The Top 25 Electric Guitars And Brands – Reviews Of The Best Sounding Instruments

The-Best-Guitars-To-Consider-600x268
Updated Nov-22-2016. Buying an electric guitar is a very personal process, with many things to consider before you make your final choice. It’s not just a case of picking something with a nice color – you are usually parting with a substantial chunk of hard-earned cash, ranging anywhere from $100 to $2000 – or more – for some guitars, and therefore patience is required to find something that really suits you.

Whatever level you’re at and whatever budget you’re on, check out our chart below, where we highlight some of the very best guitars on the market today, before more detailed summaries of each instrument.

Top 10 Best Electric Guitars:

Image
Electric Guitar
Summary
Rating
Fender American Special Stratocaster 300
Fender American Special Stratocaster
This authentic American Strat is one of best in its price range.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Gibson Les Paul Studio
Stunning looks and PAF-inspired sound make this Les Paul a winner.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
preview
PRS S2 Custom 24
A premium guitar with looks to die for.
5 Stars
Total of 5
Fender American Special Telecaster
Fender American Special Telecaster
A true American legend from Fender, with a great price.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
Epiphone Les Paul Standard
One of the finest beginner guitars on the market today.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Fender Modern Player Telecaster 300
Fender Modern Player Telecaster
An affordable, versatile and toneful semi-hollow Telecaster.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Dean V Dave Mustaine 300
Dean V Dave Mustaine
Legendary Dave Mustaine attitude on a budget!
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V
Yamaha Pacifica PAC112V
Another superb value guitar from Yamaha.
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5

What Is The Best Guitar For You?

Before you start looking around at different models, you should define your level, and what you are hoping to achieve with the guitar. Are you a beginner, just starting out? Or an intermediate player, looking for an upgrade to take you to the next level? Perhaps you’re a professional who needs a new electric guitar for the stage? Or maybe an enthusiastic collector on the hunt for your next prized possession.

Every guitarist has a different story and, as such, demands a different guitar. A $200 Epiphone – no matter how great it plays for a beginner – just won’t cut it with a professional looking for depth in tone for his next studio album. Just like a $5000 masterpiece won’t really be the best guitar for your child who’s only just learning the instrument. But rest assured, there’s always a guitar available to suit you – you just have to know where to look.

What We Look For When Reviewing Electric Guitars?

When we review guitars we scrutinize everything from the quality of the materials used to construct the instrument, to the hardware and the sound. We will also rate the looks and the style, even though this is generally a matter of personal taste. The value of the guitar will also be an important factor that will contribute to the overall score – because spending $200 on a model that sounds like a $2000 guitar is always something that can’t be ignored! We rate the best acoustic guitars and the best bass guitar list in the same way. With every new model we add and review, we update the top 10 rankings. If you want to stay up-to-date, then make sure you visit this page on a regular basis to see what’s hot in the world of guitar!

Guitars Under $1000:

Fender American Special Stratocaster

Fender American Special Stratocaster 300

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Electronics:4.6 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

A real Fender Stratocaster is arguably the most iconic guitar ever produced – played by everyone from George Harrison to Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix to John Frusciante. And this genuine American Strat is an absolute beauty, as we explain in our full review. Although you pay a premium, the hardware, electrics and craftsmanship are superb. With the classic double-cutaway shape that spurred hundreds of copies, this guitar features a solid alder body, a bolt-on maple neck, and 22 jumbo frets. It offers sensational sound quality, with three Texas Special single-coil pickups providing clarity, power, versatility and the classic Strat sparkle. There’s also a vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge, which is elegant and responsive. Perfect for any style of music, it’s a true classic.


