When you make the decision to buy your first guitar you still have one more important decision to make – do you go acoustic or do you go electric? It’s certainly a big decision to make and it will have a lot to do with what you plan on doing with the guitar. Are you looking to play primarily around the campfire on summer nights, or do you have ambitions of hitting the stage and making it big? If your answer is the latter there’s probably no real decision to make – you’re going to be looking for an electric guitar.
Now that you have that decision out of the way it’s time to start looking around for an electric guitar that suits your style and one that fits your budget. As a newbie guitar player you certainly do want to keep budget in mind, but it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. You’ll also want to make sure you look for a guitar that has all of the features you need and one that suits your musical tastes. There’s no point in buying a Flying V guitar if you’re only going to be playing rhythm in a local country band. If on the other hand, you see yourself as the lead guitarist in a heavy metal band then that Flying V may be just the guitar for you.
We’re going to look at some of the best guitars for beginners in this article in order to help make your decision a little bit easier. We’ll look at things such as the style of the guitar, the construction material of the guitar, the pickups used in the guitar, and the overall tone and sound. There’s a lot to consider when purchasing your first guitar and hopefully our reviews will point you in the right direction.
1. Epiphone Les Paul Standard
In the late 1950s Les Paul designed a guitar that would become an iconic symbol of the dawn of rock ‘n roll and the Epiphone Les Paul Standard is part of that enduring legacy. This guitar has two Alnico Humbucker pickups that create a sound with extremely rich tones – it’s a perfect guitar to get your feet wet on. This guitar is what you’d call a solid body guitar so it has no sound box as the sound is created purely by the pickups.
The body and neck of the guitar are both made out of solid mahogany wood and it has some great curves to give it a distinctive style that famous guitarists such as Eric Clapton fell in love with decades ago. The fretboard is Rosewood and perfectly crafted for easy fingering. This is a guitar that leaves a lot of room for growth for the beginner and will be perfect as you progress to an intermediate level of play as well.
2. ESP LTD F-50
If you want proof that you don’t have to spend a fortune to find a great guitar you need look no further than the ESP LTD F-50. This guitar is made for the budding rock ‘n roll guitarist and sounds great when you add on a distortion pedal. Even without extra pedals it’s got a great sound that’s both clear and harmonic. It features two passive pickups and when used in conjunction they create a powerful sound that will rival much more expensive guitars.
The body is made out of basswood, with a maple neck, and a Rosewood fretboard. The overall sound of these three different types of wood works quite well. It has a Tom bridge and LTD tuners built-in. Best of all even if you don’t have large fingers you can easily wrap your hands around this narrow fretboard to reach all of the notes when you’re playing a great solo.
3. Squier Classic Vibe 50's Stratocaster
The Squier Classic Vibe 50's Stratocaster is a guitar built with a throwback feel to it and that’s by design. If you were to step back in time to the late 1950s this guitar is very much what an early Stratocaster would’ve looked like and it also plays a lot like that – it has that classic rock ‘n roll sound which is supported by its Ainico pick-up. It’s a crisp clean sound that’s great for playing the blues or some classic rock ‘n roll if you prefer.
The guitar has a master volume switch with two tone controls and you can actually switch between five different pickup positions so you have lots of options you wouldn’t normally find on a classic guitar. It’s got a solid maple body and a maple fingerboard with a 9.5 inch radius that makes it easy to play. You’ll enjoy playing this guitar from the very first time you pick it up.
4. Epiphone Les Paul-100 Electric Guitar
Normally when you think about a Les Paul you’re thinking about a guitar that will cost you at least in the $1000 range, but there is an affordable alternative for the beginner – the Epiphone Les Paul-100 Electric Guitar. This guitar is based on Les Paul’s original 1952 design and it has a classic rock ‘n roll bluesy sound that Les Paul himself wouldn’t be disappointed with.
This guitar features a mahogany body and a maple top for a smooth look and it’s also quite lightweight when compared to traditional Les Paul’s. The sound is created by two humbucker pickups which both have individual volume and tone controls. If you’ve ever heard a Les Paul played you’ll know that it has deep rich tones and this guitar does a great job of re-creating that deep rich sound. It’s a great guitar for the beginner and it will also serve you well as you continue on your musical journey.
5. Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Electric Guitar
If you consider yourself to be more of a modern guitar player then you’ll want to look for something with a raw edgy sound that defines what it is to be a rock‘n’roll guitarist. If this describes you the Ibanez RG450DX RG Series Electric Guitar is the perfect guitar if you’re ready to get serious about your playing. It has a wizard III maple neck body and mahogany fretboard, along with three quantum pickups, that give it that raw edgy sound.
If you’re ready to express your inner metal child this Ibanez is a guitar you want to get your hands on. It has an Edge Zero II tremolo that’s perfect for distorting the sound and creating that classic metal 80s feel. Forget Guitar Hero pickup this Ibanez and start playing your own music for real.
Choose Your Style
As a new guitar player you have to really think about what style of music you want to play before you head on over to your local music store to purchase your first electric guitar. If you prefer the blues you may prefer a Les Paul, but if you’re looking to become a metal legend then perhaps an Ibanez is more suited to your style. While you’re probably enthusiastic and want to get started playing music today take a little time and find the right guitar. Not a beginner anymore? Look for more best guitar categories in our guide here.
Don’t Go Straight to the Top
Even if you can afford it, it’s not a good idea to rush out and spend $1000 on a guitar when it’s your first one. There are plenty of great guitars that can be purchased for under $400, and even under $200 and you’ll find some great ones in the reviews on this page. Do yourself a favor and find an affordable, quality guitar to get things started. If you find you love playing the guitar after a year or two of steady progress this will only further convince you that you want to keep going – then it might be time to consider that next step up, but not before.
If you’re still reading this article then you’re probably legitimately interested in purchasing that first guitar and we congratulate you on the start of your journey. There is no instrument more versatile than the guitar and once you’ve caught that itch you’ll likely never let it go. Everyone has to start somewhere and with lots of practice on that great first electric guitar you’ll be surprised at the progress you’ll make. Welcome to the world of guitar.