The best electric guitars in 2017 reviewed and compiled right here!
Welcome to our electric guitar page where we’ve compiled THE most comprehensive list of the best electric guitars out there on the market today. We’ve divided the electric guitars into categories based on price and type to allow you to search more easily and enjoyably! Also, at the bottom of the page, you’ll find our handy reference notes for anyone wishing to learn more about electric guitars. So without further ado, please read on and find the best electric guitar for you!
- Best electric guitars for under $1000
- Best electric guitars for under $500
- Best electric guitars for under $300
- Best electric guitars for under $200
- Best electric guitars for under $100
- Best value-for-money electric guitars
- Best travel electric guitars
- Best electric bass guitars
- Best electric guitar for beginners
- Best Lap & Pedal Steel Guitars
- How to choose the right electric guitar for you
- What materials are used to make electric guitars?
- What is a good size and shape for an electric guitar?
- Which electric guitar brands are most respected?
- Which electric guitar is best for beginners?
- What is a good fretboard material for an electric guitar?
- Where are electric guitars usually made?
- Is the neck material important?
- What is a hollow body electric guitar?
- What is a semi-hollow body electric guitar?
- What is a solid body electric guitar?
- What are lap and pedal steel guitars?
- What are electric guitar pickup configurations?
- What is scale length?
- What is a good guitar bridge type for me?
Best electric guitars for under $1000
One of the ESP/LTD Signature Series, the KH-602 is the well-known guitar design from Metallica’s lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. This electric guitar is based on Hammett’s go-to ESP Custom that he has used for years, and it’s designed to offer his unique and unmistakable tone and playing feel.
This guitar has an alder body, maple neck and rosewood fretboard, which has Kirk’s skull-and-bones inlay motif. The KH-602 boasts a Floyd Rose 1000 Series bridge and locking nut, LTD tuners, EMG 60/81 (neck/bridge) active humbuckers pickup set and a Vol/Vol/Tone/3-Way switch electronics layout.
The ESP LTD KH602 Kirk Hammett Electric Guitar is built using a neck-through-body construction. It features a three-layer piece of maple running through the length of the guitar–from the bottom strap up to the tip of the headstock–for great sustain and reliable, solid, stable feel.
This is a good all-around guitar for those who are heavily into heavy metal.
- Good all-around guitar for those who are into heavy metal, especially those who want to emulate Kirk Hammett’s sound and playing style
- Delivers incredible sustain for guitar solos
- Great value for money: Almost exactly the same as the ESP KH-2 Vintage but a lot less expensive
- Some reports of defective guitars with poor build quality
The Stratocaster remains a favorite among many guitarists and there’s nothing like Fender’s Classic Series ’50s Stratocaster to give you that Fifties vibe and sound. This electric guitar has a vintage style single-coil neck, middle and bridge pickups. The five-way switch provides players with the full range of classic Strat tones.
The Classic Series ’50s Stratocaster has a solid body, maple fretboard, tinted maple neck, aged plastic parts and single-ply pickguard for that authentic retro feel.
- Top-quality build from Fender’s Mexico factory
- Excellent attention to detail - this looks, feels and sounds very much like a late 1950s Stratocaster
- Great value for money
- Professional setup, sanding and alignment may be necessary for some players
Best electric guitars for under $500
The Yamaha Pacifica PAC510V OVS has a solid alder body, Wilkinson VS50-6 bridge, Grover locking tuners, Graphtec nut, maple neck, rosewood fretboard and Seymour Duncan Trembucker P-Rail Pickup–in short, top-quality specs all for under $500.
The single pickup design doesn’t sacrifice anything in terms of versatility. The trembucker version of the P-Rail is exclusive to Yamaha and offers full humbucker tone in position 1, soap bar single-coil in the second position and regular single-coil in position 3.
Yamaha’s Pacifica series was first introduced in 1990, driven by the California session scene that demanded a lot of individuality and performance. This series of electric guitars has been designed to respond to different play styles and genres, so if it’s versatility you want then this is the guitar for you.
- Quality components, beautiful finish and superb overall construction
- Great guitars for beginners - it’s easy to play and learn on
- Various pickup configurations available for a wealth of tonal possibilities
- A bit of adjustment may be necessary to make it perfectly playable
- Tuners are nothing special but are decent for the price
The Squier by Fender Bullet Strat HSS with tremolo is a solid-body electric guitar with a rosewood fretboard and maple neck. This practical and affordable electric guitar has many of the elements that have made the Stratocaster an iconic staple in the music industry.
