The Best Guitars 2023 is a list of the Top 5 new electric guitar models that should be on your radar. Each one offers something that makes it stand out amongst the hundreds of new releases so far this year. Be sure to read our Best Guitar Amps 2023 and Best Effects Pedals 2023 as well.
SE Silver Sky Maple
The PRS SE Silver Sky Maple was a great release this year and built on the already popular Strat-style John Mayer affordable signature model.
Offering something that Fender just couldn’t materialise this year and at a very reasonable price point.
Key specifications include a poplar body, a bolt-on maple neck, and a maple fretboard.
These all have 22-frets fitted to a 25.5” scale length neck that features the original 635JM neck carve and has an 8.5” fretboard radius.
They come with a set of three single-coil 635JM “S” pickups. Voiced to offer classic vintage single-coil tones.
Plus, it has the two-point steel tremolo, a synthetic bone nut, and a set of vintage-style tuners
There is a lot to like here and the price point is well under £1000 and includes a really nice good quality PRS gig-bag.
Tonally, it offers a vintage-flavoured Fender Stratocaster tone along with a more modern refined styling, yet has quite traditional specifications.
Many guitarists are using these professionally, as they punch well above their price point, in terms of quality and playability.
Eastman Juliet LA Celestine Blue
Next up is the Eastman Juliet LA Celestine Blue model which was released earlier this year and offers a very stylish-looking instrument.
The Celestine Blue finish covers the solid Okoume body and a one-piece Okoume neck that has an ebony fretboard with a 12″ radius and 22 Jescar FW47104-P frets plus an unbleached bone nut.
It looks great with matching black plastics and nickel hardware throughout. I also like that it has an inlaid pickguard and control switch cover, so it looks well thought out.
Overall, I classy looking offset body shape and that raised centre block looks fantastic.
It is also no slouch in the tone department and comes fitted as standard with a pair of Seymour Duncan Phat Cat P-90 pickups with Gold Foil Radiator covers.
This model comes as standard with a Göldo Les Trem system and a Göldo 3-Point Vario “moving” bridge. Along with a set of staggered Göldo K-Line locking tuners.
Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute
The Harley Benton SC-550SL Gotoh Tribute model offers classic Single-Cut styling and vintage Gibson-esque looks, just at a fraction of the price.
It is part of the Thomann in-house brand’s Deluxe Series and if you are on a budget, this model offers a lot of value for many.
This particular model comes in an Autumn Flame Burst gloss finish.
Specifications include a chambered Meranti body, which is a type of mahogany that comes from East Asia and is perfect for this style of guitar.
This is covered in a very nice-looking AAAA flamed maple veneer top.
It has a glued-in ’60s profile Meranti neck with a Pau Ferro 12″ radius fretboard fitted with 22 Blacksmith stainless steel frets and a set of classic trapezoid fret inlays.
Pickups are a pair of Tesla Opus-1 Zebra Alnico-5 humbuckers. These are then controlled via a 3-way switch, along with a tone and volume control for each pickup.
Hardware includes the set of Gotoh Kluson tuners, a DLX Tune-O-Matic bridge, and a stop tail.
A good lightweight solid Single-Cut style guitar and also a very affordable one. Perfect, for guitarists that need something reliable that won’t break the bank.
Upgrades like Gotoh tuners and stainless steel frets are what make this budget model stand out from the crowd this year.
EVH MIJ Series Signature Wolfgang
Now for something a little more ‘modern’, the new EVH MIJ Series Signature Wolfgang models offer a great platform for more high-performance guitar styles.
Though they will easily cover blues, rock, and country licks, these will also shred with the best of them.
The EVH Wolfgang Alnico 2 (bridge position) and Alnico 3 (neck position) humbuckers are perfect for the job. The controls consist of a three-way pickup selector switch (wired upside down), Volume and Tone controls, and an arcade button-style Kill Switch on the lower horn.
The Volume knob uses a custom-designed EVH BI Tech HPU low-friction pot and treble bleed circuit, while the Tone knob has a Bournes high-friction pot.
Eddie Van Halen designed the Wolfgang models over a 20-year-plus period of time, refining and tweaking the design over his career and bringing all his real-world knowledge into play.
Key specifications include the basswood body, a Big Leaf maple carved top, and a bolt-on quartersawn maple 25.5” scale length neck. The necks come with a super smooth hand-rubbed satin urethane finish.
They have a 12”-16” compound radius ebony fretboard fitted with 22 stainless steel frets.
Black or Ivory
Both colours come with a decked EVH-branded Floyd Rose locking tremolo fitted with an EVH D-Tuna, plus an R2 locking nut, and an easy-access heel-mount truss rod wheel.
The specifications are great on these and being made in Japan you can expect a high build quality throughout.
Finally, I have chosen the new Shergold Telstar which was designed in the UK by British luthier Patrick James Eggle and really could be one of the best-value guitars of 2023.
I wrote about this one earlier this year when it was first revealed to the public and it is a very good instrument.
They have a lightweight build that uses a poplar body and has an ergonomic offset styling and a string-through-body design paired with a Hipshot-style bridge.
The 16″ radius laurel fretboard and bolt-on 25.5” maple neck, for modern playability and a comfortable playing experience.
They are available in Pastel Blue and Champagne Gold finishes, which I think really does suit the overall design in both colour options.
The pickups are a pair of Page FilterSonic humbuckers, which have what is described as “a distinctive blend of warm and bright tone”.
These are wired using a single Volume and Tone control, with a three-way pickup selector switch in the top horn of the body.
It is a very affordable guitar and priced at £379 in the UK which is super cheap for what it offers.
Definitely, one to watch out for and a guitar that offers something a little different from the thousands of Strat, Tele and Les Paul-inspired guitars on the marketplace.
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