Gibson Les Paul Studio

Gibson-Les-Paul-Studio-Faded--300x300

Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronics:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.9 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Gibson’s latest Les Paul Studio marks the 100th birthday of the man himself! And this drop-dead gorgeous guitar marries real vintage style with an array of modern components. With several color choices, the body sports the iconic Les Paul single-cutaway shape with a weight-relieved mahogany back and carved maple top. There’s a rounded ’59 profile mahogany neck, a rosewood fretboard, and 22 frets. Beautiful to look at and comfortable to hold – and it sounds fantastic, as you’d expect. There are two excellent Burstbucker Pro humbuckers at the bridge and neck, offering bags of classic PAF-inspired tones. The attention to detail and craftsmanship on this American-made model is second to none. Check out our full review of this awesome Gibson.


Dean VMNT Dave Mustaine Angel of Deth

Dean VMNT Dave Mustaine Angel of Deth 300

Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Forget the cheesy name, this Angel of Deth – from Dean Guitars, in association with Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine – is a serious rocker! With a custom paint job and familiar V-shaped mahogany body, the guitar has a D-shaped mahogany neck, ebony fretboard, and 24 easily accessible frets – perfect for shredders. The guitar is voiced by two active Seymour Duncan Live Wire pickups at the neck and bridge, offering great tone, and a huge output that’s both aggressive and clear – even through the heaviest of distortion. This Angel of Deth also features Grover tuners, a TonePros bridge, and flush-mount strap locks, which all combine for a stage-worthy performer. Make sure to check out the full Dean VMNT AoD review of this distinctive axe.


Fender American Special Telecaster

fender-special-telecaster

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.5 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

For vintage sound and style, with no need to overspend, look no further than Fender’s American Special Telecaster. This beautiful guitar – reviewed in full here – features a range of style points all reminiscent of historic Teles, including the iconic a single-cutaway alder body and classic Tele headstock with 70’s logo. There’s a smooth bolt-on maple neck with maple fretboard, and 22 jumbo frets for easy string bending. It’s a joy to hold and play, and sounds great with two passive Fender-designed Texas Special single-coil pickups at the neck and the bridge. You’ll have no trouble producing a wide range of modern and retro tones, while the 60 cycle hum canceling feature (when using both pickups together) allows for noise-free playing. Definitely one of the best guitars in the under $1000 guitars range.


Schecter C-1 Hellraiser

Schecter C-1 Hellraiser

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Here’s a gorgeous guitar whose beauty is thoroughly matched by its performance. The attention-to-detail and craftsmanship is superb. The body – which is crafted to Schecter’s familiar double-cutaway shape – is made from solid mahogany, while the thin C-shaped neck offers a rosewood fretboard decorated with abalone Gothic crosses, and 24 extra jumbo frets. Whatever color you choose, the look is metal through and through – as is the sound! It’s voiced by two active humbuckers – an EMG 81TW (bridge) and 89R (neck) – which are enhanced with coil-tapping, so you get a great deal of flexibility in your sound. Tuning stability is also excellent, with a TonePros tune-o-matic bridge and string-through body, as well as Schecter locking tuners. A fantastic guitar, which you can read more about in the full review.


Guitars For Beginners:

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.4 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Kicking off the beginners category is the Les Paul Standard from Epiphone, which remains one of the finest entry-level guitars on the market today, as we mention in our full review. This affordable classic features the authentic Les Paul single-cutaway shape, with a solid mahogany body and a maple top. The slim D-shaped mahogany set neck has a nice rosewood fretboard with 22 medium jumbo frets. The guitar gets its voice from the two Alnico Classic humbuckers – at the neck and bridge – which offer a good degree of warmth and tone, and handle both clean and distorted playing very well. It’s perfect for pretty much any style of music, and should be number one on your list of electric guitars to try out.


Dean V Dave Mustaine

Dean V Dave Mustaine 300

Body&Neck:4.4 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronics:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

Hats off to Dean and Dave Mustaine, who have crafted an affordable shredding machine – perfect for beginner metalheads. As part of the VMNTX series, the guitar sports an extroverted V-shaped solid basswood body, so you get all the attitude of more expensive models, while the bolt-on maple neck – with rosewood fretboard, and 24 very accessible frets – allows for easy playing. It sounds great too, with two high-output Dean DMT-designed humbuckers, which provide a familiar tone that’s excellent for heavy rock and metal (after all, you wouldn’t want to be playing jazz on a guitar that looks like this!). Mini Grover machine-heads and a tune-o-matic bridge ensures good tuning stability and sustain – perfect for those frantic solos! Make sure to read our full review of this awesome axe.


Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Body&Neck:4.2 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.4 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Any guitar from Yamaha’s Pacifica series always earns its place on any comparison list because of the quality, playability and wallet-friendly price on offer. And while the Pacifica 112V offers great value, it’s far from an entry-level guitar – with a real premium feel to it. Featuring a well-contoured double-cutaway shape, the 112V has a solid alder body, a comfortable bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fretboard, and 22 frets. It offers plenty in the sound department, with three Yamaha-designed Alnico V pickups, comprising a humbucker and two single-coils. With volume and tone controls, a five-way pickup selector switch, and coil-tapping on the master tone control, there’s more than enough versatility and tone for any guitarist! We discuss this guitar in more detail in our full review.


Squier Classic Vibe Stratocaster 50s

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe Stratocaster 50s

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Here’s a slightly more advanced guitar from Squier that would suit experienced guitarists just as well as beginners, as it packs playability and vintage punch into a neat, affordable package. As we state in our full review, the Classic Vibe Stratocaster really impresses with its 50s-inspired style, complemented with some nice modern touches. With a couple of cool retro colors to choose from, the Strat-shaped body is made from solid alder with a smooth, modern C-shaped maple neck, maple fretboard, and 21 medium jumbo frets. What does it sound like? There’s three Alnico III single-coil pickups that provide the guitar with bright, clear, and warm tones, and it’s easy to find all the vintage sounds you need.


Epiphone G-310 SG

Epiphone G-310 SG Electric Guitar

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.2 Stars
Electronics:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

Epiphone always set the bar high with their entry-level models and this G-310 SG is a great hard rock guitar, with a wonderful price. It features the same asymmetrical double-cutaway SG shape you’d associate with iconic SG players like Angus Young, Jimi Hendrix, and Frank Zappa. There’s a comfortable mahogany body, a bolt-on SlimTaper D-shaped mahogany neck, and a rosewood fretboard with 22 frets. As covered in our full review, this guitar has two hot Epiphone open-coil alnico humbuckers at the bridge and neck, offering clarity and warmth, with enough attitude for all kinds of classic rock. Throw in two volume and two tone controls, LockTone tuners, and a tune-o-matic bridge, and you have yourself a very solid guitar that any beginner would enjoy exploring.


Guitars Under $500:

Fender Mexican Standard Telecaster

Fender Standard Mexican Telecaster 300

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronics:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

As you move into a slightly higher price range of around $500, a series of genuine Fenders become available to you – the Mexican Fenders, which offer serious quality, while retaining an affordable price tag. And this Mexican Standard Telecaster offers everything you’d expect from a real Fender Tele, as we highlight in our full review. With the iconic single-cutaway shape, and all the style points you’d expect from a Tele, this model features an alder body, with a C-shaped maple neck, maple fretboard, and 21 medium-jumbo frets. The hardware is solid and reliable, as is the sound – the two single-coil Tele pickups offer brightness at the bridge, with a warm bluesy sound at the neck. Well-built, very versatile, and good fun to play.


Fender Mexican Standard Stratocaster

fender-mexican-standard-stratocaster

Body&Neck:4.2 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Electronics:4.5 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

You can’t have a category that features a Fender Tele but not a Strat! And just like the Tele above, this Mexican Strat is your best choice for a genuine Fender at an affordable price. With the classic Stratocaster double-cutaway shape, and curves in all the right places, this guitar has a solid alder body with a smooth, modern C-shaped maple neck, maple fretboard, and 21 frets. The craftsmanship is solid, and it feels comfortable and fast to play. The sound comes from three single-coil Strat pickups, with a five-way pickup selector switch and two tone controls that offer wide versatility. It’ll take whatever you can throw at it – rock, pop, jazz, funk and country. Check out our full review of this excellent Strat.