The humbucker/single coil/single coil pickup configuration go well together, with the humbucker’s rich and thick tones complimenting the single coil’s clean and clear sound.
- Inexpensive guitar for the sound and build quality
- Holds tune well
- Light and easily playable, making it a good choice for beginners
- Some manufacturing defects reported
Best electric guitars for under $300
The Schecter OMEN-6 has a basswood body and rosewood fretboard. The bolt-on maple neck doesn’t only look good, it feels great too. It features pearloid semi-goth inlays and Schecter Diamond Plus Pickups. This electric guitar is designed with a Schecter “C” body style.
The electronics on this guitar are pretty straightforward. It has two pickups, one tone knob, one volume knob and a three-way switch. The bridge pickup is crunchy and heavy, producing a thick guitar sound ideal for playing rock and metal music.
For the price, this guitar has great action and intonation, plus it looks impressive, with a variety of finishes–we recommend getting the satin.
- Great value for money - does not feel cheap or flimsy for the price
- Has a really good sustain, in part because of the string-through body
- Rosewood fretboard feels fast and solid
- Professional setup, string replacement and adjustment may be necessary
This Ibanez semi-hollow electric guitar boasts a double-cutaway body with a beautiful sapele top, back and sides as well as pearl dot inlays. The neck material is mahogany and the fretboard material is bound rosewood. It can be considered a semi-acoustic because of its construction. Extremely versatile, it can handle any music genre you prefer to play. It has a slim and comfortable Artcore set-in neck and ACH pickups mounted into a sustain block. This not only eliminates feedback but also increases sustain.
The guitar’s 17th fret joint provides players with comfortable access to higher notes, while the Sure Grip III knobs allow players to have precise control. It has a master volume and master tone control, two ACH-ST open-coil humbuckers with ceramic magnets.
- Clean sound with rich harmonics
- Well-built, classy-looking instrument with a good finish
- Solid electronics
- Great guitar for the price
- Tuners do not have a quality feel
Best electric guitars for under $200
Epiphone’s Les Paul Player Pack comes with everything beginners on a budget need to start playing right away. The kit includes a genuine solid wood Les Paul Special-II LTD guitar equipped with two classic open-coil humbucker pickups, which gives a buzz-free tone and allows players to go from clean to overdrive without the unwanted noise. The neck is made of maple and the fretboard is rosewood and has dot inlays.
This electric guitar packages comes with a 10-watt Electra guitar amp with a 6-inch speaker, a 10-foot guitar cable, a guitar strap, gig bag, medium picks and a clip-on headstock chromatic tuner. The package also comes with free guitar lessons downloadable online.
- Great guitar package for beginners
- Quality is impressive for the price
- Amp included in the package is not the best
- Professional setup may be necessary to lower the action for some beginners
- Some manufacturing defects reported
The Squier by Fender Affinity Series Telecaster is is equipped with plenty of professional features that even advanced players can appreciate. This modern take on the iconic Fender Telecaster boasts two single-soil Tele-style pickups for that classic tone. This electric guitar has a six-saddle top-loaded bridge design that allows players to adjust the string height for greater comfort while playing.
This Telecaster has a smooth satin “C” shaped neck to fit the palm’s natural curvature, enabling beginners to become more comfortable and feel a direct connection to the maple wood. This electric guitar has a master volume, tone control and three-way pickup selectors to allow for tonal variations.
- Build quality is impressive for the price
- Looks and sounds like a more expensive guitar
- Versatile for playing different genres
- Some setup work prior to play may be necessary to improve the intonation (recommended for beginners)
- Lackluster electronics
Best electric guitars for under $100
It can be tricky to find a good guitar package for aspiring guitarists on a budget but it’e entirely possible. Just take a look at this starter kit, which includes an electric guitar, 10W amp, 8-foot cable, extra strings, a pick, guitar strap and nylon gig bag–it’s everything you need to start playing, and the guitar is seriously not bad at all!
