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Unpack the compositional brilliance of Gretchen Menn and Helen Ibe's No Limits Challenge finale performances

Earlier this spring, Martin – in partnership with Guitar World – launched the No Limits Challenge, a contest that sees eight YouTube-savvy guitarists face off against one another and cover tunes you wouldn't normally associate with an acoustic, using one of the company's offset SC models.

For the quarterfinal round, the eight competitors were split into four genres – funk/R&B, '80s rock, '90s rock and classic rock. Sophie BurrellR.J. RonquilloHelen Ibe and Gretchen Menn advanced from there to the semifinal round, which featured two more genre-based face-offs.

From there, in turn, Ibe and Menn advanced to the much-anticipated final round.

For the finale, the two great players got to play essentially whatever they wanted – as long as they used an SC-10. Menn took the opportunity to perform a beautiful, original acoustic instrumental called Venice, while Ibe showed off her impeccable compositional skills with a brilliant, energetic mash-up of Classical Gas and Stevie Wonder's Superstition.

We've recruited GW's resident tech/gear guru Paul Riario and video editor Alan Chaput to take a closer look at the performances and share their thoughts on them. You can check out their commentary above. 

Alan and Paul might be our judges, but – as ever – they don't actually choose the winner of each face-off. That task happens to be in your hands. Check out their breakdown of the performances above – and/or give each of them a spin below without the commentary – scroll down to the box at the bottom of the article, and cast a ballot for your favorite. It's that simple.

For more info on Martin's SC acoustics, visit the company's website (opens in new tab).

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.