Last year brought us a shiny new Van Halen album — the first, in fact, to feature David Lee Roth behind the mic since 1984.
That means the bar was set pretty high for 2013 — at least in terms of major rock events.
Luckily, Black Sabbath came along with a killer of a reunion album (OK, partial reunion) called 13, the band's first studio release to feature Ozzy Osbourne since 1978.
Truth be told, 2013 was a fairly strong year for guitar-centric releases. We got to hear new riffs and/or blinding runs by guys named Tony Iommi, Joe Satriani, Guthrie Govan and John Petrucci. We also were treated to a double dose of Buddy Guy, a touch of Richie Kotzen (and Billy Sheehan), some Warren Haynes, Steven Wilson, Brad Paisley, Chris Broderick, Dave Mustaine and more.
If there's one thing to take away from the 30 albums below, it's this: The guitar is very much alive and well in 2013. It survived the rise of the keyboard in the '80s and the overwhelming bass-barrage of electronic dance music of the early 21st century and shows no signs of waning in relevancy.
Whether you're still plugging into a vintage Vox AC30 with your trusty Strat or just got your hands on an Axe FX and a new Ibanez eight-string, the guitar isn't going away any time soon.
Below, check out Guitar World's picks for the 30 best studio albums of 2013, as chosen by the editorial staff.
Look out for our upcoming year-end lists of 2013's best reissues/box sets/archival releases, plus rock books and more. In the meantime, check out Guitar World Editor-in-Chief Brad Tolinski's picks for the 10 Best Albums of the Year.
See you next year!