The included 39-inch guitar has a solid wood hardwood body with a sturdy top, maplewood neck and rosewood fingerboard. The amp has jacks for the guitar and microphone, volume, treble and bass control as well as a drive button. The electric guitar is equipped with a single-coil pickup for a bright, clean and smooth tone.
- Comfortable to play for young or petite players
- Has a solid quality and sounds great for a beginner guitar
- Price of the package can’t be beat for the quality of the guitar
- Playability and intonation can be improved with a proper setup
- Included amp is decent enough but may need to be replaced with one of better quality somewhere down the line
Another great and inexpensive option for an inexpensive guitar package is this starter set, which includes a 39-inch guitar, 10W amp, cable, a pair of guitar picks, a strap, tremolo bar, extra strings, Allen keys for making adjustments and a carrying case. The guitar body is made from Fortune paulownia wood, while the fretboard is made from rosewood. There are two tone knobs and one volume knob.
- Great combo for beginners and young players
- Guitar is well-made and performs well enough a beginner instrument
- Amp has good volume and sound quality for a small practice amp
- Expect to make adjustments to the guitar to make it playable
Best value-for-money electric guitars
This guitar makes it easy to look for a well-made guitar that performs great but isn’t that expensive. If you’re just starting out on a budget or are looking to give a guitar as a gift to a child but don’t want to spend a ton of money just in case he or she loses interest, this package is definitely something to consider.
The set includes a 39-inch electric guitar, a 10-watt amp, gig bag, guitar strap, guitar cable, a set of extra strings, a pair of picks, two Allen wrenches and a tremolo rod. All those for less than $100! The guitar looks visually impressive but it’s not just good-looking, it has a good sound too–just remember to have it properly tuned and set up first.
- Guitar construction is good for the price
- Recommended for beginners on a budget
- Amp is just the right size for practice - not extremely loud
- The included gig bag isn’t that great - buying another one is necessary when actually travelling with this guitar
This guitar tailored toward beginners features an arch top carved body with a bolt-on maple neck and rosewood fretboard. Polished black chrome hardware top off the sleek look. The C-1 SGR is designed with comfort in mind, letting beginners enjoy hours of practice whether sitting or standing. The Schecter SGR pickups are great for introducing the dynamics of electric guitars to beginners.
The guitar comes with a gig bag, allowing beginners to take their instrument with them wherever they go–to lessons, practice with the band and eventually live gigs. For just less than $150, this is one stunning electric guitar that gives really good value for the money. We recommend the Midnight Satin Black variant though there are also the Electric Blue and Walnut Satin colors.
- Great craftsmanship and quality for a modestly priced guitar
- Looks and sounds like a more expensive guitar
- Good intonation and keeps in tune
- Not playable right out of the box - needs a proper setup and new strings
Best travel electric guitars
Guitarists who are always on the go, especially buskers, will benefit a lot from having a compact and lightweight electric guitar. Quickly becoming a favorite in this regard is the Traveler brand of guitars, which offers a number of travel-sized models for players of all skill levels.
One such model is the Speedster, which is a full 24.75-inch scale electric travel guitar. It has a neck-through-body design for superb sustain and tone, and it features a removable arm support for comfortable playing. It uses Eastern American Hard Maple for the body and neck, while the fretboard uses ebonized rosewood. It also boasts a proprietary in-body tuning system, in which the tuning machines are relocated into the body instead of the headstock. This results in a headstock-less guitar but the same full-scale playing experience.
At just around 30 inches long and 1.5 inches thick, the Traveler Guitar Speedster is not only 28 percent shorter than your typical full-size electric guitar, it’s also 54 percent lighter (less than 5 pounds), making it easy to carry wherever you go. It’s small enough to fit in airline overhead compartments.
The portable construction of the guitar doesn’t sacrifice performance, either–it sounds as great as, if not better than, full-size electrics. The guitar is equipped with an adjustable tune-o-matic bridge, high-output dual-rail humbucker pickup and controls for tone and volume.
- Extremely compact for travelling
- Full-scale guitar
- Interesting appearance - expect lots of questions and compliments!
- Sounds good, but not that great for playing at the professional level
- Requires constant tuning - tuning pegs need to lock better
Another offering from Traveler Guitar is this ultra-light, ultra-compact electric guitar that measures just 28 inches long and weighs just 3 pounds and 2 ounces. Still, it’s a full-scale (24.75 inches) electric guitar and it features a high-output dual-rail humbucker pickup. It’s currently Traveler’s smallest and lightest full-scale electric travel guitar.
