Electric guitars are one of the most popular instruments for beginners.
Personally, I’d recommend the PRS SE Custom 24, as among the best electric guitars (will talk more about this later).
Honestly, who hasn’t dreamed of doing a snazzy guitar riff in front of a rambunctious crowd?
However, the guitar world can be daunting and confusing, considering that there are numerous electric guitars on the market, and you probably don’t know much yet about your new instrument.
But you don’t have to worry, this article will provide you with all you need to know about electric guitars.
It will even come with a product review section, a buying guide and lastly, a FAQs section to help you find the best electric guitars in the market.
Here are the best electric guitars
- PRS SE Custom 24 – Best Overall
- Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster – Best for Beginners
- Fender American Ultra Telecaster – Best High-end Electric Guitar
- Gretsch G5222 Electromatic Double Jet – Best Hollow-body Electric Guitar
- Fender American Performer Stratocaster HSS – Best Stratocaster
- Epiphone Les Paul Standard ’60s – Best Humbucker Electric Guitar
- Ibanez Gio GRGM21M – Best Budget Electric Guitar
- Squier Mini Strat – Best for Kids
- Fender Player Telecaster – Best Telecaster
- ESP LTD EC-1000 – Best for Metal
Their SE Custom 24 is the newest addition to Paul Reed Smith Guitars, featuring a shallow violin carve, mahogany body, maple neck and rosewood fingerboard and finished with a maple veneer.
The Paul Reed Smith SE 24 guitar is versatile with its three-way pickup selector and push-pull tone controls, giving you eight distinct tones.
This guitar also comes with a Fender Stratocaster-like coil-split functionality and thick humbucker pickups.
The PRS SE 24 is also comfortable to play in with its 25-inch body, “wide-thin” neck, and extra frets.
- 10 Best PRS Guitars in 2022 (Reviews): Which PRS is Best for You?
- PRS SE Custom 24 vs SE Standard 24 – Which is Better?
- Clearly well-made and durable
- Provides eight pickups
- Wide tonal variety
- Comfortable to play in
- No left-handed custom
This guitar is made of an eye-catching combination of an alder body and a C-shaped maple neck.
Squier’s Classic Vibe guitar comes with three single-coils, a five-way toggle switch, volume control, and tone controls to produce varied tones and sounds.
Despite its high-end features, this Squier guitar has an affordable price point compared to its competitors.
- Ideal for beginners on a budget
- Provides varied tones
- Exudes a vintage vibe
- No fret buzzes
- Sticky guitar finish
The Fender American Ultra Telecaster guitar comes with a durable maple body, D-shaped maple neck, and different colored scratchplates, giving it a classy and modern look.
The Fender American Telecaster measures 25.5-inches and comes with 22 medium-jumbo frets, making it easy and comfortable to play in.
The Fender Telecaster guitar is an excellent choice in terms of its tone production with an ultra-noiseless single-coil bridge pickup, three-way selector switch, and a master tone switch for your convenience and to prevent unnecessary humming.
This Fender guitar also comes with deluxe locking tuners to keep the strings stable and easy to adjust.
Also Read: Fender American Ultra Luxe Telecaster Review
- Produces wide tonal variety
- Classy and modern look
- Comes in various colored finishes
- Has 22 medium-jumbo frets
Despite its lower price point, the Gretsch G5222 guitar features a Gibson Les Paul design and boasts a high-quality construction, comfortable playability, and high-end specs.
The G5222 comes in a 24.6-inched chambered mahogany body, a U-shaped mahogany neck to give it a modern look and enhance playability.
This guitar also features a double-cut curve, resulting in easier access to the 22 medium-jumbo frets.
The G5222 comes with the coveted Dual Broad Tron pickups that the guitarist can adjust via either the master volume and master tone control, the three-way toggle switch, or the individual volume controls.
With a three-way selector, the G5222 guitar can produce numerous tones and sounds, ranging from country, jazz, pop, rock, and the like.
- Affordable price
- Modern and classy guitar
- Hollow lightweight body
- Dual Broad Tron pickups
- Slight feedback
Despite its low price, the Fender American Performer does not disappoint.
The Fender American Performer guitar comes with its 70s-inspired design and vintage-style tremolo bridge.
This electric guitar features an Alder body, C-shaped neck, resulting in enhanced playability and performance.
The 22 jumbo frets also makes it easy but it might take some getting used when you’re used to medium-jumbo or smaller frets.
