The 33 Best Electric Guitars – Your Guide To A Great Sounding Instrument

Last Updated: Jul-18-2018
So much has changed since our last refresh – where do we begin! First we answered some common questions that you might have. Then we reviewed our top ten chart and individual categories, and removed several older models including the Gibson Les Paul Faded T 2017, Epiphone’s G-310 SG, and the ESP MH-50. We added many others including one of the greatest guitars ever made, the Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy, the premium Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster, the Yamaha RevStar RS420 and Mark Holcomb’s signature PRS MHHB2 SE. As for hollow body models, we added the Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe and the Epiphone ES-335 PRO, while the Schecter C-1 SGR really impressed in the cheap category.

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.

Table Of Contents

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 spanning many levels and price ranges, before more detailed summaries of each instrument.

Top 10 Best Electric Guitars:

ImageElectric Guitar / RatingSummaryCheck Price
+ - Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy

Total of 4.95/5  

The top of our chart as it’s one of the best in the world!

+ - Ibanez JEM77WDP Steve Vai Signature ‘Woody’ Ibanez JEM77WDP Steve Vai Signature ‘Woody’

Total of 4.85/5  

Steve Vai’s premium Ibanez is a beautiful beast.

+ - PRS Mark Holcomb SE PRS Mark Holcomb SE

Total of 4.80/5  

Focused tone and insane playability from this Mark Holcomb signature.

+ - Fender American Special Stratocaster Fender American Special Stratocaster

Total of 4.84/5  

A special Stratocaster at an excellent price.

+ - Yamaha RevStar RS420 Yamaha RevStar RS420

Total of 4.88/5  

A retro street-racing-inspired beauty with a powerful vintage tone.

+ - Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe

Total of 4.75/5  

A semi-hollow model that’s dressed to kill!

+ - Ibanez RG450DX Ibanez RG450DX

Total of 4.50/5  

A modern rock classic that’s so easy to play.

+ - Epiphone Les Paul Standard Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Total of 4.64/5  

Epiphone’s affordable Les Paul is a real beauty.

+ - Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Total of 4.58/5  

A solid, reliable and affordable Pacifica from Yamaha.

+ - Schecter C-1 SGR Schecter C-1 SGR

Total of 4.78/5  

Undoubtedly one of the best cheap guitars out there.

Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy

Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy

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Topping our list of the best electric guitars is also the model that tops the list of the best expensive guitars – the incredible John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy from Ernie Ball Music Man.

You’ll have to read our full review to fully appreciate the prestige of this premium guitar. It features a build and electronics that meet John Petrucci’s specifications, resulting in a drop-dead gorgeous design, a neck that allows you to play with speed and finesse, and a tone that’s out of this world.

Among many other features, it sports an African mahogany body with a maple top, two insane DiMarzio Sonic Ecstasy humbuckers, extensive controls, and a custom floating tremolo bridge. Even for the huge price tag, it offers good value!

Ibanez JEM77WDP Steve Vai Signature ‘Woody’

Ibanez JEM77WDP Steve Vai Signature ‘Woody’

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Part of the famous Steve Vai JEM Signature series of guitars, the JEM7V from Ibanez is a high-end tone machine with endless playability and a kick-ass design – just what the virtuoso demands.

Featuring a comfortable Ibanez Superstrat body made of solid alder, this awesome model shows off some beautiful appointments that give it serious attitude and individuality. These include the custom white paint job, distinctive monkey grip in the body, the Tree of Life fretboard inlays, and the gold hardware.

Playability is incredible on the 24-fret Prestige maple/walnut neck, while the tone is powerful and articulate thanks to the trio of DiMarzio Evolution pickups. You can read more on the Ibanez JEM7V in the complete breakdown.

