2022 is officially drawing to a close, meaning it’s currently the perfect opportunity to look back over the past 12 months to revisit some of the best guitar gear we’ve had the pleasure of coming across.
It’s certainly been a year to remember, with a number of knock-out new releases making their way onto the market, from long-awaited electric guitars and boutique acoustic guitars all the way to surprise pedal drops and modern-minded guitar amps.
Not only that, 2022 has also helped cement the status of numerous pre-existing products as serious fan favorites, with many guitars, basses, pedals, amps and more from previous years earning their way onto our end-of-year round-up.
With that said, here is our 2022 holiday ultimate gear guide for the best acoustic guitars of 2022.
Bare Knuckle Polymath Humbucking Pickups
Adam “Nolly” Getgood excels at everything he’s obsessed with, whether as a multi-instrumentalist, producer/engineer/mixer, software designer and more. When the similarly obsessed pickup designers at Bare Knuckle announced their collaboration with Getgood on his own signature Polymath humbuckers, the end result is a pair of impressive pickups that exceeds the previously perceived limitations of a traditional humbucker design.
Played through a variety of amps, the Polymaths delivered phenomenal tone with a pleasant, vocal midrange, lively bass and surprisingly full-bodied treble without harsh overtones. Attack is instantaneous and intoxicatingly percussive and chunky, enhancing the definition of every pick stroke or finger pluck.
The overall sound, particularly when using generous distortion, is dialed in, focused and refined. These pickups simply bring out the best, most desirable frequencies, fatten up the body of individual notes without losing clarity, and deliver expressive dynamics. The investment is similar to the cost of a boutique stomp box and entirely worth it.
$190 (bridge or neck only) $370 (set), bareknucklepickups.co.uk
D’Addario Nexxus 360 Rechargeable Tuner
D’Addario’s Nexxus 360 is their first tuner to use a rechargeable lithium battery, so when it runs out, simply plug it into a USB power hub for a spell and you’re back in business. Other features include full 360-degree rotation, a flexible pivot point, and a bright and colorful LED screen. The Nexxus 360 costs a bit more than similar tuners, but consider that a pair of coin button batteries runs about six bucks and you’ll start to realize how much money it can save over the long haul.
The tuner is an excellent note-recognition device, helping to decipher the fretboard at every turn, which is particularly handy in open tunings. The screen works chromatically, with a semi-circle of 15 LEDs surrounding a large note letter readout. Display and functionality are fabulous, the size is right, and the über-adjustable screen facilitates the line of sight. For those reasons, it earns an Editors’ Pick Award.
Sennheiser HD 400 Pro
Sennheiser’s latest headphones are open-back cans developed for long mixing sessions in the studio, with their black-on-black design following the same form as the cans in their HD 500 series. It’s an iconic look, all flowing organic curves and those arms that dog-leg around the ear cups.
Weighing just half a pound, these plush headphones are more than comfortable enough to handle long hours at the mixing desk. According to Sennheiser, the 120 Ohm transducer installed in each ear cup offers high power, while its dampening system manages ventilation, resulting in deeper bass while mitigating any distortion that will impact clarity. Those clever engineers have also angled the transducers in order to simulate the position of high-end monitors in a studio.
Some headphones do little for your mix beyond keeping your ears warm, but Sennheiser’s HD 400 Pros will provide you with a level of clarity, spaciousness and honesty that you can properly base creative judgements on.
Taylor TaylorSense Guitar Health Monitoring System
What would your guitar tell you if it could talk? Taylor Guitars’ TaylorSense facilitates that proposition by gathering vital information about your instrument and sending updates to your phone. It’s a “smart” battery box, plus an app for iOS or Android devices, that uses sensors to provide guitar health information to the phone via Bluetooth.
It monitors humidity, temperature, battery level and impact incidents, and can send push notifications when issues arise as well as links to handy fix-it videos created by the tech team at Taylor. TaylorSense replaces any “current” Taylor nine-volt battery box, which means guitars featuring the proprietary Expression System 1 or 2, ES-T or ES-N onboard pickup and preamp systems.
Installation requires using a screwdriver and following some instructions, but it’s basic stuff. TaylorSense scored Summer NAMM’s Best In Show awards in the Best Add-On or Accessory category this year, and it easily earns an Editors’ Pick award from us for raising overall guitar-health consciousness.