Schecter Omen Extreme 6

schecter-omen-extreme-6

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronics:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

Beauty, performance and attitude all come together wickedly with this awesome axe from Schecter. The Omen Extreme 6 – which we review in full here – demonstrates fine craftsmanship and devilishly good looks, with a sleek double-cutaway mahogany body and carved quilted maple top, finished in a range of cool colors. There’s a bolt-on thin C-shaped maple neck, with abalone and pearloid vector-decorated rosewood fretboard, and 24 extra jumbo frets, which makes both rhythm and lead playing a breeze. It features two growling Schecter Diamond Plus alnico humbuckers at the neck and bridge, which offer huge output, with good clarity and versatility – especially with the coil-tapping capabilities. Meanwhile, the string-through tune-o-matic bridge offers great sustain and tuning stability. Schecter, take a bow.


ESP MH-50 (Best Electric Guitar Under $300)

ESP MH-50 300

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Electronics:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

The MH-50 from ESP’s affordable LTD range is completely rigged to rock, and comes with a price tag that suits most budgets. The guitar features a familiar double-cutaway basswood body finished in a glossy deep black, that just oozes metal attitude. There’s a sleek bolt-on U-shaped maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 24 extra jumbo frets, which will keep the shredders very happy. It’s finished with a familiar ESP headstock and LTD tuners. There’s a Floyd Rose Special Bridge and a locking nut, so tuning stays stable, even with heavy use of the whammy bar. It’s powered with two ESP-designed LH-150 humbuckers, which offer aggression and clarity, even at high volumes. Take a look at the full review for more details.


Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro

Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:5 Stars
Electronics:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.5 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Here we have Les Paul’s famous tuxedo axe, which is seriously dressed to kill! Epiphone have taken a classic and made it affordable, resulting in a guitar everyone wants to get their hands on. It naturally features the iconic Les Paul shape, with a solid mahogany body elegantly finished in either ebony or white, with gold hardware. There’s a glued-in D-shaped mahogany neck, with a rosewood fretboard, and 22 medium-jumbo frets. In addition to the great looks, the sound is pretty awesome too – two ProBucker humbuckers give it a high-end vintage tone, while tone controls and coil-splitting ensures wide versatility. It has to be played to be believed! Make sure to check out our full review of this excellent Les Paul Custom Pro.


Budget Guitars Under $200:

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012 300

Body&Neck:4.4 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronics:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

The 012 is a cheaper alternative in the Pacifica series when compared to the 112V (as featured above), but it still offers great style, playability and value, as you’d expect from Yamaha. The 012, as we highlight in our full review, features a comfortable double-cutaway body, made from solid agathis, with a sturdy bolt-on maple neck, and rosewood fretboard with 22 frets. There’s a lot of versatility in sound and tone control, making it perfect for experimenting with. Two single-coil pickups and humbucker give the guitar its power, while a five-way pickup selector switch allows you to choose between them. You’ll also find a vintage-style tremolo bridge and accompanying whammy bar for vibrato effects. A quality entry-level guitar with a name you can trust.


Jackson JS22 Dinky

Jackson JS22 Dinky 300

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Electronics:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.5 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.5 Stars

Despite the measly associations with the word ‘dinky’, the Jackson JS22 Dinky is a strong competitor in the value guitar market, because it promises great comfort, style and playability – what’s not to like? It has the classic Jackson look, with attitude and elegance in abundance. The double-cutaway body features an arched-top basswood body, with good access to the bolt-on graphite-reinforced maple speed neck, which sports a rosewood fretboard, and 24 jumbo frets. You’ll find two high-output Jackson-designed humbuckers at the neck and the bridge, which sound as clear with distortion as they do without. The tremolo bridge, black hardware, die-cast tuners, and a classic Jackson headstock give this guitar a quality feel. You can read our full review of the JS22 Dinky here.