PRS Mark Holcomb SE

PRS Mark Holcomb SE

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Paul Reed Smith has once again excelled itself with a top-notch creation – and one that feels pretty good value at under a grand. The awesome MHHB2 SE – the signature model of Periphery guitarist Mark Holcomb – features the familiar SE body made of solid mahogany with an eye-catching quilted maple top, all with a custom paintjob.

Playability is also excellent thanks to the satin-finished slim 24-fret rosewood fretboard. As for electronics, the MHHB2 SE features two Seymour Duncan humbuckers (an Alpha at the neck and Omega at the bridge) which include coil-splitting.

Overall, the tone is as impressive as the design and feel, with a great balance between power and focus. Check out the full review for everything you need to know!

Fender American Special Stratocaster

Fender American Special Stratocaster

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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.

Yamaha RevStar RS420

Yamaha RevStar RS420

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Retro players rejoice! As we mention in the full review of the Yamaha RevStar RS420, this affordable model is a real treat for vintage enthusiasts, as it offers both cool retro looks and a vintage tone to match.

This classic tone is mainly down to the pair of specially-wound VH3 humbuckers, while the Dry Switch offers the addition of hum-free single-coil tone for huge versatility in this guitar. The design is brilliant and looks like something straight out of 1960s London’s motorbike street-racing scene, which is exactly the look Yamaha were going for!

There’s a very comfortable and distinctive double-cutaway body made of nato with a maple top, finished in a range of snazzy retro color choices. Awesome!

Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe

Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe

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When it comes to hollow body guitars, there are few better looking than the Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe, which truly is dressed to kill. The Swedish brand have crafted an excellent model, which features a semi-hollow body made of laminated flamed maple, with a glossy black paintjob that’s complemented with some lovely detailing.

But it’s not just a pretty face, as this beauty shows off some reliable, performance-enhancing hardware. This includes a duo of Hagstrom HJ-50 covered humbuckers at the bridge and neck, some excellent tuners with an 18:1 ratio and a chrome tune-o-matic bridge with Hagstrom Tremar Vibrato tailpiece.

You can read more about this awesome mid-range model in our full review.

Ibanez RG450DX

Ibanez RG450DX

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A real hall-of-famer from Ibanez, which displays true rock style and lightning-fast playability in an affordable beginner-friendly package. With the classic Superstrat body in a range of colors, this RG is made of solid basswood and features a slick, thin Wizard III maple neck, with rosewood fretboard and 24 jumbo frets, making it superb for chugging powerchords and fast soloing.

Its loaded with a trio of Ibanez Quantum pickups – two passive humbuckers at the bridge and neck, with a single-coil in the middle, giving a huge rock tone, with bags of versatility.

It also sports a good Edge-Zero II bridge and locking nut for increased tuning stability. Make sure to check out our full review of the RG450DX for all the details.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

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Epiphone’s Les Paul Standard is a real staple of the sub-$500 market and one that is hard to find flaws with for such an affordable price. While it’s not competing with Gibson, it certainly offers a big taste of true Les Paul style, feel and tone.

The 24.75” scale length body sports the classic LP single-cutaway shape made from mahogany with a flamed maple top, while the set mahogany neck offers good playability. As we look at in the full review.

The Les Paul Standard is equipped with solid hardware and electronics that deliver good tone and a reliable playing experience, including two Alnico Classic humbuckers, Grover tuners, and a locking tune-o-matic bridge.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

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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.

Schecter C-1 SGR

Schecter C-1 SGR

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This is undoubtedly one of the top budget electric guitars out there! While it’s a step down from some of Schecter’s higher-end models of a similar design, the C-1 SGR sports the style, playability and tone that makes the American brand so well-respected in the world of rock and metal.

As we highlight in the full review of the C-1 SGR, this gorgeous guitar features a sleek gothic-inspired design, with a double-cutaway body made of solid basswood and a slender 24-fret maple neck.

For such a cheap guitar, the attractive decoration is very surprising, while the electronics and hardware are also decent at this price range – there are two SGR humbuckers, a set of sealed tuners, and a fixed tune-o-matic bridge.