The Fender American Performer guitar has single-coils coupled with Alnico V magnets, producing open-sounding and full-bodied tones.
This guitar also comes with a Greasebucket tone circuit to maintain gain and clarity and humbucker pickups for different tonal flavors.
- Vintage-style guitar
- Affordable price
- Enhanced playability
- High-end specs
- Jumbo frets might take getting used to
While not like the Gibson Les Paul or Gibson SG, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard guitar features high-quality construction made up of a solid mahogany body paired with a Rosewood fingerboard and maple top, making it easy and comfortable to play in.
The Epiphone Les Paul Standard also comes with Alnic humbucker pickups and three-way selector, producing a variety of sounds and tones.
You’ll find that the pickup itself gives a bright and clear tone. However, you can get blues-inspired tunes when you nudge the selector a little.
Hence, many guitarists favor the Epiphone Les Paul during their transition from beginner to intermediate level.
- Cater to various music styles
- High-end aesthetics
- Ideal for intermediate level
- High-quality construction
- Quite expensive compared to its competitors
Finding a high-quality short scale electric guitar is difficult.
The Ibanez Gio GRGM21M is one of the best electric guitars in the market today.
The short-scale GRGM21M comes in a 22.2-inched scale and features an RG-shaped Poplar body coupled with a comfortable neck and 24 medium frets.
With its dual STD humbucker pickups and three-way selector, the guitarist can cater to a decent range of music styles.
- Easy to play in
- Affordable price
- Decent specs
- Surprisingly sturdy
- Has a bit of rough edge on frets
Again, high-quality short scale guitars are uncommon in the guitar market as these guitars are usually marketed towards children.
However, the Squier Mini Strat is one of those high-quality ones.
The Squier Mini Strat is the scaled-down version of the original guitar, giving it the same classic look and feel.
With only a 22.75-inched scale length, the Mini Strat is ideal for children and smaller guitarists.
Squier’s Mini Strat also features three Fender single coils that are connected to a five-way selector and master volume and tone control knobs.
As such, this guitar is quite versatile and caters to various music styles.
- Miniature version of the classic Strat
- Versatile guitar
- Reliable hardware
- Slight feedback
The Fender Player Telecaster comes with an Alder body and paired with a C-shaped maple neck and fingerboard, enabling the guitar to produce a light tone, and making it comfortable to play with.
This guitar gives off a vintage feel and comes in six colors to choose from.
Fender’s Player Telecaster also boasts its versatility due to its Alnico V single coils with coil-split functionality, delivering a punchy tone balanced with ample output.
The pickups plus the guitar’s thin neck enables it to produce a variety of tones and cater to music styles such as the blues, jazz, pop, rock, etc.
Also Read: 10 best telecasters for the money
- Easy to play with
- Unique design
- Ideal for mid-range playing
- High-quality build
- Inferior bridge pickup sound
The ESP LTD is what most of us imagine when we think of best electric guitars.
Featuring a mahogany body, Rosewood fingerboard and the signature Gibson Les Paul single cutaway design, the LTD EC-1000 guitar is not only stunning but also easy to play with.
What makes the ESP LTD EC-1000 guitar great is that it produces an uncompromisingly brutal tone due to its unique set-in neck, EMG humbucker pickups, and a tone two-way toggle switch.
While you can still experiment with other music styles, it’s no question that this electric guitar was made for rock-n-roll.
The EC-1000 guitar is also easy to tune due to its TonePros bridge and locking tuners.
- Set neck providing excellent sustain
- Ideal for rock music
- Stable tuning
- Stunning aesthetics
- Unpolished frets
Purchasing the best electric guitar for you is a delicate affair since you must consider various factors.
The sheer number of electric guitars further complicates things due to the numerous choices available.
However, you don’t have to worry.
This buying guide will lay down all the essential factors you need to know about the best electric guitars in the market.
Electric guitars come in three body types – the hollow, semi-hollow, and solid body type.
Here are the differences between the three.
Hollow body electric guitars have similar bodies with acoustic guitars, providing more resonance and sound depth.
Their design enables them to produce rich and full tones and deep bass, making them a favorite among jazz and blues guitarists.
However, some of these electric guitars suffer from feedback problems during amplification.
Semi-hollow electric guitars are akin to hollow guitars but come with a solid wood center.
This construction enables the semi-hollow guitar to produce a rich and full sound coupled with the stability found in solid guitars.
As such, semi-hollow electric guitars can cater to various music styles, ranging from jazz to rock style of music.
