The truth is, finding a perfect electric guitar for you is not an easy task – there are many amazing brands to choose from, not to mention the variety of models.
But finding a guitar that fits your style, preferences, and goals is crucial for every aspiring musician.
To help you feel a little less confused, we compiled a list of the best electric guitars available right now.
Whether you’re a beginner looking for an affordable first electric guitar or a seasoned player, we’ve got you covered!
1. Squier Bullet Mustang – Best electric guitar for beginners
If you want to learn how to play electric guitar and you need a reliable instrument to get started, you should check out the Squier Bullet Mustang.
Although it’s an entry-level electric guitar, the Squier Bullet Mustang is a phenomenal instrument.
It has a maple neck, basswood body, Indian laurel fingerboard, and two humbucker pickups.
It’s affordable, well-made, and versatile, and it’s a top choice for beginners as well as more experienced players.
It’s relatively small and lightweight, so it’s also suitable for kids.
Squier Bullet Mustang is a perfect first guitar, as it provides excellent playability and tuning stability.
But its sound will satisfy a trained ear as well, which ultimately makes it one of the best electric guitars in the market.
2. PRS SE Custom 24 – Best electric guitar for gigging
PRS SE Custom 24 is regarded as one of the best electric guitars available for many reasons.
It’s PRS’s flagship guitar, so it’s a great choice for all levels.
But it’s also suitable for all budgets – it’s definitely not one of the most expensive guitars on this list, and it offers great value for money.
It’s made of quality materials like mahogany with beveled maple and flame maple veneer.
It looks amazing, and you can choose the finish you like.
Good materials make this guitar extremely durable, so it’s an ideal companion for the road.
Also, with the Custom 24, you’ll get big sustain and big stability on the vibrato.
And you can use it for any style and genre you like, from country and blues to rock.
3. Yamaha Pacifica 112V – Best for versatility
The Yamaha Pacifica 112V is another fantastic electric guitar you should consider.
It has an alder body, maple neck, and rosewood fingerboard, and regarding electronics, it comes with 1 Alnico humbucker and 2 Alnico single coils.
It looks stunning, and you can choose from Natural Satin, Old Violin Sunburst, Raspberry Red, Sonic Blue, Black, and Silver Metallic finish.
It’s a great choice for guitar newcomers, but it’s also suitable for intermediate players.
When it comes to hardware, it has vintage-style vibrato with a block saddle, although it provides a rather modern sound and feel.
Overall, the Yamaha Pacifica 112V is one of the top electric guitars that won’t let you down.
It’s versatile enough to fit any style, and it will certainly serve you well for many years to come.
4. Gretsch G2622 Streamliner – Best on a budget
Gretsch guitars are one of the all-time favorites – and when it comes to reliable and affordable models, you can’t go wrong with the Gretsch G2622 Streamliner.
It’s a semi-hollow guitar with two Broad’Tron humbuckers, controlled by a three-way toggle selector switch on the bass side shoulder, a master volume on the treble side horn, as well as a trio of controls.
Centre block widens use at higher gains, and the guitar generally provides a rather softer tonality.
But this is still authentically Gretsch – just at an affordable price.
And that’s precisely what this legendary company wanted to achieve with the Streamliner series – to make affordable Gretsch guitars that fit any budget.
5. Ibanez Genesis RG550 – Best for shredding
Ibanez is another reliable guitar brand to look into.
The Genesis RG550 is one of their all-time best electric guitars – it was designed as a mass-appeal version of Steve Vai’s famous JEM777 model.
Either way, the RG550 is a top choice for many musicians.
It’s well-made and durable, boasting a basswood body, 5-piece maple/walnut neck, maple fingerboard, Ibanez V8 humbucker pickups, S1 single coil (middle) pickups, and V7 neck humbucker.
It’s a great guitar for shredders, and it’s tonally versatile.
All in all, the RG550 is a modernized old-school electric guitar worth exploring.
6. Fender Player Plus Stratocaster – Great value for money
Fender is a reputable guitar brand responsible for producing some of the best electric guitars out there.
Their Stratocaster guitars are often referred to as the best electric guitars you can buy – and we can see why.
First of all, this popular electric guitar offers incredible value for money.
It’s made of quality tonewoods like alder and maple, available in several finishes, including 3-Color Sunburst, Olympic Pearl, Sienna Sunburst, Aged Candy, and Opal Spark.
It has a distinctive Strat voice, but it’s a mid-priced Player Plus option, so it won’t break the bank.
And with Player Plus Noiseless single coils in the middle and bridge position, you won’t get any hum.