Guitars For Beginners:

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

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Epiphone’s Les Paul Standard is a real staple of the sub-$500 market and one that is hard to find flaws with for such an affordable price. While it’s not competing with Gibson, it certainly offers a big taste of true Les Paul style, feel and tone.

The 24.75” scale length body sports the classic LP single-cutaway shape made from mahogany with a flamed maple top, while the set mahogany neck offers good playability. As we look at in the full review.

The Les Paul Standard is equipped with solid hardware and electronics that deliver good tone and a reliable playing experience, including two Alnico Classic humbuckers, Grover tuners, and a locking tune-o-matic bridge.

Squier Affinity Jazzmaster HH

Squier Affinity Jazzmaster HH

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Squier has hit the nail on the head here by taking the fantastic beginner-friendly playability of the Jazzmaster and removing the complicated electronics, to deliver a simple, fun to play and affordable guitar.

It also looks great too, with the relaxed solid alder Jazzmaster/Jaguar body finished in white, with a vintage ͚68 Stratocaster headstock topping it off. The bolt-on maple neck is great, with a scale length of 25.5”, a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets.

Jazzmaster purists won͛t be impressed with the electronics but for beginners it͛s a godsend, with two stock Squier humbuckers and simple volume and tone controls, leading to a solid tone for everything from blues to metal with minimal fuss. There͛s more on the Affinity Jazzmaster HH in the full review.

Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion

Jackson JS1X Dinky Minion

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Whether you͛re buying for a kid, have smaller hands or just want an all-round easier experience when first learning to play, a smaller scale guitar can be a blessing. This is where models like the JS1X Dinky Minion from Jackson really impress.

Not only does it offer a petite 22.5” scale length, it comes at an equally small price! Using a similar blueprint to the original Dinky, this model features a compact double-cutaway body made of poplar, finished in several cool colors.

The slim maple neck still offers a full 24 frets, while it͛s very well-suited towards heavier styles as the pair of high-output Jackson humbuckers suggest. A solid choice for beginners, as we state in the full Dinky Minion review.

Under $1000:

Fender American Special Telecaster

Fender American Special Telecaster

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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 Hellraiser C-1

Schecter Hellraiser C-1

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Schecter͛s Hellraiser C-1 is a stalwart of the mid-range metal market. Year after year it remains in our charts, for good reason – it looks awesome, it plays like a dream, it sounds great and shows real value for money.

This sub-$1000 guitar shows off the familiar Schecter Superstrat body shape, made of solid mahogany with a quilted maple top, all finished in a glossy paintjob (there͛s three cool varieties to choose from) and elegant abalone purfling.

There͛s a maple neck set with Schecter͛s Ultra-Access heel allowing for exceptional playability in the higher registers. It comes with two EMG active humbuckers – an 81TX at the bridge and an 89 at the neck – giving a lively, powerful tone. Want more? Read the complete Hellraiser C-1 review here.

EVH Striped Series Stratocaster

EVH Striped Series Stratocaster

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There are iconic guitars and then there are absolute legends. This EVH Striped Series Strat is a variation of the latter – Eddie Van Halen͛s famous striped Frankenstrat.

However, you don͛t need to fork out over $10k for this version, as it comes with a respectable sub-$1,000 price tag. Sporting a familiar Strat style basswood body, this model is available in three iconic EVH-approved colors. Playability – as you͛d expect – is top-notch, with a reinforced quatersawn maple neck and a compound radius rosewood fretboard.

Keeping things simple, there͛s just a single Direct Mount Wolfgang Humbucker at the bridge, controlled by a single volume... sorry, ͚tone͛ control. Overall, an awesome purchase for players of rock, metal and fans of EVH. Be sure to check out the complete review.

Under $500:

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster

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If the sixties aren’t vintage enough for you, what about the 1950s? If so, this fifties-inspired beauty from Fender’s cheaper little brother Squier may be exactly what you’re after.