Solid body electric guitars are the most familiar.
They are made from a solid piece of wood, resulting in less resonance and more low-end.
As such, the tone this guitar produces is more affected by the tonewood, its design, and the electronic equipment.
Moreover, these electric guitars are less bulky to hold and come in numerous designs compared to the other types.
The Gibson SG is a popular solid body electric guitar.
The guitar’s tonewood is also an essential factor since it affects its tone and sound.
There are numerous woods you can choose from and it’s best if you carefully study each.
Another factor that greatly affects the guitar’s volume and tone are pickups and your other electronic equipment.
Single coils feature a single coil of wire and a magnet, creating a magnetic field that affects the string’s vibrations.
Thus, single-coil pickups produce a thin and bright tone that can cut through dense rhythms.
You can often see single-coil pickups on electric guitars used for country, rock, and pop such as Fender and Telecaster.
However, single coils tend to hum loudly, affecting your tone and sound once you hit the high notes.
Gibson introduced the first humbucker pickups which are now the most common and popular type among the pickups.
Compared to the single coil pickups, humbucker pickups either have two coils and two magnets, or the coil split at opposite ends of the magnet to eliminate hum and produce powerful tones.
As such, humbucker pickups produce a thicker and more powerful volume and tone.
Humbucker pickups are versatile and are often seen in Gibson Les Paul electric guitars.
Electric guitars often come with multiple pickups, usually single-coil and humbucker pickups, giving the guitarist a variety of tones and sounds to choose from.
The pickup selector comes with either a blade selector, rotary knob, or toggle switch to help the guitarist access and control various pickups during the performance.
Your electric guitar’s tuning machine is also vital as it locks the strings in place and enables you to easily tune the guitar.
Tuning machines often pertain to bridges and tailpieces which are locking tuners that lock down at the guitar’s bridge and nut, providing stability and easy adjustability.
The bridge is found in the lower portion of your guitar and compensates for varying string lengths as it ensures that the strings are in tune with one another.
As such, guitarists often call the bridge as the “anchor” since both its material and adjustability features affect the electric guitar’s tone and sound.
Bigsby bridges are not as popular compared to other systems and are mostly found in vintage and vintage-style electric guitars.
These systems are large with a rotating bar that keeps all the strings attached.
A stoptail bridge features the combination of a Stop bar tailpiece and bridge and is found on most solid body electric guitars.
The stop bar tailpiece bridge type provides more tuning stability and has higher resonance.
Two-point rocking tremolo
They are also known as the fulcrum vibrato and come with individual string saddles that you adjust for intonation and height.
It also has locking tuners that clamp down on the guitar strings for stability.
Gibson produced the first tune-o-matic bridge in the 1950s which are now considered the standard and common feature every electric guitar should have.
The tune-o-matic bridge is easy to set up and is effective as they allow the guitarist to individually adjust the string’s intonation and heights.
Popular models in the market include the Epiphone Locktone tune-o-matic bridge and several Gibson products.
Also known as the Floyd Rose bridge, this bridge system is akin to the two-point rocking tremolo.
The Floyd Rose enables individual string height and intonation adjustments. Compared to the Tremolo, the locking vibrato secures the strings at both the head nut and bridge.
Electric guitar body shapes and materials
Electric guitars come in different body shapes and materials. The shape of the body can vary, but generally, all-electric guitars have an elongated contour shape. All guitar bodies are mainly built from wood.
If you are more adventurous you can build an electric guitar body from aluminum.
Guitar bodies are available in different materials too. Solid, hardwood guitar bodies are the most common type of guitar body material.
Basswood is a commonly used wood that delivers a rich, distinctive tone with balanced frequencies which makes it popular for guitars.
Hollow guitar bodies are not very common on the market today, but they have been around for a long and were used by jazz and blues artists to “warm-up” their sound and create a unique vibrato effect.
Different shapes give different tones to each model so you must think about your main purpose before buying one: if you plan on playing heavy metal you should choose a suitable shape, but for blues and jazz music there are no strict rules and you can choose whatever shape and material you like.
Different body shapes are usually associated with different tones – the most popular models are “superstrat” type guitars which have a flat compact shape, but there are also some other shapes that give less usual tones.
For example, an SG guitar has two sharp angular cuts on its body while a Les Paul’s body is always completely smooth.
How long was it before the electric guitar became popular?