Like the Speedster, the Ultra-Light guitar also uses the proprietary in-body tuning system, eliminating the need for a headstock. As a result, this guitar is 28 percent shorter and 68 percent lighter than full-size electrics. What adds to this guitar’s portability is the detachable lap rest. Placed in its gig bag the guitar can be easily and safely stowed in an airline overhead compartment when needed.
- Perfect for on-the-go players looking for the smallest and lightest electric guitar with a full scale
- Detachable lap rest and overall construction make the guitar extremely portable
- Impressive compact design and construction
- Awkward weight distribution - the detachable lap rest still lacks the upper guitar body support, affecting the player’s posture
- Hard to stay in tune
- Sound is good enough for practice and some live gigs and busking, but not for professional work
Best electric bass guitars
Those looking for an exceptional electric bass guitar that doesn’t break the bank will do well to consider the Yamaha TRBX174. This bass guitar represents a price breakthrough in the best-selling TRBX range. This bass has the quality you would expect from a Yamaha but without the price tag usually associated with a big-name brand.
Even based on looks alone the $200 price seems unbelievable. The bass guitar’s mahogany body and vintage-style bridge make the guitar look like a more expensive model. It’s very versatile, making great for different playing styles and genres.
- Plays and sounds as great as it looks
- Low price point for an exceptionally good bass guitar
- Comfortable and fast to play
- Minor manufacturing defects reported
The Yamaha TRBX174 faces some tough competition in the form of this electric bass. The Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jaguar Special Short Scale Bass features solid agathis body, maple C-shape neck, rosewood fretboard, fixed bridge, single-coil Jazz Bass pickup and a split single-coil Precision Bass pickup. What gives this bass a competitive edge is its classic Fender looks, along with quality construction.
The Squier by Fender Vintage Modified Jaguar Special Short Scale Bass has a sleek offset-waist body and a super-slim fast-action 30-inch scale neck. This electric bass guitar isn’t just for beginners; it’s for everyone who wants a decently priced short-scale instrument of high quality.
- Smooth playability and superior tone
- Great intonation out of the box
- Low action for playing comfort
- Some minor imperfections in terms of body and finish
Best electric guitar for beginners
This guitar package is perfect for beginners–it has all the accessories need to get playing right away, including a Fender Frontman 15-watt amplifier and cable. The included guitar is an Affinity Series Strat HSS guitar equipped with a standard humbucker bridge pickup and standard single-coil Strat middle and neck pickups. This Strat has a C-shaped satin finished neck with 21 medium jumbo frets and 9.5 fingerboard radius, making it comfortable for beginners.
The package also comes with a gig bag, instructional DVD, guitar picks and a guitar strap. The neck is a rock-solid maple bolt-on, while the fretboard is rosewood. The Frontman amp features normal and drive channels as well as an adjustable gain control, allowing guitarists to tailor their sound according to genre, whether it’s metal, blues or everything in between. Of course, there’s still no beating that clean Fender tone.
- Easy to play and holds tune well
- Accessories are perfect for players just starting out
- Good value for the money
- Tuners are not that great
- Professional setup recommended for minor adjustments and proper tuning
For those who want to pick up the electric guitar but are hesitant to spend a lot of money, this RockJam electric guitar kit is one purchase you won’t regret making. The full-size black RockJam electric guitar is surprisingly good for a learner instrument. Included in the kit are spare strings, a guitar strap, guitar picks, a 20-watt amplifier with headphone output and overdrive boost function, a cable, gig bag, a guitar capo and last but not the least a sturdy and portable guitar stand. All of those for just around $130!
The guitar itself, while inexpensive, isn’t cheap: it has three single-coil pickups, two tone controls, a volume control and a five-way pickup selector switch. It’s lightweight, with a maple neck and rosewood fretboard.
- Guitar holds tune well
- Excellent quality for the price
- A complete package for beginners
- Lightweight, perfect for young players
- Some reports of faulty amps and the need for a power adapter - contacting the manufacturer/vendor about a replacement amp is recommended
Best Lap & Pedal Steel Guitars
Playing a lap steel guitar can be an enjoyable and exhilarating challenge with the Vorson LT2308 VS 8-String Lap Steel Guitar. This instrument features VSY-03 active electronics as well as tone circuit and speed knobs. This is a professional-quality 8-string lap steel guitar that can take you from your practice room to a recording studio, stage or wherever you choose to play.