It features the timeless Telecaster body, made of solid pine with a C-shaped maple neck and a 21-fret maple fretboard. With several retro color choices, it looks the part and certainly plays very well.

Hardware is also commendable, while it is loaded with two custom vintage-style single-coil Tele pickups, which do the job of producing a distinctly vintage tone with all the Tele twang you could ask for at this price! You can read more on the Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster in the full review.

Yamaha Pacifica PAC311H

Yamaha Pacifica PAC311H

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Yamaha͛s celebrated Pacifica Series is well-represented across the market, with super affordable budget models right up to high-end performers targeted at the gigging professional. The PAC311H isn͛t as high end as the latter category – coming in at under 500 bucks – but still offers stage-worthy playability and electronics.

Of course, it shows off the familiar curvaceous Strat-style double-cutaway shape, made of alder and coming in a range of color choices. There͛s an unfinished fast-playing maple neck which actually feels lovely in the hands.

As for electronics, the PAC311H proves very versatile, with an Alnico V P-90 at the neck and an Alnico V humbucker at the bridge, with coil-splitting. Suitable for so many styles. Be sure to check out the complete review here.

ESP LTD EC-256FM

ESP LTD EC-256FM

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You can always rely on ESP to produce a guitar with edge, and the LTD EC-256FM certainly had a good dose of attitude. It sports the familiar Les Paul single-cutaway shape, with the body made from solid mahogany and a striking flamed maple top (made all the more eye-catching with that delicious golden Lemon Drop finish).

ESP puts its mark on the playability of the mahogany neck, with a slim and fast-playing U shape and 22 extra jumbo frets – a great feel for lead players.

The hardware is all-round reliable, while it comes fitted with two ESP Designed LH-150 humbuckers, for a decent tone that͛s versatile enough for any kind of style. Check out the full review of the ESP LTD EC-256FM.

Under $200:

Squier by Fender Affinity Stratocaster HSS

Squier by Fender Affinity Stratocaster HSS

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Whether you’re just starting out or are looking for a reliable axe that won’t break the bank, Squier’s Affinity Stratocaster HSS is a very solid choice. As the HSS in the name suggests, this budget model features three pickups – two single-coils and a humbucker at the bridge.

This trio breaks the classic Strat mold, but allows for great versatility as it performs well for everything from blues to heavy rock. The alder body sticks closer to Fender’s original Stratocaster, with a well-contoured double-cutaway shape and a 21-fret maple neck.

Throw in some decent hardware, such as the vintage style synchronized tremolo bridge, and you have yourself a very good budget electric. There’s more on this Strat in the complete review.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

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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.

Epiphone Les Paul Special II

Epiphone Les Paul Special II

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Looking for a Les Paul for less that $200? You͛ve just found it! While it͛s a world away from a Gibson Les Paul, this Epiphone model is a very popular solution for beginners as well as other guitarists looking for an affordable axe to bash around.

Not that you͛d particularly want to bash it around – it looks and feels lovely, with a vintage sunburst-finished mahogany body, a bolt-on mahogany neck and rosewood fretboard with 22 frets. It͛s equally as appealing in the sound department, fitted with two Epiphone humbuckers –a 650R at the neck and a 700T at the bridge.

These are basic stock pickups but prove surprisingly versatile. Be sure to check out all the details in the Les Paul Special II͛s full review.

Expensive Guitars:

Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

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Not many players can find their way around a Strat as well as Slowhand, which is probably why we love his high-end Fender signature model so much. This premium Strat is made in Fender’s American facility using quality materials to produce a sensational guitar.

These include a solid alder body and a 22-fret maple neck with a soft V shape. The hardware is equally impressive as it features three Fender Vintage Noiseless single-coils in the traditional Strat positioning, as well as a range of advanced tone controls including a Treble Bass Expander and active mid-boost control.

