Guitarist of the Year 2019 launches!


MusicRadar, Guitarist, Total Guitar, Guitar Techniques, Guitar World, Guitar Player and Bass Magazine have begun the search to find the 2019 Guitarist of the Year, Young Guitarist of the Year , Acoustic Guitarist of the Year (sponsored by Takamine) and Bassist of the Year (a new category for 2019).

Following a fantastic 2018 competition, the long-running contest returns for 2019, shining a light on the world’s greatest amateur guitarists and giving talented players the opportunity to show off their skills to a panel of star judges.

Past Guitarist of the Year winners include Guthrie Govan (The Aristocrats, Steven Wilson, Hans Zimmer) and Dave Kilminster (David Gilmour, Steven Wilson). This year’s competition could uncover the guitar heroes of the future.

In addition to walking away with amazing prizes supplied by sponsors PRS and Takamine, plus a year’s supply of Ernie Ball strings, last year’s winners have enjoyed increased exposure as a result of winning their category. Videos of the 2018 live finals alone have generated over 4 million views.

2019 finalists will be selected by a panel of star judges and industry experts, with the finals taking place live on stage at the UK Guitar Show in London on 21 and 22 September. In addition to the prestigious title, winners will walk away with an exclusive prize haul from the biggest names in guitar.

Last year’s star judges included Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert, Mark Tremonti, Jon Gomm, Tommy Emmanuel and Mike Dawes. Confirmed judges for 2019 include John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Steve Lukather (Toto) and Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders) for Guitarist of the Year, Andy McKee for Acoustic Guitarist of the Year, Plini for Young Guitarist of the Year and Mark King (Level 42), Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani), Joe Dart (Vulfpeck) and Robert Trujillo (Metallica) for Bassist of the Year.

Entering the competition is easy: guitarists need to post a video of their playing to YouTube and upload the link to the entry form on MusicRadar (, before selecting the category they want to enter from the drop down menu.

What the judges are looking for:

  • We need to see you play! No promo-style band videos or miming please.
  • Keep it musical. We’re all for fretboard madness and next-level sonics but not at the price of trusty musicality and genuine mastery of multiple techniques.
  • Keep it tight and get to the point fast. Our experts are begging to be impressed so 15 minutes of noodling won’t make the grade.
  • Make it impressive. Go for it. We want to see the full breadth of your skills in as tight a playing package as possible.
  • Just your best video please! Our experts are busy. Don’t make us wade through multiple entries where one would do.
  • Make it sound and look good! Smartphone audio can work fine, but remember to point the camera at yourself, not at the dog.
  • Want to enter all four categories with different videos? ‘Guitarist’, ‘Young Guitarist’, ‘Acoustic’ Guitarist and ‘Bassist’ of the Year? Yeah! Go for it.

A few Guitarist of the Year rules:

  • All entries must be via videos uploaded to YouTube and submitted through the entry form. No other emails or points of contact will be accepted.
  •  Entries must be received by 23.59 (BST) on 3 July 2019.
  •  Young Guitarist of the Year entrants must be 16 or under on 21 September 2019.
  • Don’t call us – we’ll call you if we like what you’re doing.
  • You need to be okay with us sharing your video to our wider online audience, appearing in Future Publishing magazines and playing live on stage at the UK Guitar Show in London on 21/22 September. Live performances will be filmed and live streamed.
  • You need to be available to travel to London for the live final and must cover all your own travel and accommodation costs for the event.
  • As ever, the judge’s decision – picking our finalists and our eventual winner – is final.

Guitarist of the Year is set to be the biggest guitar talent search of 2019 and the competition is now officially open for entries. Get involved by spreading the word through your websites and social channels, using the official hashtag #guitaristoftheyear