Top 10 Blues Guitars – Reviews of The Popular and Not So Popular Models

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In order to properly tackle the domain of blues music as a guitarist, one needs to master several concepts such as feel and technique, but also arm himself with the best blues guitar available.

Finding the best guitar is never an easy task, and just like many people wrongfully perceive blues playing as “easy,” finding the top guitar for blues is also unjustly considered by some as a simple task.

We took the liberty of sifting through the market in an attempt to find such a fine instrument and came out with a set of 10 champions worthy of the flattering title. Make sure to check it all out in the rundown below.

Top 10 Blues Guitars:

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Guitar For Blues
Summary
Rating
Fender American Special Stratocaster
Driven by the standard three single-coil pickups
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
PRS Custom 22
Strong contestant for the title - the best blues guitar
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5
Gibson ES-335
Secures that iconic punchy and bright sound
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Squier Classic Vibe Thinline Telecaster
Combination of two classic bright Tele pickups
4.6 Stars
Total of 4.6/5
Airline Bighorn Red
Solid-body guitar with a memorable sound
4.4 Stars
Total of 4.4/5
Gretsch G9200 BOXCAR
An acoustic sound with extra grind and bite to it.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Gibson Les Paul Studio
PAF-inspired humbuckers, securing a classic tone.
4.8 Stars
Total of 4.8/5
Martin 000-15M
A fine guitar for the warm blues tone.
4.9 Stars
Total of 4.9/5
Fender CD-60
The winner in the "affordable" category
4.3 Stars
Total of 4.3/5
Squier Affinity Telecaster
Delivering that bright, twangy vibe.
4.7 Stars
Total of 4.7/5

What Makes A Good Blues Guitar?

Before diving into specific models, we’ll point out that the sonic vibe we went for here varies depending on the type of instrument. We made sure that with solid-body guitars, we go with articulate power that combines brightness, punch, and groove into a proper mix.

For acoustics, we like our blues a bit on the twangy side, but still not cheap and plastic. Finally, the word of the day with semi-hollow blues guitars was resonance – just that sound that doesn’t sound massive, but still fills up the whole room.

Needless to say, we always want our instruments to be durable, reliable, and packed the best value for money. We looked across various price ranges from $500 electric guitars to some great expensive guitars and found the champ of each domain. Check ’em out below!


The Top Rated Electric Blues Guitars:

Fender American Special Stratocaster – A Classic

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

We’ll kick things off with an undeniable classic for all ages – the one and only Fender Stratocaster, the American Special model. Driven by the standard combination of three single-coil pickups, this puppy was crafted right in the US of A, featuring an alder body, a maple neck with a 9.5-inch radius maple fingerboard, a pack of 22 jumbo frets, and black dot markers.

The pickups in question are the Texas Specials, while the rest of the mix also includes a vintage-style tremolo and a satin urethane finish. The sound is of course classic Strat, the mellow yet punchy, well-rounded sound that helped defined the sonic attack of classic rock and blues. One of the best guitars for 1000 dollars and a shoo-in for more lists than this blues-driven rundown, that’s for sure.


PRS Custom 22 – The Modern Blues Guitar

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

If you like your audio output to be loaded with a bit more of a modern edge, but still deeply rooted in tradition, our strong contestant for the title of the best blues guitar is the PRS Custom 22. This fella utilizes a mahogany body and a mahogany neck, reeling in an organic sonic attack with plenty of natural boom and resonance.

The six-string also features a rosewood fingerboard, a pack of 22 frets, 25-inch scale length, and of course the company’s signature flying bird inlays. The sound offered by this beast is quite powerful, but also fully under the player’s control, which is crucial for the slightly more mellow blues and jazz style. Needless to say, if you want this puppy and its two PRS pickups to roar in rock and even metal manner, it can easily be done with merely a few knob twists and switch adjustments.


Gibson ES-335 – The Best Semi Hollow Blue Guitar

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

Now in case classy is the word of the day with your blues style, than nothing beats the ole magic of BB’s Lucille, right? Lucille happens to be the Gibson ES-335. T

his instrument utilizes a laminated maple body with an arched top, a combination that delivers the goods and secures that iconic punchy and bright sound that doesn’t impose itself on the sonic space of other instruments, but still cuts through the mix loud and clear with nothing but class and style.

Also included in the mix is a set of PAF-style humbucker pickups routed to a single set of controls for Volume and Tone tweaks. We feel like pointing out that hitting that sweet spot between punch and groove on one side and brightness and mellowness on the other is no mean feat, and Gibson managed to do it masterfully with this semi-hollow electric guitar.


Squier Classic Vibe Thinline Telecaster

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Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.4 Stars
Electronics:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.6 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.6 Stars

They say that a Telecaster is one great guitar for the blues, but they also say that semi-hollow guitars do a fine job for this style. So, why not both? Our next contestant comes from Fender subsidiary Squier and it’s called the Classic Vibe Thinline Telecaster.

We’re looking at a light semi-hollow body crafted from mahogany, along with a single piece maple neck, a set of 21 medium jumbo frets, a maple fingerboard and black dot markers.

The combination of two classic bright Tele pickups, the booming nature of mahogany and extra resonance of the semi-hollow body reels in an interesting sonic mixture that’s very well suited for the blues style.

The looks are pure class, there are three available finishes – Vintage Blonde, Butterscotch Blonde, Natural, and 3-Color Sunburst – but we have to say that in our opinion, Natural takes the cake. A great mixture of classic Tele and solid-body guitars for blues!


Airline Bighorn Red – A Wildcard!