It all adds up to a simple but beautiful guitar with huge playability, tone and versatility – as we mention in the full review of the Eric Clapton Stratocaster.

Godin LGXT 3-Voice Solid Body

Godin LGXT 3-Voice Solid Body

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Look at it this way: a professional artist could go out and buy three mid-range guitars capable of producing every sound imaginable – or they could just buy the Godin LGXT 3-Voice Solid Body, whichis essentially three guitars rolled into one.

While we go into more detail in the full review of this high-end performer, it comes loaded with two Seymour Duncan custom humbuckers, a bridge transducer pickup and output for a synth – allowing for electric and acoustic guitar tones, with fast guitar synth tracking.

This versatile guitar looks unique and feels lovely to play, with a 22-fret mahogany neck and an attractive body made of two maple varieties. Whatever output you choose, the LGXT 3-Voice delivers a very high-quality sound with endless tonal scope.

Dean MAB1 Speed of Light

Dean MAB1 Speed of Light

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Michael Angelo Batio is an absolute metal legend for his blistering melodic solos that earn him the title of the fastest electric guitarist in the world. So, who could turn down his sensational high-end guitar, the MAB1 Speed of Light from Dean.

With a nicely contoured solid alder ͚Batio͛ body shape, the MAB1 features an outstanding design with a custom multi-colored Speed of Light graphic and incredible playability, with an ultra-slim 24-fret maple neck built to MAB͛s specifications.

Looks aside, it͛s a top performer in the tone department too, fitted with three solid EMG active pickups to deliver the powerful but articulate sound the jaw-dropping shredder is known for. Check out the full MAB1 review for all the details!

Hollow Guitars:

Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II)

Godin 5th Avenue CW Electric Guitar (Kingpin II)

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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

Gretsch G5420T

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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 Masterbilt Zenith Classic

Epiphone Masterbilt Zenith Classic

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Epiphone is a brand that loves to bring classic models back to life – and we love the fact they do because it results in models such as the Zenith Classic. Naturally, this modern archtop guitar is a faithful reissue of the legendary Epiphone Zenith, oozing thirties style and a nostalgic tone.

It features a non-cutaway archtop body made from laminated flamed maple and capped with a solid spruce top, finished in an appropriate aged gloss. As we mention in the full Zenith Classic review, the main décor lies on the neck, with pearloid falling snowflakes strewn across the ebony fretboard.

A real beauty! Throw in an eSonic HD preamp, Shadow NanoFlex HD undersaddle pickup, and solid Epiphone reissue tuners and this is one must-have vintage model.

7 String Guitars:

Schecter Banshee Elite-7 FR S

Schecter Banshee Elite-7 FR S

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Interested in upping the string count to seven? Then it’s hard to go wrong with this high-end beauty from Schecter, which delivers a stunning build with endless sustain.

As we highlight in the full review of the Banshee Elite-7, it features an attractive natural design with an alternating 24-fret maple/walnut through-body neck and swamp ash ‘wings’, with a flamed maple top. Some quality woods, but that’s not even the best thing – that comes from the electronics.

This model is loaded with a powerful USA SuperCharger Mach-7 humbucker, along with the innovative Sustainiac at the neck, which offers infinite sustain – seriously! Controls are ample and hardware is reliable, giving this model a true sense of premium.

8 String Guitars:

Ibanez M80M Meshuggah Signature

Ibanez M80M Meshuggah Signature

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In the 8-string guitar market, it’s the M80M Meshuggah Signature from Ibanez that tops our chart due to its insane tone and huge playability. This high-end model isn’t cheap, but it’s very good value for what’s on offer.

Developed closely with Mesguggah guitarists Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström, it features a relatively simple design, with an attractively weathered solid ash body and an extra-long reinforced 24-fret maple/walnut neck which plays like butter.

