Music China 2019 Day 1: Best guitars, amplifiers, effects and more

Highlights from the first day of one of the world's largest music trade shows: Gibson, Martin, Marshall and more.

NAMM may rule the roost when it comes to new gear launches, but in terms of sheer scale, Music China is the trade show to visit.

The 2019 event sprawls out across 145,000 sq m of the Shanghai New International Expo Centre, housing over 170,000 attendees and 2,300 brands that span the entire spectrum of musical instruments. You’ll find everything from pianos and pro audio to synths and saxophones – but of course, we’re here for the guitars.

Check out our highlights for Day 1 of Music China 2019:

Gibson

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music china 2019 gibson

Our first stop: Gibson. While its booth wasn’t quite as show-stopping as its Summer NAMM 2019 one, the brand opted to let its guitars speak for themselves. Rows upon rows of Les Pauls, SGs and 335s were left out for visitors to audition – read what we made of the new-for-2019 Les Paul Modern and trio of SGs.

The Custom 60th Anniversary 1959 Les Paul – seen here in an Ice Tea Fade finish – was arguably the star of Gibson’s booth.

Amis

music china 2019 amis guitar

Amis is a boutique Chinese company that specialises in custom-made acoustic guitars and ukuleles. This is its latest creation, a tribute to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon that comes complete with a triangular soundhole to mimic the prism on the iconic album cover.

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But more significantly, the guitar also celebrates a milestone in space exploration: when, in January this year, mankind via the Chinese space agency explored the far side of the moon for the first time.

Relish

Swiss brand Relish’s guitars combine innovative technology, solid craftsmanship and a player’s instinct to come up with these almost-‘modular’ instruments. Check out our full review of the Relish Mary One here.

Ibanez

music china 2019 polyphia ibanez guitars

The Polyphia guitarists’ signature instruments dominated the entrance to the Ibanez booth. If you’re in Singapore or Vietnam later this month, stop by our Guitar.com Masterclass with Tim Henson and Scott LePage!

music china 2019 ibanez

Candy-coloured thinlines hanging pretty in a row.

ibanez music china paul stanley

Speaking of pretty, Paul Stanley’s signature PS60-SSL is possibly the most glammed-up piece of kit we saw today.

Martin Guitars

music china martin

Martin may be an all-American brand, yet its renown stretches the world over.

music china 2019 martin guitars

Martin’s DX guitars – dreadnoughts emblazoned with stunning artwork – were quite a hit among the visitors. Here, you’ll see the DX420, DXMAE 30th Anniversary and DX Woodstock 50th Anniversary.

Blackstar

The HT Club 40 Kentucky Special, Blackstar’s latest amp next to the sparkling-new Silverline Series, made an appearance at the UK brand’s booth.

music china 2019 blackstar fly amps

All the Blackstar Fly variations there are. Find out why we called the latest model, the Super Fly, “a great-sounding and affordable package for playing at home or taking out on the road”.

Marshall

From one British amp maker to another, Marshall put out a strong showing at Music China 2019.

music china 2019 marshall

Custom grilles on Marshall’s display units.

MXR

A stalwart at trade shows and on pedalboards everywhere.

Shergold

shergold provocateur sp02-sd

The lovely Provocateur SP02-SD was another guitar flying the Union Jack high at Music China 2019. We called it “a well-sorted single-cut that offers a wide range of tones with looks that set it apart from the mid-priced crowd” – find out why.

Check out highlights from Day 2 here.

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