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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

If you’re a fan of unconventional choices and the super raw vibe of Mr. Jack White, we have just the thing – the Bighorn Red from Airline. This is a solid-body guitar with a memorable sound, so if you’re tired of all the classic guitars, this is your pick. Not that there’s anything wrong with classic stuff, but it’s understandable to yearn for something a tad more refreshing.

Anyhow, this thing utilizes a maple neck, a set of dual Airlyne pickups, and a 24.75-inch scale. We are also looking at a modern bridge and a classic truss rod for neck adjustments.

The sound of this fella is like nothing on this list, but still somehow suited for sort of a wild blues approach. It’s raw, punchy, somewhat mellow and always strong. Recommended for more adventurous blues players!


Gretsch G9200 BOXCAR – Best Resonator For Blues

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Body&Neck:4.6 Stars
Hardware:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.7 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Another sound that defines a certain style of blues comes from the mighty resonator guitars. These things combine wood and metal to reel in an acoustic sound with extra grind and bite to it.

The specific model we have in mind is the G9200 Boxcar from Gretsch. This fella is highly resonant thanks to a full-on mahogany body combined with a sturdy mahogany neck.

This tonewood combo secures a booming sound with plenty of power, bite, and punch, but also a mellow side that works like a charm with light blues and slide guitar.

Additional notable features include an AmpliSonic cone, a spider bridge, a rosewood fingerboard and a 25-inch scale length.


Gibson Les Paul Studio – An All-Time Titan

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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

Pretty much every guitar-driven genre can profit from a classic Gibson Les Paul guitar but for this rundown we opted for the company’s Studio model.

It’s a 2016 model, a bit more on the dark side in aesthetic term, but still loaded with that classic chunky LP vibe. We’re looking at a carved maple top, mahogany back, the original neck width and shape, a baked maple fingerboard, and trapezoid inlays.

The guitar is of course loaded with a pair of PAF-inspired humbuckers, securing a classic Les Paul tone, which means an articulate boom with strong middles and basses, but still more than enough brightness from the treble section to secure a well-rounded tone.

The neck is a bit on the chunky side, giving away a bit more of a rock ‘n’ roll feel to this machine. The guitar is available in three gorgeous finishes – Satin Ebony, Worn Brown, and Satin Fireburst. One of the best guitars for blues rock, that’s for sure!


Martin 000-15M – Top Of The Line Acoustic Blues Guitar

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Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.8 Stars
Sound:5 Stars
Value:4.9 Stars
Average:4.9 Stars

Now if you’re more of an acoustic guy, then the top option for you is of course a fine Martin six-string. This is a company with best choices for a variety of music styles, but we believe that the finest model for the blues is the 000-15M.

This is an all-mahogany beast, utilizing an all-mahogany body and a mahogany neck. This secures stability and durability on one side, and plenty of resonance and boom on the other. The tone is just bright and twangy enough to fit the Delta blues label, but still not as grind-driven as the resonator six-string we’ve just discussed.

The tone is generally soft and warm, perfectly usable for a variety of other styles. However, blues is where this Martin feels like home.

Other notable features include a wide rosewood fretboard with 20 frets and white dot markers, a rosewood bridge, a small pick-guard, a classy rosette, and some die-cast tuners.


The Perfect Blues Guitars For Beginners:

Fender CD-60 – The Top Acoustic Blues Guitar For Starters

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Body&Neck:4.1 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Electronics:4.1 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:4.8 Stars
Average:4.4 Stars

Since not everyone can afford a Martin guitar, we’d like to add that the CD-60 model from Fender is your top choice for the best affordable blues guitar.

We are essentially looking at a similar approach to the 000-15M, but with all the right budget cuts to make the instrument still sound solid and in the similar vain, except at a far more affordable price.

The six-string utilizes a laminated mahogany top featuring a scalloped X-bracing, along with laminated mahogany sides and back. Also included in the mix is a mahogany neck, a rosewood fingerboard, a rosewood bridge, and even an electronic section with a Fishman Isys III pickup system featuring a built-in active preamp with a tuner.

For the listed price, this is a top-notch set of components and the sound isn’t half bad either with a warm vibe suited for all sorts of bluesy music. For this price range, quite possibly the best acoustic-electric guitar for blues, that’s for sure!


Squier Affinity Telecaster – The Best Rated Blues Guitar For Beginners

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Body&Neck:5 Stars
Hardware:4.3 Stars
Electronics:4.5 Stars
Sound:4.8 Stars
Value:5 Stars
Average:4.7 Stars

Finally, arguably the best cheap electric blues guitar – the Affinity Telecaster from Squier. We already noted that a Tele is a good choice for this type of music and we believe that this one fits the bill the most.

The first reason is the fact that even at this cheap price, the manufacturer managed to throw in an alder body, which is a feature associated with far more expensive instruments.

Secondly, the pair of single-coil pickups really does a fine job in delivering that bright, twangy vibe that just screams blues rock. There’s enough room for various sonic modifications here through Volume and Tone knobs, and the onboard pickup selector. For the listed price, this is really a stellar deal!


Conclusion

And this brings us to the very end of our little journey, boys and girls! We hope you enjoyed the ride and learned something new about blues six-strings and maybe even found your new favorite for the best blues guitar on the market.

Perhaps most importantly, you can rest assured that each of the listed items is an instrument you simply cannot regret purchasing if blues is your thing, if you are on the other end of the spectrum, may be you will enjoy our article on the best electric guitars for metal. If you liked this stuff, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter and keep track of the site. If you have questions, drop a comment in the section below, any sort of feedback is of course greatly appreciated. Rock steady, roll easy, folks!