There’s just one pickup on this guitar, but it’s a great one – the Lundgren Model M8P humbucker. This offers a tight but powerful tone with great versatility, making it as good for heavy metal as it is jazz – as we mention in the complete M80M’s review.

Jazz Guitars:

Epiphone Broadway

Epiphone Broadway

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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:

Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 PRO

Epiphone Limited Edition ES-335 PRO

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Gibson’s ES-335 is a legend in the world of archtop guitars and blues. However, if you don’t want to spend the premium price to buy one, Epiphone’s more affordable ES-335 PRO is an awesome substitute.

Sticking closely to the ES-335 blueprint, this model features a 24.75” scale length archtop body made from a maple and birch laminate. There’s also a very playable 22-fret mahogany neck, which is glued into the body.

As we look at in the full Epiphone ES-335 PRO review this model is equipped with a pair of Alnico Classic Pro humbuckers with simple but effective controls, making for a versatile guitar – great for everything from rock and country, to jazz and blues!

Metal Guitars:

Schecter Synyster Gates Custom

Schecter Synyster Gates Custom

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For metal there are few better performers than this menacing guitar from Schecter; the signature model of Avenged Sevenfolds lead guitarist Synyster Gates. From the pinstripe double-cutaway mahogany body emerges a hugely-playable thin C-shaped mahogany set neck with ebony fretboard, 24 extra-jumbo frets, and Schecters Ultra-Access construction to allow unhindered access to the highest of frets.

The guitar is voiced by two beefy Seymour Duncan Invader Syn humbuckers at the bridge and neck, which provide a powerful metal output and lots of low end, while retaining the clarity required for solos.

Theres also some performance hardware including Grover tuners, a Floyd Rose 1000 Series Tremolo bridge, and a locking nut. Make sure to check out our full review of this awesome Synyster Gates Custom.

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.

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!

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.

What is Considered a Good Electric Guitar?

A good question! However, it completely depends on your budget. If money is no object, then you can’t go far wrong with something like an American-made Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul, although those will set you back a hefty chunk of cash.

With so many styles, types and genres of guitar and guitar music, what may be ‘good’ to you, may not be ‘good’ to the guy next to you. For example, an amazing metal guitar with active pickups is not likely to be classed as a good guitar for a vintage jazz enthusiast.

However, a broadly defined ‘good guitar’ will share a few characteristics that you should look out for when purchasing your next electric.

Reliability is one of these. There are many different parts to an electric guitar. In addition to the body and neck being put together solidly, there are the components to consider. The pickups, controls, circuitry and output jack all need to be well made and connected securely, while the bridge and tuners should function correctly, with nothing too loose or too stiff.

Playability is another characteristic that is shared between electric guitars spanning all price ranges. A good guitar shouldn’t feel like a chore to play. In fact, a great guitar is one you want to pick up and play all the time!

How Much Does a Good Electric Guitar Cost?

You can certainly find good guitars in the budget price ranges, which are perfect for beginners. In fact, you don’t need to spend much more than $200 to find a really good electric guitar that will suit beginner and intermediates alike (something from Squier, or Yamaha’s Pacifica series for example).

However, many guitarists will define a ‘good electric guitar’ as one which is more than an entry-level model. It won’t be a premium guitar, but still one that will be able to cope with both home practice and stage performance (for most people, this will be a second or third guitar).

We are talking about an attractive body, a smooth neck, upgraded pickups and possibly extras such as locking tremolo systems or special electronics. If this is the case, you will need to look in the $400 to $600 price range to find something of this quality.

Which Brand of Electric Guitar is The Best?

It’s hard to determine the best brand as everybody has different opinions. However, you cannot talk about the best electric guitar brands without immediately mentioning Fender and Gibson.

Established in 1946 and 1902 respectively, these two iconic American companies are the undisputed kings when it comes to electric guitar, with Fender’s legendary Telecaster and Stratocaster rivalled by Gibson’s famous Les Paul and SG models.

