Once again, guitarists have impressed and mesmerised us with their absolutely fascinating skills this year. New heroes are attracting attention with skills that would have been unthinkable decades ago. Here is our list of the top 10 guitarists of 2023 🎸
1. Tim Henson – Polyphia
Tim Henson is a founding member of the Texas-based instrumental progressive rock band Polyphia. The up-and-coming guitarist and Instagram star is known for his vibrant music and has a huge following on social media. Polyphia have set a new trend in nylon string guitars with their latest singles and the Tim Henson Signature TOD10N-TKR signature guitar has been in high demand from fans. Henson is an Ibanez endorser and has already been honoured with several custom-made guitars by the. The Ibanez TOR10N was first seen in the video for “Playing God”. This is a nylon-string acoustic-electric guitar with a solid spruce top and classic bracing.
2. Sophie Lloyd – Machine Gun Kelly
Sophie Lloyd is constantly causing a stir in the internet guitar community, most recently with her shred version of the Dire Straits song “Sultans of Swing”. The British rock guitarist is known for her virtuoso instrumental covers of legendary classics on her YouTube channel. She has about a million followers and fans on both YouTube and Instagram. Besides this, Sophie is also the current guitarist for superstar Machine Gun Kelly. Kiesel – the Californian guitar maker formerly known as Carvin – has honoured this exceptional guitarist with a complete guitar series.
3. Mateus Asato
The Brazilian guitarist Mateus Asato is considered one of the “(…) most influential guitar players” of the modern era. He even reached the top 3 spot on Guitar World Magazine’s list of the top 10 guitarists of the 2020s – wow! Asato has worked with some of the most famous names in music right now, including Bruno Mars, Silk Sonic, Jessie J, Tori Kelly, and many more. With skills like his, it’s obvious that Mateus plays a very high-quality guitar, namely the Suhr Mateus Asato Classic S MN BK. This guitar features a special noise cancellation system designed to provide transparent noise reduction without batteries, as opposed to an active system.
4. Jared James Nichols – Power Trio
Jared James Nichols knows all too well that it’s not easy to establish yourself in the global guitar scene. After all, it took him more than ten years to earn his spot alongside his idols such as Soundgarden, Hendrix, the Gunners, Alice in Chains, or Deep Purple – and now he is on our list of the top 10 guitarists of 2023! For a long time, Jared was an endorser of Gibson’s subsidiary Epiphone, known for firing off his blues skills on his Old Glory with just a single P90 pickup and no plectrum at all. At 33 years old, he now receives the recognition he deserves as an ambassador for Gibson, with two signature guitars to his name.
5. Nita Strauss – Alice Cooper & Co.
This Los Angeles-based mega guitarist is without a doubt one of the top 10 guitarists of 2023, even across generations. After achieving initial success with the female Iron Maiden cover band “The Iron Maidens”, she went on to collaborate with Alice Cooper. There are persistent rumours that one of her ancestors on her father’s side was the composer Johann Strauss. That’s bollocks. But she is still simply brilliant. In 2023, she has once again left her mark on the high-speed guitar scene. With the JIVA10-DSB, Ibanez is offering a cool signature model for Nita Strauss.
6. Cory Wong
The guitarist, producer, and composer Cory Wong already made a name for himself in the early 2010s with his wild jam sessions alongside Prince’s rhythm section, among other things. Cory mainly works in the jazz and funk genres, where the solo artist and Vulfpeck guitarist has long been considered one of the most influential figures. It is no coincidence that he was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best New Age Album” category for his album with Jon Batiste. Cory remains one of the most prolific guitarists in 2023. Fender honoured the fact that Cory Wong is predominantly a Strat player with a signature model with a push/pull feature and custom pickups in 2021.
7. Ichika Nito
He simply plays anything he can get his hands on, including guitars and even harps: Ichika Nito truly is a phenomenon of the new generation and joins the list of the most extraordinary guitarists of 2023. His fascinating playing technique went viral immediately. A whopping 1.5 million subscribers are mesmerised by his skills, which range from hybrid to fingerstyle to two-handed tapping and much more. There’s nothing that the twenty-something doesn’t interpret in his own unique style. Naturally, manufacturers took note. His current signature model from Ibanez isn’t a headless guitar and goes by the name of Ibanez ICHI00-VWH.
8. Orianthi Panagaris
The Australian guitarist Orianthi is known for her striking stage presence. At the young age of 18, she was discovered by none other than Carlos Santana. She had her international breakthrough with stage appearances alongside Prince and ZZ Top and on Steve Vai’s world tour, among others, and was eventually chosen by Michael Jackson as a member of the backing band for his farewell concerts. These concerts never happened, but she did perform at the memorial service. Orianthi is a PRS endorser. The signature models are limited editions, so you need to be quick to get your hands on one. There’s also an acoustic from Gibson: the Orianthi SJ-200 Lotus.
9. Lari Basilio
Being a technical and melodic player at the same time has always come naturally to Lari. Many of her fans feel that she has taken the electric guitar in a new direction and to a new level. Lari won the Samsung E-Festival 2012 and performed in front of a crowd of 15,000 people. She definitely deserves a spot on our list of the top 10 guitarists of 2023. Her signature model – the Ibanez LB1-WH Lari Basilio – is typically fitted with Seymour Duncan Lari Basilio humbuckers at the bridge and 2 Seymour Duncan Lari Basilio single coils in the centre and neck positions.
10. Matteo Mancuso
He was considered a guitar prodigy and performed with some of the most famous musicians at a young age: Matteo Mancuso is a rising star of the fusion scene. His highly unusual technique and extraordinary musicality are simply awe-inspiring – some call him a “virtuoso among virtuosos”. Matteo is as likeable as he is inspiring and proficient on the guitar. For example, check out his relaxed and effortless interpretations of songs by Allan Holdsworth. The international guitar press repeatedly reported on his incredible skills and his collaboration with Yamaha began at the 2019 NAMM Show in Los Angeles.
What do YOU think?
That was just a brief selection of some of the guitarists who impressed us the most in 2023. Who is your star of the year? We’re already looking forward to your comments!