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Finnish 14-year-old named world’s best young guitarist

Juho Ranta-Maunus won the top title in the contest organised by American magazine Guitar World.

Juho Ranta-Maunus soittaa kitaraa kotistudiossaan.
Young Guitarist of the Year 2020: Juho Ranta-Maunus of Seinäjoki, FInland. Image: Tuomo Rintamaa/Yle

When Juho Ranta-Maunus found out he had won the title of Young Guitarist of the Year 2020, he says it was a great surprise, though he had secretly hoped it might happen.

“It feels totally awesome,” he told Yle. “I was very surprised when I heard that I’d won. This is a great achievement for my guitar career and it encourages me to continue making my own music,” said Ranta-Maunus, 14, who lives in Seinäjoki, Finland.

The international award of Young Guitarist of the Year 2020 was chosen by Guitar World magazine based on votes by both readers and a jury of editors and star judges.

"Exceptional control of the instrument"

According to Guitar World, of all the Guitarist of the Year 2020 categories, Young Guitarist of the Year was the most challenging category, as there were five extremely talented finalists: Jasmine Star, Seth Grey, Tom Zhou, Lorenzo Diano and Ranta-Maunus.

But in the end, Ranta-Maunus's music won them over.

“Juho’s prog-tinged composition 'Diversity' showed exceptional control of the instrument and a vibrato far beyond his years. He knows just when to hold back and let a note ring, and when to let loose with a flurry of licks, and it was this, ahem, diversity that led to him being crowned the winner of this year’s competition,” said the Guitar World jury in its news release.

The winning prize includes a new electric guitar, a PRS SE Hollowbody II Piezo, valued at about 1500 euros, and a trip to a London studio for a recording session, which is naturally on hold until further notice owing to the coronavirus epidemic.

Ranta-Maunus started playing at the age of eight, and now studies the guitar at the South Ostrobothnia Music Institute in Seinäjoki.

Click here to hear Ranta-Maunus play his winning composition 'Diversity'.

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