However, there are some other manufacturers that cannot be overlooked when discussing the best brands.

For example, in the world of heavy rock and metal, manufacturers such as Dean, Ibanez, ESP and PRS are all heavyweights of the electric guitar world and a premium guitar from one of these brands is as good as a high-end Fender or Gibson.

Then you have brands such as Yamaha and Epiphone, who consistently impress in the budget market as much as they do the higher-end.

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!


Reader Interactions

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!

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

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

  9. 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

    • With that budget you can look about anywhere you choose. Try epiphone, maybe a boutique builder along the lines of your ideal, even a good kit that you rough in and take to a great tech/Luthier to trim finish….but about the Gibson…play em yourself, don’t get upset by a bunch of rumbling that’s largely bad noise. What your hearing is chatter largely perpetuated by their competition. They had a rough patch when they had ALL their imported wood jerked out from under them do to a screw-up of paperwork, wouldn’t at all surprise me if the government changed the rules and didn’t tell anybody(again). You can imagine what Gibson had to do to stay afloat, compromise was inevitable. I’m sure they more than anyone regret that, but you know everyone else in the industry was plenty happy to keep the scuttlebutt going, they ALL hate you when you’re on top. She. I was with strings and things of Memphis, Gibson came out of packing set up beautifully, usually perfectly in tune or nigh on to it. No other maker came close at all. By the way , I’m not a Gibson guy, the only one I’ve had is for sale, I prefer a more modern platform, that’s just my preference. But I still have to give props where they’re due…say, if your interested in an SG ’67 reissue at a good price, hit me up. I’ll give you the skinny on it, all right and wrong, and beat the brakes off any price from a shop!

  10. All I can say is quit wasting $ on new. A new guitar is like a new car it’s gonna lose 20% of its value once you take it out the first time. Unless you are buying a Gibson or fender custom shop etc Just go for what plays and sounds great. Perfect example is the Esp ltd ec401vf or 400. Used $300-400 has stock seymour duncan 59 neck jb bridge or the newer 401 has the dimarzio’s in it. Grovers tuners earvana nut mahogany body. Just an excellent setup for half the price of an epi les paul. Don’t get me wrong I have an Epi les paul traditional pro and it’s a nice guitar but for $750 nah. Since I picked up the 401 I hardly play my jag mustang or either of my epi l.p. or sg. Its just that nice of a guitar. If you are in the market for a les paul style or a new guitar in general take a look at the 400 series it’s a whole lot of guitar for the $

  11. I have a Modern player Strat and people say that Chinese made guitars are bad. I recently played a Custom Shop Strat then went home and played my MPS. Hardly any difference in playability.

  12. How you can ignore Godin as a quality electric guitar manufacturer boggles the imagination…..I have four and they outperform any other guitar at even twice or three times the price, duh!

    • We stand corrected. There are a few Godin models that we have in mind for our next article update. Stay tuned! 🙂

  13. In the metal section there was no Chapman. I would definitely recommend the chapman ghost fret standard. it is under 1000 dollars and is amazing in sound, hardware and is an amazing looking guitar.

  14. I have a Pacifica 012 and I would consider it a good basic guitar. Nothing more. It’s a few years old. Maybe the newer models are better. I’ll either turn it into a project guitar or sell it cheap or give it away.

  15. Hi any advice would be appreciated, learning electric guitar and am torn between epiphone l.p. standard at about 450 pounds and Yamaha 612v11fm on offer at 350 pounds, ease of play is important as I am not getting any younger, thanks in advance.

  16. I heard off of a great guitarist years ago when I asked him about fender and gibson he said they were expensive and not great and also said the Gordon Smith guitars played and sounded great and as they never advertised and were a small builder in the uk the cost was cheap for the quality of the guitar. A players guitar rather than a fancy looking guitar thats all show and less go. I think they are the price of a mim strat but great hardware not chinese.

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