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What To Look For When Buying an Electric Guitar? Here are 6 IMPORTANT Things To Remember

After spending hours and hours watching Jimi Hendrix play the electric guitar like it’s nothing, you’d be crazy not to be in awe.

I mean, he wouldn’t be described as “arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for nothing.

jimi hendrix

The success of Jimi Hendrix can’t be achieved overnight, though. It takes countless months of practice to effortlessly play an electric guitar.

And if you want to be like the legendary Jimi or just want to play the electric guitar decently, hang on tight.

With the right electric guitar on your hands (and some determination), you’ll get there.

Before thinking about from which brand to get your electric guitar, be educated first.

Be in the know about the things to consider when buying an electric guitar. It might unleash something within you that you thought you never had.

 

How Much Are You Willing To Pay?

The amount you should spend on an electric guitar depends on how much you’re gonna use it. If it’s gonna be your first time to own an electric guitar, you’re best with something that’s made for beginners or intermediate players.

Electric guitars of this category won’t break the bank and are somewhere between $150 and $500.

Electric guitars under $500 will give you many decent options which will suit every beginner or intermediate players.

With this price range, you’ll find an electric guitar with good enough features, value packages, and starter kits.

Best Guitar Amplifiers under $300 (2)

These packages and kits may include an electric guitar, amplifier, guitar strings, straps, and other accessories needed by a beginner.

Many also include instructional books, DVDs, and online beginner’s lessons, plus other resources to keep the new player motivated to keep learning.

If you decide to buy a guitar and its accessories separately, note that you should spend more on the guitar than the amplifier.

The highlight here is the electric guitar and how comfortable you’ll feel whenever you try to play it. You can consider guitars that have good hardware, electronics, woods, cosmetics, and construction methods.

However, if you’re searching for a new electric guitar as an addition to your collection, given that you’re already an experienced player, you might consider guitars on the higher end of the price tag.

By now, you should know that a specially hand-crafted and high quality electric guitar is a great investment and will be worth the splurge.

Electric guitars priced at $1000 and above will give you lots of premium choices with the best features available.

Know The Different Body Types

To start your journey right, you first have to know the three basic types of electric guitar body styles—solid, hollow, and semi-hollow. Each type carries its own sound, so it’s a pretty big deal.

 

Solid Body

Considered as the most common among the three, the solid bodied electric guitar is typically made from a solid slab of wood. Guitars of this type may have a simple, single-pickup model or a decorated, multi-pickup instrument with a slew of electronic options.

solid body electric guitar

When it comes to its sonic properties, solid-body electric guitars doesn’t produce as much resonance as the hollow bodied ones. They tend to have a lot of sustain, since the density of the wood contributes to it.

The denser wood also makes solid-body guitars more resistant to feedback from the pickups and results in a tighter, or more focused, low end.

 

Hollow Body

hollow body electric guitar

Hollow-body guitars are pretty self-explanatory. But when it comes to its sound, it works much like an acoustic guitar which gives off rich tones, deep bass response, and more resonance—making it the go-to for many jazz guitar players.

 

Semi Hollow Body

Finally, semi-hollow bodied ones are designed with a solid center wood block that adds stability and sustain, and helps cut down on feedback.

semi-hollow body electric guitar

This type is most preferred by blues players because of its warm tone with increased attack and sustain offered by the center block. Known for its versatility, semi-hollow guitars sound great with music ranging from blues and jazz to punk rock.

 

Is It Comfortable?

Because everybody deserves to feel comfortable, especially if you’re paying for it. You need to have an electric guitar you can easily play without all the unnecessary pain, well except in your fingertips of course.

One of the ways to ensure you’ll have a comfortable, hassle-free, and pain-free time is to look at the action. Getting the right action is important so you wouldn’t require a setup.

When you pick up a guitar, you shouldn’t fret about fretting, meaning the strings should be closer to the fretboard rather than farther away.

 

Look At The Pickups

Pickups are a major deal when it comes to an electric guitar’s sound. These are the pieces of metal with wire wrapped around it that transforms the vibration of your strings into an electronic signal. These are the ones you’ll see below your strings.

Pickups come in different types, but the most common are single-coil, humbucker, and P90.

guitar pickup tupes
via www.seymourduncan.com

Single-coil pickups make use of a single magnet. Among the three, this type tend to produce the brightest sound. Genres that use single coil pickups famously include country and surf, though they sound great in almost any genre.

Commonly used for its warm and thick tones, humbucker pickups are more likely used in jazz. According to Gear Rank, give higher output making it a better pickup than single-coils when it comes to genres needing high levels of distortion. Higher output means higher volume.

Standing between single-coil and humbucker is the P90 pickup. P90 pickups have a higher output than single-coil, but not as much as humbuckers have.

The tone of a P-90 is somewhat brighter and more transparent than a humbucker, though not quite as crisp and snappy as single-coil pickups.

The tone therefore shares some of the single coil twang, but having large amounts of midrange and often described as thick.

 

Check The Tonewood

A tonewood refers to the type of wood used to make the electric guitar, playing a major role in its construction and sound. Different woods have significant impact on things like tone and sustain.

tonewood-chart
via https://breedlovemusic.com/

Getting to know more about the distinct characteristics of each tonewood could be beneficial since it will let you be more informed.

The resonance from the wood determines how long the strings vibrate and the shape of their motion. Each part of the guitar can be created with different types of tonewood.

Some of the most common tonewoods used in manufacturing an electric guitar are mahogany, maple, alder, and ash.

 

Mind The Neck Construction

I’m guessing you already know which part is the neck of an electric guitar is.

And in case you did not notice, the neck contains a metal truss rod that prevents neck bowing and twisting, and can be adjusted to help the guitar maintain consistent pitch.

guitar-neck-comparison
via mycoolguitars.com

A guitar’s neck profile has a lot to say about playability and comfortability. If you have small hands, a narrow neck is what’s best for you. Shallower necks are more suitable for larger hands.

According to Our Pastimes, there are different types of a guitar neck according to its attachment, radius, scale, wood, fretboards and frets, and adjustments. The type that suits you is subjective so picking the right one for you really has to be hands-on.

 

Over To You

I hope this guide on things to look for an electric guitar helped you decide on which guitar to buy.

Do you agree with this list? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

The Guitar Junky
Hi there, I’m Charles, chief editor here at The Guitar Junky. Through in-depth research, I help buyers pick the best guitar for them. As a guitar player, I created this site to inspire others to play the guitar too. I’m a Certified Guitar Junkie, how about you? Welcome aboard!

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