The world’s most influential guitar gear designers: meet the pioneers behind the innovations that changed the electric guitar forever

Paul Reed Smith speaks onstage at the 2020 NAMM Show
Paul Reed Smith (Image credit: Jesse Grant / Stringer / Getty Images)

The most influential guitar gear designers of the last century or so may have all made huge contributions to the evolution of the style and sound of electric guitar builds, but browsing the list below, it’s clear they are by no means treated equally in the eyes of history. 

Whether that is down to merit, marketing or the simple limits of our collective technical knowledge, is open to debate. What’s not up for argument is that there are three clear tiers apparent in the names listed below.

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).

With contributions from