It took about 10 years until the guitar became popular after its invention. At the time, amplifiers didn’t exist yet, so there wasn’t a way to make an electric guitar very loud.
This made it largely unpopular among musicians, although some players did start using hollow-bodied amplified guitars that were electrified with a “finger bar” built into the bridge which could be moved to touch one of six metal strings for certain sounds while playing.
These guitars used the same concept as of today’s fully solid-body electric guitars but had a softer sound and lower volume.
It wasn’t until the late 1930s that The Ro-Pat-In Corporation began to successfully market electric hollow-body guitars, now known as Rickenbacker guitars.
This company had previously made only acoustic instruments and was relatively unknown outside its hometown of Santa Ana, California.
Which electric guitar is best?
The best electric guitar is the one that sounds good to YOU.
Guitarists are often stuck on what kind of gear they should use to achieve certain sounds, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to personal preference.
It’s important to know what type of music you want to play and who your audience is, but at the end of the day, if it sounds good to you then that’s what matters.
What electric guitar do professionals use?
Although there are many types of guitars that professionals use for different purposes, depending on the band or artist’s genre, they usually use solid-body electric guitars with humbucker pickups.
Humbuckers produce a higher output level than single-coil pickups so it helps cut through the mix better when the distortion effect is turned up.
Solid-body electrics are mainly used in rock and metal music because these genres rely heavily on distortion effects which require an especially dense sound to compete with drums and other instruments.
When was the electric guitar invented?
George Beauchamp is widely credited as being the inventor of the electric guitar.
He was an engineer who loved music and decided to create his own after reading about the then-novel idea of “radiotelegraphy.”
It wasn’t until much later when the first solid-body was created by Les Paul and an electronic version of the instrument was made.
How long does it take to learn electric guitar?
It varies from person to person, depending on how dedicated they are and how quickly they’re able to pick up technique.
For example, if you practice 30 minutes a day for three months, you’ll be extremely good compared to someone who practices 3 hours a day for that same amount of time.
You can play great-sounding riffs in two weeks, but it takes years before your fingers adjust to things like chord changes and more complicated techniques such as sweep picking and tapping.
But in general, most people become comfortable with the basics within a month while some take several months.
How long does an electric guitar last?
It depends on how well you take care of it. If you’re not very good at maintaining your gear, the guitar will last around 10 years since that’s when problems become more likely to happen which can be expensive or difficult to fix.
When properly cared for, the guitar will last about 30-40 years before any major repairs are needed.
Which electric guitars are easiest to play?
Easiest to play electric guitars are those with a flat fretboard where the frets aren’t raised off of the board as they would be on an acoustic guitar.
They make it easier to press down on the strings as opposed to acoustic which requires you to press your fingers against the strings as hard as you can for them to sound without buzzing or muffled.
What is the most expensive Electric Guitar?
The most expensive production model currently being made is called ‘The Golden Child.’
It was created by Gibson Custom Shop, and only one exists out of its estimated value of 2 million dollars.
This makes up about 1/200th of all-electric guitars ever made so these models are extremely rare. If you do come
How to Maintain Your Electric Guitar
The best way to maintain your electric guitar is by cleaning, adjusting, and changing its parts that are prone to wear.
You should also try switching out the pickups or pickups modules for them to sound better when distorted.
By doing so, you’ll find yourself with a top-notch instrument long after purchase.
What are the Best Electric Guitar Brands?
Fender is one of the most popular brands because their guitars are known for their distinctive sound and quality craftsmanship.
Gibson is another popular brand whose Les Pauls are used by many notable artists including Jimmy Page who helped create hard rock and heavy metal genres after helping invent the electric guitar. Other brands include Ibanez, ESP, Dean Guitars, and more.
Electric Guitar Pickups Explained
The pickups on an electric guitar affect its sound as well as its functionality. The three types of pickups are passive, active, and sustainer pickups.
Passive pickups aren’t able to produce much gain which is necessary for heavy rock genres such as death metal and thrash metal.
Active pickups can generate a lot of output, but they also boost noise thus making them less versatile without a noise gate pedal. Sustainers resemble a humbucker but don’t require a battery to operate since they’re always engaged.
They mainly focus on producing a strong “low-end thump” sound which works great for funk, blues, and classic rock.
What kind of pickups do I need?
Pickups can be divided into three types: single-coil, humbucker, and piezo. Single coil pickups feature one magnetic pole or bar for each string so they produce a clear bright sound with little noise.
These guitars are especially suitable for recording because it’s easy to get rid of unwanted noise during recording sessions.