Hollow Body Guitars:

Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II)

Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II) 300

Body&Neck:4.8 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Electronics:4.8 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

A true masterpiece in the hollow body guitar market, teeming with style and tone, from acoustic kings Godin. The 5th Avenue Kingpin II – which we review in full here – combines real 50s style, with modern features that give this unique guitar its playability. It has a single-cutaway Canadian wild cherry body with a molded arched top and back, finished with a lovely satin 19th century-style French polish. The neck is made from silver leaf maple, and features a rosewood fretboard with 21 frets. The resonant sound comes from two Godin Kingpin P90 single-coil pickups, which offer a superior array of tones, with clarity and versatility. It also comes with a GraphTec adjustable TUSQ bridge, three-way pickup selector switch, and volume and tone controls. Lovely!


Gretsch G5420T Electromatic® Hollow Body

Gretsch G5420T 300

Body&Neck:4.7 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Electronics:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

If you’re on the hunt for a hollow-bodied guitar which can deliver 60’s sound and style, then turn your attention to Gretsch’s fabulous G5420T – a supreme twang machine. It offers a swish vintage look, with a single-cutaway five-ply maple body and two F holes. There’s a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, with 22 medium jumbo frets. Its sound comes from two Blacktop Filter’Tron humbuckers at the bridge and neck, which make light work of emulating real vintage tones, while playing with overdrive gives it plenty of attitude. The guitar also features a timeless Bigsby B60 vibrato tailpiece. A flawless fit for jazz, blues, country, and even soft rock. Make sure to check out the full review of the G5420T here.


Epiphone Wildkat Royale Pearl White

Epiphone Wildkat Pearl White 300

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:5 Stars
Electronics:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

Epiphone have a gift for making excellent guitars at head-scratchingly low prices, and this lovely semi-hollow body Wildkat Royale is another to add to the collection. As we highlight in our full Wildkat review, this guitar features a mahogany body and maple top, with a pearl white finish, complemented by elegant golden trim and hardware. It’s very playable, with a glued-in SlimTaper D-shaped maple neck, a rosewood fretboard, and 22 medium jumbo frets. The Wildkat is loaded with two P-90 Dogear Classic single-coil pickups at the bridge and neck positions – oozing character and perfect for many genres, even soft rock. Throw in premium 18:1 Grover machine heads and a Bigsby B70 vibrato tailpiece and it’s another winner from Epiphone!


PRS SE Custom

PRS SE Custom Semi-Hollow

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronics:4.8 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

This gorgeous model from Paul Reed Smith is one of just two semi-hollow guitars on this comprehensive list, and it thoroughly deserves its place. It sports a modern double-cutaway body shape, with a chambered mahogany back and maple top, with an attractive flamed maple veneer and a single ‘canoe carve’ sound hole. The mahogany neck is a joy to play – fat and wide, with a rosewood fretboard, 22 frets, and decorative bird inlays. Acoustically, it’s clear and resonant, but the two PRS-designed SE humbuckers (at the bridge and neck) give plenty of punch, especially when the overdrive pedal is switched on. While it’s no metal machine, it’s a good choice for everything from jazz to rock. You can read our full PRS SE Custom review for more on this cool guitar.


Fender Modern Player Delux Thinline Telecaster!

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe 300

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronics:4.6 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

An affordable semi-hollow Telecaster from Fender – definitely worth sitting up for this one! It offers real retro looks, with the iconic Telecaster body shape, although the single F hole gives away the fact that it has a semi-hollow mahogany body. The guitar also features a C-shaped maple neck, as well as a maple fretboard, and 22 medium jumbo frets. As you’d expect from a Telecaster, it’s highly playable and sounds great, thanks to the two Modern Player MP-90 single-coils at the bridge and neck, offering a wide palette of sound. Tone controls and a three-way pickup selector switch offer versatility, so you can find everything from vintage twang to classic rock grit. Good fun at an affordable price. Make sure to check out the full review!