With its eight strings, the LT2308 lap steel guitar provides players with a wider range across the strings, allowing for variations when playing scales, arpeggios and runs. This guitar features a solid mahogany body, quilted maple top and matching headstock and 30-fret rosewood neck. This lap steel guitar is powered by Vorson’s exclusive VSY-03 active electronics and EQ that’s coupled to a custom-designed Master 100 pickup. The bridge, nut, fretboard and pickup are all specially designed for 8-string spacing, which means no string cramping.
- Well-spaced string placement for easy playability
- Excellent build quality
- Package comes with a cable, tone bar and premium padded gig bag
- A bit on the expensive side at around $500
Electric Guitar Consumer Info
So you’ve decided you want to rock it out or belt out some blues with an electric guitar, but you’re bombarded with hundreds of choices and don’t know where to start. We’re here to help! Here’s all you need to know about electric guitars and how to choose the right one for you.
How to choose the right electric guitar for you
Like choosing other instruments, when it comes to choosing an electric guitar, the most important aspects to consider are playability and comfort. There’s nothing like holding one in your hands to see if it’s a good fit, so it’s highly recommended to try out different kinds of electric guitars. Head over to music stores, shop around and try as many electric guitar models as you can before you decide. Be sure to check out musical instrument online stores specializing in electric guitars as well.
Aside from comfort and playability, there are no hard and fast rules for choosing what would be the best guitar for you–after all, there are different strokes for different folks. Your eyes, hands and ears will tell you which electric guitar is “the one.” Use these pointers as your buying guide:
- Looks – if you like how something looks, you’ll feel more motivated to play. An electric guitar that appeals to you aesthetics-wise is bound not to leave your side, and if you’re a beginner this is a good thing because you’ll find yourself constantly playing even beyond practice hours.
- Sound – there are many kinds of electric guitars and each has its own special sound or effects. You can watch videos of guitar demos to hear what they sound like. It also helps if you also have an idea of who you want to sound like. If your favorite guitarist is more of the “clean” or no effects type, there are many straight-up electric guitars out there, such as the Fender Stratocaster. On the other hand, if you’re all for the fuzz and wah effects, a popular choice is the Gibson Les Paul. Do your research and see which electric guitars can make the sound or playing style you’re going for.
- Comfortable action – action refers to the distance between the strings and the fretboard. An electric guitar should make it easy on your fingers and hands to hit chords. If there’s a guitar you’re bent on buying but the action is a bit high, you can pay have it professionally adjusted. There’s a cost to that however, so it would be best if you find a guitar that’s comfortable to play from the get-go.
- Manageable weight – weight is also something you need to consider when choosing an electric guitar. It shouldn’t be too heavy for you, especially if you’re planning on eventually playing it at gigs or busking.
- Accessories – along with the guitar itself, you have to consider the accessories for playing it: tuner, cord, picks, strings, strap, amp, gig bag. Some beginner kits would have all of these included, but take note that not all of the items in the kit may be of the best quality and you would often have to upgrade somewhere down the line.
- Amp – the amp deserves special consideration since it’s essential in playing an electric guitar. The amp affects the guitar’s sound, so when choosing an electric guitar you have to choose the right amp for it as well. These two should work and sound well together. It’s best if you can get an amp with a line-in or aux so you can play along with your favorite songs, a headphone jack so you can play without disturbing your housemates and neighbors, a built-in tuner and some bonus effects.
What materials are used to make electric guitars?
As with acoustic guitars, there are many kinds of raw materials that go into the construction of electric guitars. For the solid body of electrics, well-seasoned hardwoods such as mahogany, ash, maple, alder and walnut are the most common. Some electric guitar bodies are made using plexiglass and other materials.
Wood is also used for the electric guitar neck. Some of the most popular wood types for the neck are ebony, rosewood and maple. Other materials used to make electric guitars are glue for holding the pieces together, nitrocellulose lacquer for the finish and chrome for the hardware such as tuning pegs.
What is a good size and shape for an electric guitar?
