guitarguitar 20th Anniversary Hall of Fame Guitars

Published on 24 May 2024


2024 is a big year for both us and Fender. At guitarguitar, we’re celebrating our 20th year as a business - a year long party of events, offers, deals and special content - and Fender are celebrating the 70th birthday of the Stratocaster.

Cause to celebrate? I’d say so!

So it’s a big year, and such a year requires equally large ideas for cool things to do. This one is one of the coolest. We wanted to commission a series of hand-painted Stratocasters that somehow included a nod to the last 20 years, since that’s guitarguitar’s timeline.


A Public Vote

The Top Five

Playable Exhibition


A Public Vote

In deciding what to do with this idea, we figured we’d throw it out to the public (over 1000 guitar players were asked via Censuswide): who did you think were the most visible, influential and plainly excellent guitar-playing artists of the last 20 years?

You answered in droves - thank you for taking part if you did - and the answers were a good mix of ‘yes, or course!’ and ‘oh, that’s interesting!’. 20 years is a long time in business - thank you for that too, sincerely - but it’s not too long in terms of music legends. Lots of great artists didn’t make the list, least of all those classic stalwarts such as Hendrix, Blackmore, Malmsteen, Beck etc etc. 

In the end, the artists who made the top 20 list were those who’d made relatively recent impact. It’s a tricky thing to judge in terms of inclusion, so basically John Frusciante is in here (even though he’s been on records since the late 80s) because absolutely loads of you voted him in. He’s been making music in the last 20 years, both as a solo artist and as a Chili Pepper, so he counts where somebody like Kurt Cobain, who certainly influences but hasn’t obviously made any music for 30 years. 

So that’s how we determined the short list, which included both Radiohead guitarists, Brad Paisley, Julien Baker and John 5 amongst others. You people have great taste!


The Top Five

In the end, we whittled this wondrous list down to 5 specific artists who are all recognised for their influence over the past two decades. These selections were then turned into custom artwork, which was hand-painted onto five white Fender Player Strats - one for each artist - and sent to us. We received them a few days ago and are over the moon with how they look! You can see them throughout this article, and I expect you’re already making educated guesses as to who each artist is, right? 

Well, let me introduce you to all five. I’ll begin with somebody I’ve already mentioned, since he was the top result…


John Frusciante

He has funk, he has psychedelia and he has a distinctly Californian melancholia in his soul: it’s Chili Pepper John Frusciante, whose tribute guitar is decorated with references to his octopus tattoo along with lyrics from Under the Bridge and, literally enough, a painting of a chilli pepper!

Sam Fender 

Representing the North is Sam Fender, whose hand-painted guitar features a bottle of  Newcastle Brown ale, a depiction of Anthony Gormley’s Angel of the North statue and even a magpie tanning a Greggs sausage roll. I’ll admit that I don’t quite get the last reference, but that’s all part of the fun here: these are little easter eggs for fans to spot and speculate over!



Super Bowl sensation H.E.R. represents a very contemporary take on guitar heroics. Trademark shades and song lyrics help to identify H.E.R. to all of her fans, along with a fun American football helmet there in reference to that performance!


Alex Turner

Doing much for the popularity of white Strats around the 2005 era, it seemed only right for the Arctic Monkeys main man to get an Arctic white Strat in this collection! Again, there are selected lyrics painted onto the pickguard, alongside deep-dive references to certain songs, a mirror ball and nods to some of the bands most iconic releases.


John Mayer

Who won the battle for The New Eric Clapton? Was it John Mayer or Joe Bonamassa? Either way, Mayer is a hero to many, and though he is now a PRS man, he has played Strats long enough to warrant this lil’ tribute. As with the other art pieces, there are song lyrics on here as well as tattoo references and a couple of choice Easter eggs. Can you figure them all out?


Playable Exhibition

Throughout our celebration year, this super-exclusive collection of one-off guitars will be taking their own little tour around each guitarguitar location. You’ll be able to see them in the flesh, take pictures and best of all, play them! Keep an eye on our socials (and sign up for our newsletter!) to keep in the loop about the whereabouts of these special Fender/guitarguitar commemorative Strats. Who knows: by the next time we hit a big birthday, we could be painting up guitars in YOUR honour!  



Ray's photo

About the author


Features Editor

I'm a musician and artist originally from the South West coast of Scotland. I studied Visual Arts and Film Studies at...

View Profile

Here are some similar articles you might like