When John Fahey recorded The New Possibility in 1968 to make a few bucks off Christmas sales every year, his album title turned out to be emblematic of the solo guitar's potential. The music grows decades later, rung out in steel vibration and wrung out from tradition. In 2016, there was an incredible bounty of guitar music across Americana, jazz, ambient, psychedelic, experimental music and what Fahey labeled American Primitive.
For sake of focus, these 10 unranked records (and a few honorable mentions) were all primarily made by one person with the guitar as the primary instrument. That's why you don't see the stellar records made by Chris Forsyth, Mary Halvorson, William Tyler or Cian Nugent this year, as they were backed by bands that understand their singular approaches to the instrument. Instead, these records celebrate new possibilities in the solo exploration of six and 12 strings.