Are you the Guitarist of the Year?

Young man playing electric guitar
(Image credit: HEX)

Update (11.03.20): The deadline for entries has been extended until November 15 – there's still time to get your submission in!

Get practicing: Guitar World – and Guitar Player – have begun the search for 2020’s Guitarist of the Year. This year’s categories include Electric Guitarist, Acoustic Guitarist, Bass Guitarist, Young Guitarist (age 17 and under) and a new category, Guitar Teacher of the Year.

In addition to walking away with prizes supplied by sponsors, contest winners will be featured in Guitar World and Guitar Player, and receive YouTube and online exposure – videos of the finals of the past two years have generated more than four-million views.

The 2020 finalists will be selected by GW and GP editors and star judges (including John Petrucci, John 5 and Nita Strauss for the Electric Guitarist category and Tracy Wormworth for Bass, with several more being added soon). Past Guitarist of the Year winners include Dave Kilminster (Roger Waters, Steven Wilson) and Guthrie Govan.

It costs $30 to enter each category, a portion of which will be donated to music-based charity the NAMM Foundation. Guitar Teacher of the Year is free to enter. We’re accepting submissions for all categories between September 1 and October 31.

For the paid-entry categories, guitarists must shoot and submit a video (up to three minutes long) of themselves to YouTube or Vimeo, and fill out a short nomination form. For Guitar Teacher of the Year, students must nominate their teachers, and the teachers with the most nominations will be featured and judged.

What the judges are looking for

  • We need to see you play! No promo-style band videos or miming, please.
  • Keep it musical. We’re all for fretboard madness and next-level sonics, but not at the price of musicality and genuine mastery of multiple techniques.
  • Keep it tight and get to the point fast. Our experts are begging to be impressed, so three minutes of noodling won’t make the grade.
  • Make it impressive. We want to see the full breadth of your skills in as tight a playing package as possible.
  • Make it sound and look good! Smartphone audio can work fine, but remember to point the camera at yourself, not at your dog.
  • Want to enter all four categories with different videos? “Electric Guitarist,” “Young Guitarist,” “Acoustic Guitarist” and “Bass Guitarist” of the Year? Go for it – but please remember it’s $30 per category.

A few rules

  • All entries must be via videos uploaded to YouTube and submitted through No other emails or points of contact will be accepted.
  • Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. (EST) October 31, 2020.
  • Young Guitarist of the Year entrants must be 17 or younger on October 31, 2020.
  • Don’t call us – we’ll call you if we like what you’re doing.
  • You need to be okay with us sharing your video to our wider audience, appearing in Future Publishing magazines, on our websites, in our newsletters and more.
  • As ever, the judges’ decision – picking our finalists and our eventual winners – is final.
  • While we welcome entries from around the world, any travel costs associated with the prize will only be considered from within North America.

Guitarist of the Year is set to be the biggest guitar talent search of 2020, and the competition is now officially open for entries. Get involved by spreading the word through your sites and social channels, using the official hashtag #guitaristoftheyear

For more information, visit

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Since 1980, Guitar World has brought guitarists the best in-depth interviews with great players, along with exclusive lessons, informative gear reviews and insightful columns that help guitarists grow and excel on their instrument. Whether you want to learn the techniques employed by your guitar heroes, read about their latest projects or simply need to know which guitar is the right one to buy, Guitar World is your guide.