7. Gibson Les Paul Junior – Best classic tone
Gibson Les Paul Junior has a mahogany body, mahogany neck, a vintage 50s neck profile, and a fantastic P-90 pickup.
And as you can see, it looks stunning – very unique, yet elegant and classy.
The only potential disadvantage is the price; it currently costs around $1500.
But if you’re willing to spend a bit more, the Gibson Les Paul Junior should be on your shortlist.
With its seemingly simple pickup, Nickel wraparound bridge, and classic tone, it’s a great choice for novices as well as seasoned musicians.
It’s a high-end electric guitar that prioritizes simplicity and classic tones.
8. Epiphone SG Standard – Best cheap electric guitar
When searching for the best affordable electric guitars, you’ll probably come across Epiphone.
But Epiphone guitars are not those cheap electric guitars you should avoid; on the contrary, they’re well-built and reliable.
If you’re searching for electric guitars under $500, you should check out Epiphone SG Standard.
This affordable model sounds more expensive than it actually is.
It has great pickups (incredibly good for this price range) and excellent build quality; mahogany body and mahogany neck.
All things considered, when it comes to the best cheap electric guitars, Epiphone SG Standard is hard to beat.
9. Yamaha SA2200 – Best high-end electric guitar
One thing is for sure – the more you invest in your guitar, the more benefits you’ll get.
Yamaha SA2200 might be crazy expensive, but it’s one of the best electric guitars the company has to offer.
It has two powerful Alnico V humbuckers and useful features such as the 3-way pickup selector switch and the possibility of coil-splittings via Push-Pull knobs.
This guitar is a result of some brilliant craftsmanship, ensuring excellent dynamic response and playability.
It’s a top-quality electric guitar that doesn’t fit any budget, but it certainly deserves a place on this list.
10. Fender Player Plus Telecaster
Is there a better way to finish this list than with another Fender favorite?
Fender Telecaster is one of the most popular single-cut guitars, known for its beautiful sound and excellent playability.
As the company claims, the Tele changed the way music was made.
The Tele bridge design retains the guitar’s tuning stability and makes it easy to adjust string spacing, while dual single-coil pickups create a broad range of tones that fit any genre.
There are many Telecaster guitars to choose from, but the Fender Player Plus Telecaster is an affordable option for anyone who wants to upgrade.
It’s versatile and innovative, featuring a neck designed for comfort and performance.
Brief History of Electric Guitars
Now that you know what are the best electric guitars in the market right now, you probably feel a bit overwhelmed.
There are so many great models to choose from, so how are you supposed to make a decision?
Well, we’ll get there in a minute…
But first, let us tell you how it all started.
Acoustic guitars have been around for centuries – the credit to the steel-string acoustic guitar as we know it today is given to Christian Frederick Martin of Martin Guitars, a company that was established in 1833.
According to many historians, the first electric guitar appeared in 1936, in the hands of jazz musician Charlie Christian.
Christian apparently wanted his acoustic guitar to be louder, so he added what we now call a pickup.
So, electric guitars were first used by jazz musicians who wanted to play solos (and be heard) in large band ensembles.
Electronic amplification made the guitar significantly louder, making it possible to be heard among other instruments.
But those first electric guitars were hollow-bodied, and the first solid-bodied electric guitar was created by guitarist Les Paul in 1941.
Although Les Paul and the Gibson Guitar Company readied it for mass production, Leo Fender and the Fender Electric Instruments Company are responsible for marketing the first mass-produced solid-body electric guitar: the Fender Broadcaster.
In the 1960s, guitar manufacturers started producing preamplifiers (or preamps), separate amplifiers that can adjust the tone and volume of particular sounds.
Electric guitars have transformed a lot over the years, and the best electric guitars are now equipped with premium pickups and innovative electronics.
How to Choose the Best Electric Guitar for You
Choosing the best electric guitar for you can be challenging.
And although this is a personal choice, there are several things you should look for in a guitar.
For instance, you should make sure the guitar is made of quality materials.
The guitar’s body shape also affects the playing experience, and you need to find a guitar that feels comfortable to play.
The appearance is another factor – do you prefer distinctive, colorful guitars or classic, vintage electric guitars?
Your level of experience is also something to consider, as some guitars are suitable for beginners and others are designed with professional guitar players in mind.
You can think about what you intend to use it for – do you want to improve your guitar skills and have a reliable instrument to practice with, or do you want to buy a workhorse guitar that will accompany you on your upcoming tour?
It all depends on your priorities and goals.
And if you know exactly what you’re looking for, it will be easier for you to make a choice.
What Guitar Body Shape Should I Choose?
Although there are all kinds of electric guitars available in the market, there are generally two main categories of electric guitars: single-cutaway and double-cutaway guitars.