Bass Guitars:

Fender Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special

Fender Deluxe P Bass Special

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Electronics:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.85 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.8 Stars

A real instrument for the serious bass player – and something every bassist would be happy to get their hands on! This classic model from Fender is so versatile in its playability and sound thanks to the hybrid construction. There’s a solid alder P Bass body, with a satin-finished modern C-shaped maple Jazz neck, with 20 medium jumbo frets – wonderful to slide up and down. The sound is equally pleasing, with two vintage noiseless pickups comprising a Jazz Bass pickup at the bridge and a Precision Bass pickup in the middle. These – combined with advanced tone controls – offer a powerful sound that’s flexible enough to complement whatever you are doing on stage. You can read the full review of this excellent bass here.


Yamaha BB Series BB424X

Yamaha BB Series BB42X VW 300

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Electronics:4.4 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.7 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

The BB424X – which we have reviewed in full here – is a fine addition to Yamaha’s legendary BB bass line, providing power, quality and elegance in equal measure. The double-cutaway alder body has sexy curves, and is comfortable to hold for any guitarist. It features a 5-piece mahogany and maple neck, with the traditional BB profile, and is light and fast to use. It sounds as good as it plays, and features a single-coil bass pickup in the middle and a single-coil bar pickup at the bridge – plenty of full-bodied punch, and as much versatility as you’ll need, especially when combined with a three-way pickup selector switch and tone control knob. A solid choice that would please an experienced bassist as much as a beginner.


Schecter Stiletto Custom-4

Schecter Stiletto Custom-4 300

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.6 Stars
Electronics:4.7 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

This attractive and affordable bass from Schecter is as suited to funk as it is full-blown metal, and features several innovative features that should make this a serious candidate for any bassist. It looks and feels wonderful to hold – something you don’t want to put down in a hurry. With smooth, sleek curves, the double-cutaway body is crafted from mahogany with a figured maple top, while the bolt-on multi-ply neck is made from maple and walnut. The bass is stocked with two EMG 35HZ pickups, at the neck and bridge, as well as 2-Band EMG Active EQ, allowing for a smooth high end and a punchy low end. There’s also a very chunky S-TEK bridge. Don’t forget to check out our full review of the Stiletto Custom-4.

Jazz Guitars:

Epiphone Broadway

Epiphone-Broadway-300x300

Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.7 Stars
Electronics:4.8 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

For unrivaled jazz tone, you don’t have to look much further than this Epiphone Broadway. Originally launched in the 1930’s, it still sets the bar high for all jumbo jazz guitars on the market today. With an attractive natural spruce top, the large single-cutaway hollow maple body is big and toneful. The C-shaped neck is made from hard maple and features a rosewood fretboard with 20 frets. As well as true vintage style, it offers a timeless sound thanks in part to the Alnico Classic humbuckers – one at the neck and one at the bridge. A little basic, but they allow you to find a great range of full-bodied tones with lots of warmth. This Broadway both looks and sounds the part! You can read the full review of this guitar here.

Blues Guitars:

Airline Bighorn

Airline-Bighorn-Red-300x300

Body&Neck:4.5 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Electronics:4.3 Stars
Sound:4.4 Stars
Value:4.6 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

The Airline Bighorn, from Eastwood Guitars, is a bit of a wildcard, but its retro looks and gritty tones make this a winner for blues guitarists. Based on the original 60’s model, it retains a timeless look with a unique single-cutaway basswood body finished in red, green, black or sunburst. There’s a very playable bolt-on maple neck, with a rosewood fretboard and 19 frets. As for the sound, it’s loaded with two Airline Vintage Argyle Diamond single-coil pickups at the neck and bridge – with a three-way selector to switch between them – which offer a bold range of bluesy sounds; punchy in the bridge and raspy at the neck. You can read the full review of the Airline Bighorn here.

Metal Guitars:

Ibanez S Prestige Series S5570Q

Ibanez-S-Prestige-Series-S5570Q-body

Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.9 Stars
Electronics:5 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:5 Stars

As its name suggests, this is a prestigious instrument that any metalhead would be pleased to get their hands on. We mention in our full review, that the S5570Q has a real premium look, feel and sound. With a stunningly finished solid mahogany body, cut to the familiar S series shape, the guitar features a quilted maple top, and an awesome Super Wizard HP maple and walnut neck, with 24 treated jumbo frets. The sound is insane, with two Hot Grinder humbuckers and a Short Tracer single-coil in the middle – a huge output with lots of aggression, very versatile, and the perfect match for metal. The Lo-Pro Edge bridge is comfortable and keeps your tuning solid. An exceptional guitar, whatever your style.


