John Petrucci, Nita Strauss and John 5 are your Electric Guitarist of the Year 2020 judges

[L-R] Nita Strauss, John 5 and John Petrucci
(Image credit: Press)

Guitarist of the Year 2020 is well underway, and the submissions are coming in thick and fast. This year's categories are Acoustic Guitarist, Electric Guitarist, Bassist, Young Guitarist (17 and under) and Guitar Teacher of the Year.

We're now extremely excited to announce your star-studded lineup of judges for the Electric Guitarist category.

Judging your submissions will be Dream Theater founder and all-round prog god John Petrucci, Alice Cooper guitarist – and solo artist in her own right – Nita Strauss, and bona fide shredder John 5.

For those unaware, Guitarist of the Year is the search for best guitar talent in the world, hosted by Guitar World, Guitar Player and Bass Player.

Winners will not only receive high-ticket prizes, but they'll also be featured in Guitar World and Guitar Player, opening the door to tons of online exposure.

Each category has a $30 entry fee, apart from Guitar Teacher of the Year, which is free to enter. A portion of this fee will be donated to the NAMM Foundation, a music-based charity that support music education and music making for people of all ages and abilities. We're accepting submissions for all categories between September 1 and October 31, so get yours in now.

In order to enter the paid-entry categories, entrants must shoot and upload a video (up to three minutes long) of themselves playing to YouTube or Vimeo, and fill out a brief 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.

To enter now, head to Guitarist of the Year Awards.

John Petrucci

John Petrucci

(Image credit: Rayon Richards)

AKA “the lord of the strings,” John Petrucci's deep dedication to guitar mastery enabled him to defy the notion that prog-rock died out with wide lapels, daisy appliqués and other artifacts of the '70s. 

He launched Dream Theater in 1985, and the band has since become the standard bearer of the prog-metal scene. His blazing new solo album, Terminal Velocity, is out now.

Nita Strauss

Nita Strauss

(Image credit: Jen Rosenstein)

The former Iron Maidens guitarist has been an electrifying force in Alice Cooper’s band since 2014. Since then, this former Guitar World columnist has launched a successful solo career, snagged numerous guitar-mag covers and become the first woman to have her own signature Ibanez guitar, the JIVA10 (which also happens to feature her very own signature DiMarzio pickups).

John 5

John 5

(Image credit: Press)

This deeply dedicated Tele-master isn’t just hooked on the guitar – he’s addicted to playing onstage, writing songs and recording for himself, his friends and Rob Zombie, which he joined in 2005 after leaving Marilyn Manson. 

He’s recorded nine solo albums and guested or co-written with more than two-dozen artists, including Nikki Sixx, Tommy Lee, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, Halestorm and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.