217.8 out of 10$1699.00reverb.com
D’Angelico Premier Atlantic7.8 out of 10$699.99reverb.com
Squier Contemporary Stratocaster Special7.4 out of 10$449.99reverb.com
Manson Guitar Works Meta MBM-1 7.4 out of 10$599.99reverb.com
Squier Affinity Telecaster Deluxe7.4 out of 10$279.99reverb.com
RWM Guitars Offset T-Style7.3 out of 10$1300.00rwmguitars.com
Silvertone Model 14787.3 out of 10$499.00reverb.com
Donner DJC-1000S6.5 out of 10$173.99donnerdeal

A Look Back In Time

2019’s Highest Rated Sub-$1000 Guitar: Guild Jetstar (9.7 out of 10, $599)

2019’s Highest Rated $1000+ Guitar: Fender Ultra Stratocaster (9.5 out of 10, $1999)

2020’s Highest Rated Sub-$1000 Guitar: Schecter Ultra III (9.4 out of 10, $949)

2020’s Highest Rated $1000+ Guitar: PRS Silver Sky (9.8 out of 10, $2299)

2021’s Highest Rated Sub-$1000 Guitar: PRS SE Custom 24-08 (8.6 out of 10, $899)

2021’s Highest Rated $1000+ Guitar: Rubato Guitars Lassie

Published by Matt Dunn

Guitar and music journalist for Ultimate-Guitar.com and Guitarsforidiots.com as well as a contributor for Guitarniche.com and Stringjoy.com. Reach out to talk about guitars, commission a partscaster, or ask for a review.

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