Rapier 33 review

A blast from the past in the form of a new version of a British-made guitar that first appeared in the late-'50s. Is it still valid after all these years?

Rapier 33
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

You can’t help thinking you’re getting a lot of guitar for the money with the Rapier 33, and it’s a refreshing change to the multitude of more standard Strat-inspired electrics out there.


  • +

    Good build.

  • +

    Excellent feel to the neck with slick playability.

  • +

    Stable vibrato.

  • +

    Nicely voiced hum-cancelling pickups.

  • +

    Lots of sounds beyond the 60s clichés.


  • -

    We’d prefer a standard nut rather than the zero fret.

  • -

    Here’s hoping that Rapier doesn’t ignore the left-handed player.

You can trust Guitar World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing guitar products so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Gentlefolk of a certain age might well remember Watkins’ Rapier models the first time around. For the rest of us, they’re a footnote, a nod back to the time when us Brits made guitars in considerable numbers. 

But like any modern retro repro, the backstory is irrelevant to the quality and price of the instrument on offer – and that’s what we’re concentrating on here. Although at a lowly full list price of £429, this new Chinese-made Rapier 33 doesn’t exactly inspire confidence…

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Dave Burrluck
Gear Reviews Editor, Guitarist

Dave Burrluck is one of the world’s most experienced guitar journalists, who started writing back in the '80s for International Musician and Recording World, co-founded The Guitar Magazine and has been the Gear Reviews Editor of Guitarist magazine for the past two decades. Along the way, Dave has been the sole author of The PRS Guitar Book and The Player's Guide to Guitar Maintenance as well as contributing to numerous other books on the electric guitar. Dave is an active gigging and recording musician and still finds time to make, repair and mod guitars, not least for Guitarist’s The Mod Squad.