2018 Readers’ Choice Awards

2018 Readers’ Choice Awards is sponsored by The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide 2019. The Guide gathers input from 35 of the world’s foremost expert dealers, each of whom brings decades of experience in the business. That’s one of many reasons it’s the most-trusted source for values!

Each year, readers choose new members for the VG Hall of Fame in the Player, Innovator, and Instrument categories, along with our annual awards for Album of the Year, Featured Artist of the Year, and Player of the Year in four categories – Rock, Blues, Country, and Jazz. See prior inductees…

Enter your vote below for a chance to win a SUPER PRIZE PACKAGE from Michael Kelly Guitars and Sam Ash Music valued at more than $4,000!

Package includes a Michael Kelly CC50 electric, Koa Special acoustic and Dragonfly acoustic bass (all with deluxe gig bags), Fender Mustang GT100 amp, Hartke HD50 bass amp, ACR5 acoustic amp, Hartke Bass Attack, Chorus, Fuzz, and Looper pedals, and three Samson Concert 88 Guitar Systems.

2018 VG Readers’ Choice Awards Vote

Deadline for entries is December 10, 2018. By submitting this form, you will be automatically entered to win a fantastic prize package of three guitars, two amps, and effects from Michael Kelly Guitars and Sam Ash Music valued at more than $4,000!! Nominations are solicited from editorial contributors and visitors to VintageGuitar.com, followed with compiling a list of finalists with input from VG staff. So, please take a minute to vote below for an instrument, person, and music in all eight categories! New inductees and contest winners will be announced in the April ’19 issue.
  • From left: Peter Green, Danny Gatton, Pete Townshend, Rory Gallagher, and Tommy Emmanuel. Peter Green: W.W.Thaler/H. Weber/Wikimedia Commons. Pete Townshend: Heinrich Klaffs/Wikimedia Commons. Rory Gallagher: Harry Potts/Wikimedia Commons. Tommy Emmanuel: Janet Spinas Dancer/Wikimedia Commons.
  • Peter Green Arguably the greatest torchbearer to emerge among British blues guitarists in the ’60s, he unblinkingly followed in Clapton’s footsteps in John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, then co-founded Fleetwood Mac. His style has never been flashy, but he is cited as an influence by Clapton and Page, praised by B.B. King, and his songs have been covered by artists ranging from Judas Priest to Carlos Santana and Tom Petty.

    Danny Gatton His uncategorizable playing style meshed country, rockabilly, and jazz. Dubbed “The Humbler” he honed his chops in clubs in his hometown Washington, D.C. area (including in his own Redneck Jazz Explosion band, where he traded licks with steel-guitar legend Buddy Emmons) before being noticed by bigger names in the business including Les Paul and Eric Clapton. In 1990, he was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance for the song “Elmira Street Boogie.”

    Pete Townshend Legendary co-founder of The Who, he is its principal songwriter, guiding force, lead guitarist, and co-lead/backing vocalist. The Who were one of the preeminent of the British Invasion thanks to Townshend’s licks – foundational rock-and-roll that has been since cited, copied, and interpreted by generations of players. His contributions to the band’s live performances – the famous windmill strum, leaps, knee-slides, banging a guitar against his head – were the template for “angry” rockers who followed... in droves.

    Rory Gallagher Grounded in the blues but informed by jazz, the Irish-born guitar hero was accomplished on acoustic, electric, and slide guitar as well as mandolin (along with a handful of non-stringed instruments). His very worn trademark ’61 Strat was plugged into a vintage Fender, Vox, or occasional Marshall, with nothing but a cord connecting them. Renowned for their authenticity, his albums have sold in quantities numbering 30 million.

    Tommy Emmanuel Just six when he learned to play guitar to accompany his mother’s lap-steel playing, within a few years he was a devotee of Chet Atkins. After joining bands in his home country of Australia, he emerged as a solo performer in the ’80s, evolving to become the foremost purveyor of “Travis picking” – simultaneously playing bass lines, chords, melodies and harmonies – while mixing virtually every musical form.

  • Ray Butts An accordion player who owned a music store, he repaired amps and invented the EchoSonic, which ushered in the tape echo as taken up further by the Maestro EchoPlex. He cold-called Chet Atkins (hear it on his “Mr. Sandman”) and got the amps into the hands of Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Scotty Moore. He also invented the Gretsch Filter’Tron pickup, which was released almost simultaneous to Gibson’s PAF humbucker.