Electric guitars come in various body shapes and sizes. What’s interesting about electric guitars is they don’t really need a body to make sounds, unlike acoustic guitars. The sound of an electric guitar is caused by the strings vibrating to produce a current, which is then picked up by magnets. This means that the way a guitar is shaped is not relevant to how it sounds.
Though you can play an electric guitar with just a neck with strings and a pickup, the body can be there to provide support for your hands and strap–the body is basically a counterweight. What really matters in an electric guitar are the neck joint, strings, bridge, pickups and scale length, which we’ll discuss later.
Ultimately, a good size and shape for an electric guitar is one that you feel comfortable playing. There are some guitar body shapes that are meant more for appearances and not comfort, like the Gibson Flying V. If you’re a beginner, it’s best to go with a shape and weight that you can play without straining yourself.
As for electric guitar size, there are five main types: 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, 7/8 and 4/4.
The 1/4 size is the smallest with an overall length of 28.875 inches to 31.5 inches. Next is the 1/2 size, which measures 32-35 inches. These first two sizes are generally more suitable for small children. You can also find travel electric guitars in these sizes but these have some limitations because of the scale size.
The 3/4 size has an overall length of 34-37.25 inches, while the 7/8 size measures 36.75-38 inches. The 4/4 guitar is the full size guitar, and it has an overall length of 38-40 inches. The 3/4 and 7/8 sizes are ideal for children and adults with small hands and bodies, while the full-size electric guitar is good for adults and older kids.
Young or petite players would find smaller, short-scale thinline electric guitars lighter and more playable, while others might prefer a full-size electric guitar. Either way, it’s recommended to consider a model that curves to fit the size and shape of your torso, one that doesn’t make it hard for you to carry and hold it when playing for hours at a time.
Which electric guitar brands are most respected?
There are many guitar brands all over the world but only a few have earned the loyalty and respect of musicians everywhere. Some guitarists have even developed a fierce loyalty for a particular brand or guitar model, not even bothering to try out offerings from other companies. If you’re looking for a good electric guitar, you can start by looking at the models from the following brands.
Founded in 1894 by Orville Gibson in Michigan, the brand is often credited as having invented archtop guitars by making the same kind of arched, carved tops used on violins.
The height-adjustable bridge and the adjustable truss rod, two of the most significant innovations in guitars, were also developed by Gibson, particularly by employee Ted McHugh. Up to now, all Gibson guitars have truss rods that are based on McHugh’s design. Gibson’s first electric guitar was called the EH-150, introduced in 1935.
Another respected and highly popular brand, Fender was founded by Clarence Leonidas ‘Leo” Fender in California in 1946. It was in 1950 when Fender introduced the Esquire, a single and dual pickup solid body electric guitar. The first batch of 50 didn’t have a truss rod. Fender received orders for the guitar, but before production began, the guitar was modified with an adjustable neck. It was renamed the Broadcaster, then renamed again the following year to the Telecaster.
PRS was founded by Paul Reed Smith in 1985 in Maryland. Before establishing PRS Guitars, Paul was already making guitars. In 1976 when he was 20 years of age, Paul built a guitar for rock musician Peter Frampton. PRS eventually bought the guitar back, and you can now see Frampton’s ‘76 PRS at the company’s museum in its factory in Maryland.
Ibanez is based in Nagoya in Japan. It was founded by Hoshino Gakki way back in 1908. The company actually began as a sheet music store before it became a distributor of music products. In the late 1920s, the company started selling guitars with imported classical guitars originally produced by renowned Spanish guitar maker Salvador Ibáñez.
In the 1930s the company began to make its own guitars, adopting the guitar builder’s name. Though its early guitars were of original design, they were of low quality. Eventually Ibanez shifted to making high-quality replicas of guitars from American brands before finally making its own designs, such as the solid body Artists guitar.
Another Japan-based company, ESP was established in 1975 by Hisatake Shibuya in Tokyo. ESP stands for Electric Sound Products–the company was initially a maker of replacement parts and components for electric guitars and bass guitars. ESP also customizes guitars.
When American hard rock guitarist George Lynch went to Tokyo for a tour in 1986, he found out about ESP when he looked around for a replacement part. He also learned that the company customizes guitars, so he had one made for him: the ESP Kamikaze. Lynch has become one of the company’s signature artists.