While this has been a long list packed with excellent guitars to suit any requirement or budget, it’s by no means comprehensive – or final for that matter. Things change, and so too do our favorite guitars. As more models are released we review and update our charts, so keep checking back to see what’s new.

Buying An Electric Guitar For Your Level

With so many guitars on the market, it’s no surprise that there are truly great options available for every level of player at every price range. If you’re a beginner, there’s no need to go expensive – something from Epiphone, Squier, Yamaha’s Pacifica series, or one from our list of the best affordable electric axes will suit you well, whatever style of music you play. If you’re more experienced – and have the budget – the choice of mid-range guitars with a more premium feel is unbelievable. However if you have the big bucks, and are looking for something flashy, make sure check out this list of some of the best expensive axes. Instant envy in all your friends!

A Guitar Is Only As Good As Its Amp

It’s true! When buying a guitar – whatever your level and budget – never forget that the amplifier you use is of equal importance. An expensive guitar with a cheap amp won’t let you explore that guitar’s potential. On the flip side, playing a $100 guitar through a Marshall stack is a bit of a waste of time. While there’s no strict rules, looking to match the cost of your guitar with the cost of an amp is sensible. So spending $300 on a Les Paul and matching it with a decent $200 amp will give you a superb platform on which to learn and grow. Make sure to check out our list of recommended top-rated guitar amps and reviews to get an idea on what may suit you. And if you are ready to spend a little extra feel free to check out the recommended guitar pedals and effects article.

You Have The Guitar – Now What?

If you’re already an experienced guitarist, you’ll want to carry on as you are! However, if you are a beginner and have just bought your first guitar, you may want to take some lessons to help you learn how to play.

Online videos, such as those you’d find on YouTube, are a great source of free tuition. However you may want to find a local pro or guitar teacher who can give you face-to-face instruction, which can be very valuable when first starting out.

Or you could look at some well-structured online lessons for electric guitar, which may work out more cost effective in the long run.

Whatever you choose, good luck with your purchases and enjoy your new guitar!

Comments

  1. Hi, I am currently learning how to play an acoustic guitar. I want to buy an electric guitar in summer from the States (I live abroad and don’t find some brands such as Jackson, EMP, DVD Mustang and Schecter). SO I would be considered as a beginner, right? I have been playing for 3 months already.
    Is it fine if I buy an electric guitar that’s worth <900$ as my first e.guitar? I don't know why it's recommended not to buy a guitar that's more advanced than my level. I mean this guitar will last me for years, so why not go for the best from the beginning? Also, I need to learn how to differentiate between the various guitars if some are better for lets say metal. I listen to a lot of Children of Bodom, Korn, Metallica and more.
    Thanks!

    • Nikolas Kalimeris says:

      Hey man, honestly, some $350 guitars will kick a $30,000 guitar’s ass. It’s all about the quality, not the price tag. I’ve played a Squire that sounded heaps better than a Gretsch. So yeah, just try out as many guitars as you can. It’ll widen your variety.

    • Christopher Dyer says:

      Get a gently-used Fender American Stratocaster. It will cost around 800-900. It is the most popular guitar for a reason. It is awesome. It will hold its value.

    • Austin Rosewell says:

      Hi Moe,
      as a fellow guitar player I would highly recommend the Epiphone es-339 i t is a wonderful guitar with a killer price.

    • I am pretty sure there is a Gibson sg classic for around $700-$800. If that’s not the type of guitar you want, I would recommend a fender stratocaster

  2. @Moe If you are happy spending more, go ahead! I recommend trying a few and seeing which ones you really like before you look at the sticker. Some guitars will surprise you in either direction. Happy playing!

