2014 - what a year! We've seen quite a lot of great stuff being released these past twelve months, quite often mixing the innovative with the traditional. If there's one thing last year has taught us, is that guitarists today want modern features that fit their 21st-Century lifestyle, but also want the classic tones that have been the backbone of Rock'n'Roll since the 1950's.
1) BOSS RC1 Loop Station Pedal
In the past few years, especially since Ed Sheeran became one of the hottest musical acts in the world, loop pedals have been getting increasingly popular. There was only one problem - many artists needed something more intuitive and easier to use. The Boss RC-1 is an affordable, user-friendly and versatile pedal that quickly became one of the hottest FX pedals we sell. Every guitarist should try one - it's also great fun! view info
2) Line 6 AMPLIFi range
We always knew Line 6 were good and made some great products... but still, the AMPLIFi range was a HUGE leap forward and a perfect encapsulation of all the best 2014 had to offer - cutting edge technology, and classic tones. Utilising a unique Wet/Dry speaker output configuration, the Amplifi series is able to deliver both your original dry guitar tone and a signal with DSP effects at the same time, thanks to 2 mid range and 2 high-frequency drivers to compliment the 12" Celestion woofer in the cab. The result is staggering - a rich, detailed tone and surprising low-end frequency response from a lightweight and portable cabinet. You can also stream tracks wirelessly from any Bluetooth-enabled device. And in 2015, the AMPLIFi TT Tabletop amp has all it takes to make the range even more popular!
3) Electro-Harmonix B9 and C9 Organ Machine pedals
Sure, we all know lots of guitarists dream of sounding like Hendrix, Page or Clapton. What few would have guessed, is that they wanted to also sound like Ray Manzarek from The Doors or Deep Purple's Jon Lord! The Electro-Harmonix B9 Organ Machine took everyone by surprise in 2014, with it's very credible vintage organ sounds!
But that wasn't enough - in December, Electro-Harmonix announced the C9 Organ Machine, which was even better, with settings that perfectly reproduced classic organ sounds from bands like Led Zeppelin, The Doors and The Beatles (the Strawberry Fields Forever mellotron).
For those thorn between the B9 and the C9, just choose both!
4) Fender & Squier 60th Anniversary Stratocasters
The most popular guitar of all time, the Stratocaster, was first released in 1954, and to mark this very special 60th Anniversary, Fender and Squier offered a few very special, limited-edition 60th Anniversary models. It's hard to pick one, but the Squier Aztec Gold looks great and is a bargain for the price.
5) Focusrite iTrack Pocket
This very portable and affordable recording interface for iPhone was another big surprise and simply perfect for singer-songwriter on the go, allowing anyone to make great sounding HD videos ready to easily upload on YouTube. view info
6) Korg SDD-3000 Digital Delay
Another modern reinvention of classic retro gear. The original SDD-3000 Digital Delay was a rack effect used by many top guitarists, from U2's The Edge to Muse's Matt Bellamy. Now, has Korg brought it back in fx pedal form, and it is already one of the best and most versatile delays pedals available today! view info
7) Gibson Les Paul Classic 2014
Though it arrived in December 2013, it's technically a 2014 release so we'll include it here. Another great guitar from Gibson, following the same trend we described previously - classic & vintage tone, but with added modern features. Some players were suspicious of a "3 knob" Les Paul, but truth is you hardly notice it, and the toggle switch gives the player even more tonal possibilities. Which makes this beauty a big winner in our book! view details
8) TC Helicon Voicelive Play
Tailored specifically for electric guitar, the TC Helicon Play Electric takes everything the Voicelive Play series offered singers and adds a whole new dimension with it's selection of award-winning TC Electronic guitar effects. Play Electric takes some of the award-winning amp modelling from the TC Voicelive 3 pedal, ranging from vintage British to classic American. view info
9) Epiphone Slash AFD guitar packs
Epiphone deserve rock'n'roll kudos for releasing the best starter guitar this year - the Slash AFD signature, available in two different packs - with or without a guitar amp. This electric guitar looks and sounds great, an affordable Les Paul that's ideal for beginners. view more
10) TC Electronic Alter Ego V2
The Alter Ego V2 is yet another product following the same main trend of 2014 - new and modern features, and classic vintage tones! The V2 brings back the sound of some legendary vintage units, such as the Wem Copycat and the Binson Echorec (famously used by Pink Floyd). view more
11) Yamaha LS6 ARE Electro Acoustic Guitar
Quite possibly the best new acoustic guitar we've seen in 2014 - fantastic finish, gig-worthy quality, and yet still affordable enough. With a balance between solid bass and sweeter top end the LS body shape is well suited to finger style guitarists. The LS6 marries quality acoustic guitar tradition with a cutting edge pickup and proprietary ARE treatment for that 'vintage guitar feel'. view more
12) Blackstar FLY 3 Mini Guitar Amp
Last but not least, this little guitar amp instantly gained many admirers later in the year, when it was released. the Fly 3 is an innovative, 3 Watt, mini guitar amp with trademark Blackstar Tone, quality and features.
Combining two channels for Clean and Overdriven tonal options, Blackstar's patented Infinite Shape Feature (ISF) EQ and a ‘tape’ delay effect, the Fly 3 is the ultimate portable amp to accompany you and your tablet or smartphone for those spontaneous creative moments at home or travelling. view more
By Ivan Silva