Founded by Friedrich Gretsch in Brooklyn in 1883, Gretsch is perhaps the oldest guitar brand that’s still up and kicking today. Friedrich established his shop initially to make drums, tambourines and banjos and it quickly made profit. Friedrich was only 39 when he died in 1895, leaving the business in the young but capable hands of his son Fred, who was only 15 years old at that time.
Fred ran the family business and soon became of the leading manufacturers and importers of musical instruments in the United States. It was in 1939 when Gretsch introduced its first electric guitar, the Electromatic.
Which electric guitar is best for beginners?
There are many guitar models that are suitable for beginners. Two of the most highly recommended are the Epiphone Les Paul Special-II and the Squier Stratocaster (short-scale) from Fender.
Epiphone offers the Les Paul Player Pack, which features the Les Paul Special II-LE guitar that has two classic humbucker pickups and comes with a 10-watt Electar guitar amp. The package also includes a guitar strap, gig bag, medium picks and a chromatic tuner that can be clipped on the headstock. A great bonus for beginners are the free downloadable guitar lessons covering various genres, from folk, rock and blues to country, metal, hard rock and everything in between.
Fender’s offering for beginners, the Squier Strat Pack comes with everything newbies need. The included guitar is a short-scale 24-inch lightweight Stratocaster, which provides a comfortable playing feel–great for players with smaller hands. The package comes with the Squier Frontman 10G amp with a headphone jack as well as an aux input to let beginners play along with their favorite songs and/or backing tracks. The kit also comes with a cable, picks and guitar strap.
What is a good fretboard material for an electric guitar?
Unlike the guitar body, the fretboard or the fingerboard can have an impact on how an electric guitar sounds. The following fretboard materials are ideal for electric guitars:
- Ebony – generally the darkest fretboard wood, ebony is favored by guitarists for its clear and crisp attack. Whether it’s a very well-defined and tight low-end or a bright and sharp top end you want to hear, ebony is the fretboard material for you.
- Maple – similar to ebony in sound brightness, definition and crispness, maple is the material of choice among guitarists who want a brighter tone.
- Rosewood – the most common fretboard material, rosewood gives electric guitars a warm and rich tone–not for guitarists who want a crisp attack at the high end.
- Granadillo – granadillo from Cuba is similar to rosewood but with a more orange-y color. You’ll find this wood on some Gibson guitars.
- Richlite – Richlite isn’t wood–it’s a material made from resin-infused paper. Richlite is stain-, heat- and scratch-resistant and it doesn’t expand, contract or warp in any way. Richlite fretboards are extremely durable too, unlike those made from wood. Neck bow issues and loose frets are less likely to happen on guitars with this material.
Where are electric guitars usually made?
Electric guitars are usually made in the factories or workshops where the company, custom shop or guitar maker is based. Some U.S. companies also produce guitars offshore in countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Canada and Mexico. There are companies that have the parts made elsewhere then assemble the guitar in their home factories.
For example, Gibson’s Epiphone-branded products are made in China, like the Epiphone Les Paul Standard. It’s the same for Fender’s Squier brand (and some Fender-branded products). Fender also has a factory in Mexico.
Is the neck material important?
As mentioned earlier, you can play an electric guitar without a body, but you can’t play it without a neck. When it comes to electric guitars, the neck is the star. It plays the main role in electric guitar tone because most of the strings’ vibration is supported by the neck, making the neck material important. The neck’s density, shape and construction, resonance, thickness and headstock influence the tone of the electric guitar.
What is a hollow body electric guitar?
A hollow body electric guitar is a guitar that has a hollow body much like an acoustic guitar. It has a greater resonance and produces full, rich tones with a deep bass response. Hollow body guitars usually feature an archtop. Because of these qualities, hollow body guitars are usually favored by jazz guitarists.
What is a semi-hollow body electric guitar?
Similar to the hollow body, the semi-hollow body electric guitar also has good resonance. Construction-wise, it has a solid center wood block to increase sustain, cut down on feedback and add stability. Semi-hollow electric guitars are a favorite among blues players but they can be great for different genres, from jazz to punk rock.
What is a solid body electric guitar?
The most common electric guitar body type is the solid body, called such because it’s made from a single, solid slab of wood. Solid body guitars don’t have as much resonance as hollow-body models. However, they can be fitted with multiple pickups and a variety of electronic options.
