Gear of the Year 2018: Guitar accessory and recording nominees

Don't overlook accessories – they can be valuable components of your overall setup. Here are our favourites of the year.

We’re kicking off our Gear of the Year 2018 awards with guitar accessories. From straps to pickups to maintenance tools, we’ve tried and tested scores of them – and narrowed them down to our five top picks of the year.

The actual winner will be announced in our January issue, so keep an eye out for that. Here are the nominees:

Pinegrove Leather GS25, GS60 and GS61 straps

Pinegrove Leather Straps

Each Pinegrove strap is hand-made using the highest quality materials, and the company is so confident in the craftmanship and quality of its straps, it offers a lifetime guarantee for each one. All three straps have a tanned leather top with a thick cow suede backing for grippiness. As anyone who’s been clocked by a guitar slipping on its strap will know all too well, this is important in a gig situation, and all three Pinegrove straps keep things balanced and stable – even with a peskily neck-heavy Firebird.

Read our full review here.

Two Notes Torpedo Captor

The Torpedo Captor is a multi-function tool for direct recording, cabinet simulation and attenuation.  It eschews digital modelling and LCD screens for a simpler analogue approach to getting your amp’s signal into a mixer or DAW without using microphones. But where it may lack versatility, the Captor more than makes up for with its solid build, sound quality and affordability.

Read our full review here.

Universal Audio OX Amp Top Box


With the OX, Universal Audio has used its expertise in both fields to create a reactive attenuator combined with highly sophisticated speaker, cabinet, microphone and classic effect simulations.

For most guitarists in the real world, the usual modus operandi is to record amps in a back bedroom, cupboard or project studio vocal booth using an SM57, and compared to those approaches, we believe the OX is infinitely preferable. In addition to superior tone and flexibility, the neighbours won’t complain, extraneous noises are a non-issue and spillage is eliminated. The same goes for mic’ing up on stage.

Read our full review here.

House of Tone Tru PAF Humbuckers

Suffice to say, these Tru PAFs are the unpotted PAF humbucker replicas we have been waiting for from one of the UK’s most talented and knowledgeable winders. We tested the pickups with a Gibson Collector’s Choice #15 – and we think everything that appeals about PAFs, such as finger noise, note bloom, versatility and controllability, is here.

Read our full review here.

MusicNomad The Octopus and GRIP Winder

MusicNomad Octopus grip winder

A string-winder isn’t the most exciting guitar tool around, but MusicNomad’s GRIP Winder can certainly lay claim to being the best one out there today. It’s easy to grip, has a dual-bearing mechanism for the shaft, and feels completely friction-free when in use.
We also checked out The Octopus, an eight-in-one multi-tool that provides an elegant, one-stop solution for the vast majority of routine guitar maintenance tasks.

Check out our full review here.