  3. James Compary says:

    the Epiphone special 11 is probably the best guitar for beginners. great sound, especially with a pevey amp.

    • Yeah there is no double about it the Epiphone Special 11 is unreal value for money and even though I have over the years filled my Den with guitars some worth a lot of money the Epiphone Special 11 is my go to guitar. I just cannot fault, great tuners, pickups and basically the only guitar I have that stays in tune 90% plus of the time. It is also the lightest of my guitar collection weighing in at about 5.5lbs. For $299 Australian they are an absolute steal. If I could only have one guitar I would go to this Epiphone Les Paul Special 11 ever time.

  4. IM buying my first electric guitar In a few weeks I’ve done quite monumental research and found out that the best guitar that satisfies price and quality is the Dave Mustaine Dean V. The only thing idk Is distortion and Overdrive pedals. So someone let me know a few advice about pedals . PEACE OUT

  5. Looking for a lifelong friend, something solid that will get better with age and can take a thrashing if needed. I plan on using drop tunings for heavy rock and will be dropping a set of alnico bare knuckle pickups into it and running it through a dual rectifier. Preferences but not important are, mahogany body, standard bridge, Les Paul style necks, most classic body shapes. Any model/brand suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m living in an isolated region so this will be a blind purchase. Really love my Schecter Diamond Series Tempest Classic but unfortunately it did not stand the test of time and will need a restoration on the neck.

  6. Anthony Edwards says:

    I have a Fender Chinese made Telecaster from the Modern Player Series. The finish is spectacular, and while it sometimes feels like they just used a lot of gloss to cover it, it plays and sounds well. I have played it through many amps and it does the job of both a Telecaster and a Strat style. With a humbucking pickup, a lipstick and a strat pickup, this is a satisfying guitar and moddable for people looking for something they can work on without fear of screwing up and wasting a thousand dollars.

    It also looks great and the parts are all Fender quality. I got one that was set-up straight out of the box, and one where the truss was so loose that you could practically hear it rattling around. If you have setup experience, great, but if not, spend the extra time getting it setup by a pro.

  7. Mijn first guitar was a Epiphone by gibson sg, it was all right, then I got my gibson sg special(Around 550e), really good guitar, huge difference with the Epiphone. My next was, believe it or not another Epiphone, a Casino limited edition with bigsby, best price/quiality guitar ever(I paid 430e), beautiful guitar, and next week I’m getting a Fender Telecaster American vintage 58′(1755e), I’m very excited about it. I also own a Fender jazz bass classic 70s, it’s a mexican which plays like an american, very proud of this bass. First rate guitars are normally the best, you pay for the quality of the materials and the workmanship and experience, but there are exceptions with second range guitars, you can get very good ones, just good models or plainly good guitars, it’s nice to own both kind of guitars.

  8. I play in a band and go to a school where we play guitar and drums and other things. I was looking at a grestch but i dont know if i should spend my money if my friends say that electromagnetic pickups are not as good
    So should I buy a grestch or no

  9. It’s been years since I bought my Epiphone Standard. Glad to see its still referred as a great beginner guitar!

  10. So, I’m 50+, I’ve never played a guitar, and I’m trying to decide on an electric guitar. I’m less concerned with the brand name, more concerned with high quality and workmanship, and last, I like the tone of the guitars played by the late Pete Ham of Badfinger (especially Baby Blue), and Joe Walsh. I know Ham played a cherry red Gibson SG standard, but I’m seeing quite a few mixed reviews on the quality control and workmanship of the current SGs. I listen to a lot of jam band music (i.e. Widespread Panic) and enjoy the rhythm guitar best. So, where to start and stay under $2000 to get a guitar that will produce the type of sound I’m looking for?

    • I’m starting at guitar too at sixty years old, my opinion is that it’s not the guitar, but the time put into practicing, you can dup any type of sound with the features from amps, and guitar processors. You can even make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic. I purchased a line 6 150 watt amp, and a processor from line six, and I can dup any type of guitar sound. I built my own guitar

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