What are lap and pedal steel guitars?
The lap steel guitar is called such because it is typically placed on the lap for playing. A seated player can also place the instrument on a small table or stool in front. The strings of the lap steel guitar are not pressed to a fret–a metal slide called a tone bar or steel is used to change the guitar’s pitch. Because this method of playing restricts the number of chords that can be played, music for this guitar often has a restricted set of harmonies, another single part or melodies.
There are three main lap steel guitar types: lap slide guitars, resonator guitars and electric lap steel guitars. Electric lap steel guitars were initially marketed as electric Hawaiian guitars. Electric lap steel guitars usually have six to ten strings.
A pedal steel guitar is also played using a bar that slides up and down the strings to change the pitch. The bar, which is made of stainless steel, is what gives pedal steel guitars their silky tone. These guitars are not strummed–players wear picks on their right thumb, index and middle fingers and pluck the strings in groups of three. The pedal steel guitar lets players access many different chords and scales via pedals and knee levers that are controlled using the feet and the sides of the player’s knees. The right foot controls the volume.
What are electric guitar pickup configurations?
The pickup on an electric guitar is what creates the sound–technically, pickups are a type of transducer, which means they convert one type of energy to another. Pickups translate the guitar strings’ vibration into a signal that can be run through an amp and speakers. The two main pickup types are single-coil (S) and humbucker (H).
Most electric guitars are equipped with two or three pickups although some models may only have one, or more than three. A combination of pickups is called a pickup configuration, and this has an impact on the tone and sound of the guitar. The configuration is notated by using S and H and is written in order from bridge to neck pickup.
The most popular pickup configuration include S-S (Fender Telecaster), S-S-S (Fender Stratocaster), H-H (Gibson Les Paul), H-S-S (Fender HM Strat), H-S-H (superstrats). Less common configurations are S (Fender Esquire), H (Gibson ES-165 Herb Ellis), H-S (Squier ‘51), H-H-H (Ibanez PGM200). There are also rare pickup configurations that are used by a few particular models.
What is scale length?
The scale length refers to the measurement of the distance between the guitar’s nut and bridge saddles. It is calculated by measuring the distance from the front edge of the nut to the center of the 12th fret, then doubling that figure.
The scale length has an impact on the guitar’s tone. A guitar with a longer scale, which has a greater spacing, yields a tighter low E and greater chime and shimmer. Electric guitars with a shorter scale produce more closely packed harmonics and more thickness and warmth tone-wise.
What is a good guitar bridge type for me?
Electric guitar bridges have a significant impact on the sound the instruments make. There are several types of them, each with its own effect, so choosing the best one for you would depend on the kind of music you plan on playing the most. Here’s a look at the four major types of electric guitar bridges.
- Fixed bridge – also called a hard-tail bridge, this is the simplest electric guitar bridge type on modern guitars. It’s basically just a metal plate bolted on the guitar body and needs minimal attention once it’s set up properly. At the top of the plate are six adjustable string saddles, which are used to set up the guitar’s string height and intonation. A fixed bridge It holds a tune well because of its simplicity and it’s also the easiest to maintain, making it a good choice for new guitar players.
- Tune-O-Matic – by nature, this is a fixed bridge but it’s done a bit differently. Aside from the string saddles, this bridge also has two main adjustment posts that can adjust the entire bridge height. This bridge design is lauded for its great sustain and tuning ability. This is also a good choice for beginners as it requires no further tweaking and tinkering one properly set up.
- Synchronized tremolo – similar to a fixed bridge but is operated using a tremolo bar that decreases and increases string tension. The problem with this design is that prolonged use of the tremolo bar (or whammy bar) will result in the guitar going out of tune constantly, requiring frequent tune-ups. This bridge design involves a bit of a learning curve to master.
- Floyd Rose – an upgraded and more complex version of the synchronized tremolo. This bridge system addresses some of the issues of the synchronized tremolo design through its locking nut and locking bridge mechanisms, which make the guitar stay in tune for a longer period. This bridge system is generally not recommended for beginners because of its complexity and maintenance.
The bridge type to get would depend on the guitar as well as the genre or style you want to play. A fixed bridge is good for beginners–you can always upgrade to a Floyd Rose later on, anyway.