Best innovation in electric guitar the past 20 years- what's your pick?

As we all know it's a great time to be a guitar player- even though guitar playing and players aren't the hot topic right now.

Guitar players and drummers are very traditional creatures. For the most part, we're still playing instruments based on 50+ year old technology.

Personally I think that modeling as a whole has been the best thing to come about. I feel the Kemper is the best piece of guitar gear in the past 20 years.

What's your pick?

marvin cobain

The moog guitar for all the possibilities with sustain and the Peavey at-200 for the possibility to have istantly a lot of different tunings

I like also what guys like Fennesz are doing


Senior Member
many people will disagree, but PCB tube amps have made what was unaffordable for a lot of guitarist, affordable.

(I realize that they've been around more or less since the 80's, but the move from companies like Vox & Orange have really opened the market place up)
In guitars themselves, the biggest innovation has been in manufacturing improvements. The quality of low to mid level guitars has vastly improved over the past 20 years.

Paul Reed Smith is the one who really changed the game as far as that goes.

As far as developments in the last 20 years, I'll say digital modeling has come a long way, particularly with plug in software. As to guitarists celebrating innovation....BWAHAHA!!!!!


High Prairie Wrangler
Gold Supporting Member
I'm a fan of Ron Thorn's staggered height locking tuners. The biggest innovation has to be modelers, but that seems outside of guitars per se.


2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy
the CNC machine

More than 20 years, though. Tom Anderson bought his in the late 80s I believe.

I'm going with Digital modeling, but in terms of the actual guitar... aside from some better manufacturing techniques trickling down to affordable instruments (none of which I actually play), I don't think there have been any revolutionary developments since maybe the Floyd Rose trem.

MIDI guitar? didn't change the world.

Variax? Tempted to say that, but it's still emulating the same sounds you could get from different guitars.

Guitarists... we don't innovate, we imitate.


For the guitar itself, I'd say stainless frets (not sure when they were actually introduced, but they certainly weren't common 20 years ago).

Outside of the guitar, I'd say digital modelling has been a big deal and quality has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade.

Guitarists... we don't innovate, we imitate.
Moreso than any other instrument? I think musicians as a giant group will grow, evolve and innovate regardless of instrument. Maybe some more slowly than others, but I don't think there's any reason the guitar would be singled out. Sure, lots of guys chase 'traditional' tones, but isn't that true of orchestra instruments, drums, bass, keyboards?


Senior Member
Digital modeling and FRFR systems.

For guitar, the last innovations that mattered most to me were the Steinberger tuning system and transtrem, (and EMG active pickups) but these are well over 20 years old now.

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