As was the case with the 2021 and 2022 lists, the online gear retailer has been kind enough to share a few different round-ups, arranging its findings into overall best-sellers and – for the first time – splitting it into the best-selling new and used guitars of the year.
Upon first appraisal, many of the trends that had been established over the previous 24 month period continue unfalteringly: for the overall best-sellers list, the PRS SE Silver Sky once again comes out on top, and is followed by Fender’s Player series Stratocaster and Telecaster (the latter of which has had something of a resurgence).
This time, though, the US-made Silver Sky drops from fifth down to eighth on the overall list (and is relegated to 11th on the off-the-shelf rankings) and is replaced by another high-end, four-figure contemporarily-styled Stratocaster model: the Fender American Professional II Strat.
This is certainly indicative of the SE Silver Sky’s relative popularity to its pricier sibling and players' returning loyalty to US-made Strats, but the fact it continues to rank higher than Fender’s Mexican-made Player line seemingly speaks volumes of the impact it's had on the wider S-type corner of the market.
Indeed, it seems to be the case that those looking for an affordable Strat model are turning to the SE Silver Sky – an observation further fuelled by the surprising absence of beginner Squier Strats on any of the lists.
While Reverb is quick to comment that PRS’ dealer-wide 20% discount could have also skewed the rankings somewhat, it’s also important to remember this is a phenomenon that has been seen before, and the SE Silver Sky has reigned supreme ever since its release.
The Big F won’t be too worried, though: five Fender Strats made it into the top 20 (including the premium American Vintage II and American Standard models) and Squier had a stronger showing in the new list, with the 40th Anniversary Telecaster, Jazzmaster and Stratocaster once again proving to be some of the most popular Squiers.
It’s also worth noting that Reverb buyers are more likely to be seasoned guitar players looking for new gear, rather than beginners searching for an entry-level instrument. To that end, the relative popularity of the SE Silver Sky to any Squiers makes total sense.
As for Gibson, the brand made a slight improvement on last year, with its Les Paul Standard ‘50s, Les Paul Standard ‘60s and Les Paul Classic cropping up in fifth, sixth and ninth, respectively, on the overall sellers list.
The seventh-placed Fender American Professional II Tele and 10th-placed PRS SE Custom 24 complete the top 10.
While this could suggest Gibson guitars simply aren’t as popular as those above it, the used guitar list paints a totally different picture: there, the Les Paul Standard ‘60s tops the list, with the Les Paul Standard ‘50s coming in at fourth.
Indeed, the full used list includes six Gibsons – that’s four more than was on the new list, and three more than can be found on the overall rankings – including the SG Standard, Les Paul Studio and a surprising revival of (the once-derided) Norlin Era electrics.
Going back to the overall list, other notable entries include a strong 11th-placed finish for the highly praised PRS SE DGT David Grissom signature guitar, which is later followed by two other SE models: the SE Hollowbody II Piezo and CE 24.
There are some curious absences, though, including the PRS NF 53 and Myles Kennedy models, which topped PRS' own best-selling list of 2023.
The full list of overall best-sellers can be found below:
- PRS SE Silver Sky
- Fender Player Stratocaster
- Fender Player Telecaster
- Fender American Professional II Stratocaster
- Gibson Les Paul Standard '60s
- Gibson Les Paul Standard '50s
- Fender American Professional II Telecaster
- PRS Silver Sky John Mayer Signature
- Gibson Les Paul Classic
- PRS SE Custom 24
- PRS SE DGT David Grissom Tremolo Signature
- ESP LTD EC-1000
- Squier Classic Vibe '50s Telecaster
- Fender American Ultra Telecaster
- PRS SE Hollowbody II Piezo
- PRS CE 24
- Fender American Standard Stratocaster
- Squier Classic Vibe '60s Jazzmaster
- Fender American Vintage II '61 Stratocaster
- Fender American Standard Stratocaster (1986-2000)
Elsewhere, Tim Henson’s Ibanez TOD10N nylon-string signature guitar continued its takeover of the acoustic world by beating last year’s winner, the Gretsch G9500 Jim Dandy, to the top spot.
As for the best-selling new acoustics list, the Ibanez FRH10N – no doubt benefitting from the offset acoustic resurgence that Henson’s signature started – edges into the top 10, while the Japanese brand’s TCY10E Talman acoustic (again, probably thanks to Henson) creeps into 17th place.
Another rather surprising takeaway from that list is the relative absence of Taylor and Martin models. To that end, the list features only one Taylor (the GS Mini Mahogany) and three Martins (000-15M, LXK2 Little Martin and LX1 Little Martin).
Those brands have focussed on high-end releases in 2023, though – peep the $18,499 Martin OM-45 and the $4,499 Taylor Builder's Edition 814ce – so maybe their absence in this list is unsurprising, especially in a year where players have had to tighten their purse strings.
Unsurprisingly, more Martin and Taylor representation can be found on the used list, with it becoming clear that the used market (both for electrics and acoustics) continues to flourish – and indeed grow – with many players becoming far more savvy with their top-end gear purchases.
Head over to Reverb's official website to view all of the retailer's end-of-year lists.