    Joe Naylor The son of a classical-pianist mother and bassoonist father, as a child he was enthralled by the concept of “fixing” things; within an hour of its purchase, he disassembled his first electric guitar. That penchant for tinkering led to studying industrial design, followed by building Naylor amps, Reverend Guitars, Alltone speakers, and Railhammer Pickups. Today, he’s a consultant for the companies he once owned as well as others in the music industry.

    Alexander Dumble A pioneer in the boutique-amplifier market, he began building in the ’60s and made a name tailoring amps by changing capacitors, output transformers, plate resistors, lead dress, and other elements. His client list includes names like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Robben Ford, Larry Carlton, and Carlos Santana, and his amps are among the most collectible.

    Roger Mayer An electrical engineer who worked with the British navy, in the early ’60s he began creating equipment for top-tier U.K. bands, including guitar effects like a fuzz pedal used by Clapton and Beck in the Yardbirds. A few years later he met Jimi Hendrix, who (of course) had ideas for a fuzz tone all his own; the Octavia was born. In the years since he has continued work in the field of recording-studio electronics and in 2000 was nominated for a Technical Grammy.

    Freddie Tavares A virtuoso steel-guitar player who recorded with everyone from Bing Crosby and Lawrence Welk to Spike Jones and Henry Mancini (and don’t forget the slide lick on the “Looney Tunes” opener!), he hired on at Fender early enough to play a vital role in designing the Stratocaster, Jazzmaster, and other instruments in the VG Hall of Fame.

  • Fender Super Reverb (left), Epiphone Casino, Rickenbacker 4001, Martin D-18.
  • Fender Super Reverb Introduced with perfect timing for the rise of surf rock, Fender’s early Super Reverb (’63-’68) is renowned for the tones created by its 6L6 power tubes delivered with unforgettable thump thanks to four speakers and super-wet reverb.

    Epiphone Casino The budget version of Gibson’s ES-330, it’s a true hollowbody with chrome-covered P-90 pickups. Though louder and brighter than the 335, its lack of a center block makes it more prone to feeding back. Its big break came when Sir Paul (McCartney) scored a used one in the mid ’60s before the other Beatles asked the company for a few. Today, Epi makes several versions.

    Rickenbacker 4001 “The instrument that moved the bass player to center stage” was introduced in ’62 with a new level of flash – checkerboard binding on its top, bound neck, large triangular fretboard inlays, and a second pickup. More expensive than even the fanciest electric guitars, in ’64, it was $429.50 while a custom-color Jazz was $293.47 and Gibson’s Thunderbird IV was $345. Its players include Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, Geddy Lee, Lemmy, and Chris Squire.

    Martin D-18 Introduced in 1916 carrying the Ditson brand, the first Martin-made “dreadnought” employed fan bracing like a classical guitar and drew players of every genre with its sound and playability. By the mid ’30s, the D-18 helped lead the transition from 12- to 14-fret necks, and while dressed plainly to appeal to a “lower” market segment, it has always surrendered little to its fancier siblings.

  • From left: Greta Van Fleet From The Fires, Rocky Athas Shakin’ The Dust, Samantha Fish Belle of the West, Ry Cooder The Prodigal Son
  • If no, watch for one special offer in your email.
  • This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Vintage Guitar magazine. If yes, watch for an email notification of when it's available in our store.
  • This question is sponsored by The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide 2019 and required to enter the giveaway.

See previous winners!!

This article originally appeared in VG December 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

One entry per customer. Winners will be drawn at random. Prizes are not transferable or assignable and they are not redeemable for cash. All winners outside the continental United States are responsible for shipping costs. All winners are responsible for the payment of any and all taxes and/or licenses and/or other related local, State, Federal fees that may apply to such winnings. Taxes on prizes are solely the responsibility of the winners. Vintage Guitar magazine reserves the right to replace the advertised prize(s) with a prize of equal or greater value if the advertised prize(s) is/are no longer available. Vintage Guitar reserves the right to identify winners in all VG media.

2018 Readers’ Choice Awards is sponsored by The Official Vintage Guitar Price Guide 2019. “Whether buying or selling, The VG Price Guide is the only one to use when determining the price of a guitar you just can’t live without… or have to let go. It helps you make informed decisions and save money; every enthusiast should have a copy. Here’s to always getting the guitar you can’t live without – with a little help from your friends at VG!” – Rocky Athas