A single-cutaway guitar sounds warmer and fuller, and it’s usually 4-5 lbs heavier than a double-cut guitar.
The Fender Telecaster and Gibson Les Paul are the most popular single-cut guitars.
Double-cut guitars will provide you with better upper fret access, and they tend to be lighter and more comfortable.
The number of cutaways on an electric guitar also has an effect on the overall tone, but we’re not talking about a huge difference.
However, the shape of the electric guitar will determine how you feel while you’re playing it; so, make sure you find a comfortable guitar that fits you well.
What About Neck Profile?
The type of neck profile is another thing you should factor in when checking out the best electric guitars.
Generally, the term neck profile refers to the shape of the back of a guitar neck in cross-section.
And there actually isn’t one shape that’s better than the other – it’s a matter of personal preference and playing comfort.
The C-shaped neck profile is one of the most common neck profiles.
C-shaped necks have a comfortable oval profile that works well for most playing styles.
Faster players tend to opt for thin necks, and rock players usually go for thicker necks.
The V-shaped neck comes in two popular versions – a more rounded “soft” V, and a more pointed “hard” V, often used in classical instruments too.
The third popular neck shape is the U-shaped neck profile – it’s chunky and rounded, and it is ideal for players with larger hands.
Another thing that can affect your playing experience and the sound of your guitar is the type of guitar pickup.
There are many different pickup types to choose from, so it would be good for you to learn a thing or two about their differences.
Single coils and humbuckers are the most popular guitar pickups.
Single coil pickups are the first electric pickups to be invented, and they’re still the most popular choice – they’re known for their sharp tone and clarity.
However, single coils have more feedback than humbucker pickups, and that’s why many rock and metal guitar players tend to avoid them.
On the other hand, humbucker pickups have less feedback, and they generally produce a thicker, warmer, and bigger output.
They use two magnet coils wound in reverse to one another, so it’s possible to cancel out the hums.
Epiphone also created mini humbuckers that produce a smaller amount of signal compared to humbuckers.
Some electric guitars feature a mixture of single coils and humbucker pickups, which is a great solution as well.
Piezo pickups work in a slightly different way – they are located inside the bridge of the guitar and pick up the vibrations of the string and guitar.
Therefore, piezo pickups are popular in acoustic guitars, but they’re sometimes used with electric guitars in order to create a more acoustic sound.
What Is the Best Tonewood for Electric Guitars?
Besides pickups, another element that affects the overall tone and sound of the electric guitar is the type of wood.
The weight of the electric guitar is also determined by the wood used.
So, what are the best woods for electric guitars?
Generally, the denser the wood, the better sustain an instrument will have.
Some of the woods used to make electric guitars include well-seasoned hardwoods like maple, walnut, ash, alder, and mahogany for the solid body.
Mahogany is a warm, resonant tonewood, and it’s often used by Gibson.
Some manufacturers combine it with a brighter wood such as maple to bring out higher-range frequencies.
Fender often uses alder, a timber that provides an even frequency response, and for a smaller number of instruments they use ash.
Basswood is another popular choice because it’s easily sourced; it’s a cheaper option, but it has a nice warm and resonant tone.
How Much Should I Spend on an Electric Guitar?
Just like they vary in body shapes and build quality, electric guitars vary in price.
Beginner guitars usually cost between $100 to $400, so if you’re just starting out, you don’t have to spend a fortune on your first electric guitar.
But you should avoid the cheapest electric guitars even if you’re a beginner.
Most electric guitars fall in the $600 to $900 price range, so if you’re willing to get a good-quality instrument, you need to be ready to spend a bit more.
High-end guitars, on the other hand, cost more than $1000.
So, it all depends on your level and budget.
You don’t have to buy an expensive electric guitar if you’re taking beginner guitar lessons.
And thankfully, there are many great beginner electric guitars available in the market right now.
How to Take Care of Your Electric Guitar – Best Guitar Care Tips
Whether you want to buy an affordable electric guitar for beginners or a premium-quality guitar, you need to take proper care of your instrument.
If you want your electric guitar to serve you well for many years to come, you should keep in mind the following tips:
- Wipe the strings after you play
- Wash your hands before practice
- Keep your guitar in the case
- Keep your guitar away from moisture
- Tuck your cable when using a strap
- Keep it clean (you can wipe the neck and body of the guitar with a cotton t-shirt)
Best Electric Guitars – Final Thoughts
Learning how to play the electric guitar should be exciting and very rewarding – but in order to achieve that, you’ll need a good instrument.
All the best electric guitars we reviewed today will surely provide you with a great playing experience and help you improve your skills and musicality.
You need to find a guitar that meets your needs and start playing!