Humbucker pickups have two coils instead of one and usually produce warmer tones.
Piezo is a very unusual type of pickup that is used to reproduce acoustic guitars sound in an electric guitar.
Which Electric Guitar Pickup Should I Choose?
There are two kinds of pickups, namely single-coil and humbucker pickups. Single coil pickups have a brighter sound but they also pick up interferences from electrical equipment which is why most guitarists choose a noise gate pedal to cut out the excess noise.
Humbuckers have a fatter sound that doesn’t get too muddy when distorted, but they also generate more noise than single-coil pickups. These can be used with distortion without being too noisy if you use a noise gate pedal in conjunction with them.
In short, both work great with distortion if you add a noise gate pedal or just go for high gain tones without any pedals at all since most amps already include this effect.
Stratocaster or Humbucker? Which is Better?
Stratocasters are great for rock, blues, country genres especially since they have three single-coil pickups which generate a crisp and sharp sound. They’re also suitable for playing jazz and fusion styles of music.
The Humbucker on the other hand is best used when playing heavy metal genres due to the fatter and meatier tone that it provides. It’s also preferred by shredders and other guitarists who need a fat yet clear tone to be heard when playing at high volumes,
What Accessories do I need?
An electric guitar will sound good on its own, but it’s still important to have accessories for it to function optimally. One accessory that every guitarist needs is a guitar stand especially if you have expensive instruments that you want to take care of.
You can also get your instrument polished or even change the strings when they’ve gone dull or rusty. There are also effects pedals such as delay, reverb and other modulation effects which provide more creativity in musical composition when used properly.
What kind of Electric Guitar Strings should I use?
Electric guitars need very light gauge strings when played with high gain tones since this causes them to break easily.
However, standard acoustic strings can be used with distortion because regular electric guitar strings won’t sustain long enough to play the same notes repeatedly.
In short, heavier strings produce a thicker sound whereas lighter strings produce a brighter and sharper tone.
If you’re playing thrash metal genres then it’s best to use .009s or .010s since that ensures that they can take a lot of wear and tear from being hit against the fretboard
How Much Should I Pay for an Electric Guitar?
Typically, you should pay no more than 15% of your available budget. For example, if you have a $1000 budget then the maximum that you should pay for an electric guitar is $150.
There are certainly exceptions to this rule but it holds true most of the time.
This rule applies to all price ranges so even if you have a $10,000 budget for a new guitar, don’t buy a high-end guitar without thoroughly checking it out first.
Here are some major factors that affect the price of an electric guitar: Quality Materials – Durability and playability will increase with better materials such as solid wood instead of plywood or laminated wood/bodies. Better wood means higher quality tone and resonance which typically increases resale value later.
What are the different electric guitar brands?
Epiphone, Fender, Gibson, Ibanez, Squier, Paul Reed Smith Guitars, and Yamaha are known brands that provide some of the best electric guitars on the market.
How many and what size of frets do I get?
Electric guitars often come with 22 frets. However, 24 frets are recommended for higher registers.
The size of your fret depends on your preference.
Jumbo frets, the largest, are ideal for guitarists with bigger hands while smaller handed guitarists can do well with smaller frets.
However, many beginners choose 22 medium-jumbo frets for their first electric guitars.
What is the difference between a bridge pickup and a neck pickup?
The position of the pickups on your electric guitar produces various tonal qualities.
The bridge pickup produces a bright and piercing tone that is excellent for lead lines, riffs, rhythms, and solos.
In other words, the bridge pickup is “hotter” (aka louder) on the guitar neck.
On the other hand, neck pickups give a darker and warmer tone used for mostly melodies and lead solos.
What are some good electric guitar accessories?
Guitar amplifiers are a must for every electric guitar player, especially when you play on gigs.
The master volume and tone enable you to adjust the sound amplification and volume.
Some amplifiers also come with tone controls for the pickups, enabling you to choose from soft tones to bright and distorted sounds.
Out of the 10 best electric guitars on the list, the PRS SE Custom 24 tops them all.
With its high-quality construction, the SE Custom 24 is easy to play in while giving off a classic look and feel.
The guitar comes with a single coil pickup, the three-way selector, a mini toggle switch, and push-pull control enables it to produce varying tone qualities and ranges.
As such, the Custom 24 guitar is versatile, seamlessly transitioning to different music styles.
If you are looking for the best electric guitar, then the PRS SE Custom 24 is your best bet.