Welcome to something that everyone has a valued opinion about and nobody seems to agree on. Truth be told it’s a totally subjective issue. What style do you like to play? What sounds do you work with? How big are your fingers? And most importantly, how much money have you got to spend? Is electric really the guitar yo uare after? If you could only buy one, wouldn’t a plugin acoustic, or acoustic-electric offer a more versatile solution? There are choices to be made.
That’s key, because there can be a big difference between the best guitar in the world, and the best cheap electric guitar. It’s not necessary to have a premium name guitar anymore. We are in a new era…
|Epiphone Les Paul Standard|
|A serious "classic" at an affordable price|
|Fender Standard Stratocaster||Possible the world's most famous electric guitar|
|Paul Reed Smith Guitars Santana||solid build that produces a great raw and versatile tone|
|Ibanez RG Series RG450DXB||An electric guitar you can trust to deliver.|
|Epiphone DOT ES||Perfect guitar for the classic looks and tones.|
The GOOD NEWS… is that modern technological innovations have seriously raised the standards of electric guitar production today, and for the first time ever you can get some SERIOUSLY good pieces of kit at very, very reasonable prices.
Back in the day Chinese and Korean imitation guitars would be a mark of shame, but now they are producing absolutely beautiful looking guitars, that feel great and sound fantastic.
And with great electric guitars getting cheaper and cheaper, one great method to find out what the best electric guitar is for you is to recycle your guitar purchases on ebay:
Buy one, play it for a while, see how you like it, sell it on ebay. Buy another, test it out, and so on and so forth. I have done this a couple of times and it really lets you experiment with different instruments and get a feel for the kind of guitar that suits.. YOU.
Just remember, you don’t have to be co-erced by famous guitarists who are endorsed and sponsored by the big brands to play their guitar gear. All famous guitarists had to start with the best cheap electric guitar they could find at the time.
All that said – here is a list (in no particular order) of what i think are 5 of the best electric guitars, ones that i think have stood the test of time as great all-rounders, that will give you great value for money, look fantastic, and coupled with the right guitar strings, pedals and amps, give you a great sound too.
Epiphones have come a long way in the last couple of decades. To cut a long story short, Epiphone guitars were a company that was acquired by Gibson and licensed to create cheaper more affordable imitations of the higher end Gibson guitars. For a while they had a reputation as being low end, unplayable knock-offs, but NOW it’s a whole different story! They’re finally producing replica guitars of such quality that many gigging guitarists prefer to take their Epi out on the road instead of the Gibson counterpart.
Epiphone Les Paul’s come in all sorts of editions, so you have plenty of choice to suit your taste: limited editions, custom editions, vintage, limited edition signature series. So there’s plenty to whet your appetite. And add to that that they are easily customisable with a few pickup changes and custom mods and you have potentially got yourself a serious “classic” to work with.
A guitar that needs no introduction, I don’t think there is a single top guitar list that doesn’t have the Fender Strat on it. Considered the be the world’s greatest electric guitar, and made famous by so many guitarists, there’s no point even beginning to name them, there really isn’t a better guitar for the price that is going to give you such a great range of both classic and modern electric guitar tones. A popular favourite for online guitar lesson teachers too.
Strats are like an old friends who are always there when you need them. David Gilmour of Pink Floyd Fame has a Black Strat with a website all of it’s own that he has owned since 1970 and still plays in on tour today.
For the price, this is likely to be a guitar that will stay with you long after you have bought and sold others. This guitar takes one of my highest recommendations.
Here’s the rundown:
- 3 single coil Pickups
- tinted maple neck with modern “C”-shaped profile
- 21 fret Fingerboards in rosewood or maplewod
- Vintage style synchronised tremolo-bridge
- Usually in tobacco sunburst or cherry sunburst
If Jimi Hendrix was famous for being the first man to make a guitar sing, then Santana was the first man to make a guitar cry. And he did (does) it with the PRS. He first started playing the PRS in 1982 and within a few short years he had his own signature edition.
- Body: Beveled light weight mahogany body
- Beautiful wide and fat neck
- 22 Frets on the board
- Sweet Mahogany neck
- Sexy Rosewood Fretboard
- Smart Bird inlays
- Stoptail PRS Bridge
- SE Soapbar pickups
- 3 way toggle volume and tone controls
Truly, it’s a stunning piece of kit. Apart from being a great piece of eye candy, with the sleek bird inlays on the fret board and the wood staining finish, it’s also a solid build that produces a great raw and versatile tone, but when you start to dial up the gain the guitar really shows off her true colors. Check it out:
The Ibanez RG, weapon of choice for great rock musicians like Steve Vai and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, is just an absolute killer of a guitar. Raw, punchy tones coupled with possibly the highest standard of playability in the business make even the most complicated guitar riffs feel completely effortless.
This guitar was built to be a workhorse, a tool for the busy professional guitar player. That said, there are some cheaper RG models that look, sound and play fantastically.
What else can we say? It weighs in at a cool 9 Kgs, beautiful maple neck, with 24 easy to access frets, and the 2 humbucker pickups with a 5 way selector switch gives plenty of freedom to customise the tone you want.
An almost perfect beginner guitar, and an electric guitar you can trust to perform how you want if you take it on the road.
Another great guitar, modelled after the Gibson ES-335 “Dot”. This semi-hollow electric guitar looks just fabulous and plays incredibly well. When I first started learning to play guitar, the Epiphone Dot was what i used to cut my teeth on for the first few years.
What you get that is unique with this guitar in this list, is a tone that really resonates thanks to the hollowed out laminated maple body, that provides extra resonance balanced perfectly with the warm deep sound of the dual humbuckers.
For the more jazzy and classic rock enthusiasts, this electric guitar shows off some really classic looks warm tones, and the slightly larger mahogany neck provides a makes it a really comfortable play.
If you are after that classic sound for an affordable price, there is simply no other guitar on the market than can compete with the Epiphone Dot. It’s a beauty that has a special place in my heart! Check out Dawsons’ breakdown below:
While it is impossible for me or anyone else to categorically tell you, the 5 electric guitars above are tried, tested and personal favourites of many great guitarists. So you can trust you’re going to be getting quality kit.
But ultimately, only you can decide what the best guitar is for you. And the only way you can really do that, is to play as many as you can, own a few. Thankfully, with such a great selection of great guitars at affordable prices, and that also hold their resale value, beginning guitarists have never got it so good.
And you know the real secret to whether a guitar is good or not? Here it is:
If you like it… it’s good!