Best Electric Guitars For Beginners Ultimate Guide 2020
Whether you have decided to learn to play the guitar or are looking for an instrument for someone else, we would like to help. When getting started, choosing a guitar as a beginner can be tough!
There are many guitars on the market targeted at beginners, but not all are worthy of your hard earned dollars. Some companies release instruments that are just far too cheap and make learning a poor experience.
But as a beginner, you would not know what to look for and the potential to give up is far greater.
But as a beginner, having a great guide to assist you is super helpful. And so we have decided to write this guide to help you understand more about the guitar and how to find the right one for you.
Truth is, there are some great guitars that are not expensive made by experienced manufacturers. These are perfect for someone just getting started. So lets get started, there is lots to consider before opening your wallet!
Your Budget And Selecting A Guitar
One of the main things we see with beginners is that cost is one of the main deciding factors when selecting a guitar. And while setting a budget is crucial to anything you purchase, there are considerations to make.
Some new players set a very low budget or jump at the cheapest guitar they find.
This usually leads to a very poor initial experience with the guitar. Its very hard to continue on with something like learning the guitar if the instrument is very poor in quality.
Learning the guitar takes time and commitment, but its very hard to apply yourself if the instrument does not excite you. Buying a cheap used acoustic guitar and putting fishing string on it to save money will not keep you excited.
And yes, this does happen with some new players. But there is no happy ending for players like that because they give up due to a poor experience with the instrument.
So we would encourage you to set a realistic budget that will provide a guitar that will excite you! This will give you the best experience and keep you committed to learning and progressing as a player!
Electric Or Acoustic Guitar for Beginners?
Perhaps you have considered this, maybe not. But what is better to start with, an electric guitar or an acoustic?
If you have never held an electric or an acoustic guitar then this can be overwhelming! So there are things to consider.
First, what type of music do you like? The acoustic guitar can cover a lot of different genres of music offers things the electric does not.
But, the electric guitar has its strengths as well. Lets explore both to really find out whats best for you.
The electric guitar can be a great choice for a beginner. Many experienced players started with an electric and have never looked back!
The electric platform can be an exciting place to get started! And depending on who your guitar hero's are, will also keep you motivated to learn what they play. But there are things to consider when looking at starting with an electric guitar.
These things are no big deal but may add extra cost.
There are a few different types of electric guitars available. Some of them have a solid piece of wood for a body.
If you are looking at an electric like this then its important to know that the guitar will not be very loud when you play. Every strum of an electric guitar will result in a quiet almost lifeless sound.
You see, a guitar like this is made to be plugged into an amplifier for the rich full bodied sound it can produce! This will add extra cost as an amplifier is now needed to get there.
There are other electric guitars made with a hollow or semi hollow body. This type of design will amplify the strings like an acoustic without the absolute need for an amp.
And so these things are important to consider. But don't worry, we are going to look into this a bit deeper to help you understand what this means.
An acoustic guitar is also a great place to start as a beginner. This platform takes a lot of the extras out of the equation. With an acoustic guitar, there is no need for an amplifier, just pick it up and play.
And as long as the guitar fits your body well, its a great place to start. But there are a few things to consider.
An acoustic guitar has the advantage of a wider string spacing. This can be great when getting started as you have more space to put your fingers. Developing strength and memory muscle in your fingers when learning is easier on an acoustic.
But the strings on an acoustic are a bit heavier and are higher off the fret board than an electric.
If your interested in reading more about acoustic guitars, we have a guide for that!
If you want to begin on an electric guitar, then lets dig into the best electric guitars for beginners!
Choosing an Electric Guitar
There are many different types of electric guitars on the market! Every type is designed to provide different sounds and have different options. This allows musicians to get the right guitar for their modern needs.
The type of music that you feel you want to start with will also play a big role in the type of guitar you will select. So i think its probably important to go ahead and look at the anatomy and parts of an electric guitar.
This will give you an idea of what will best fit your musical genre as well as give you the tools you will need to get started.
Anatomy of an Electric Guitar
Click to Enlarge
The solid body electric guitar is more widely used in metal,rock and pop music.
The solid body guitar is just that, a solid block of wood without any resonating chambers.
The benefits of a solid body guitar is that they can be amplified louder without running into feedback issues. There is also a greater amount of sustain produced from the solid body.
Solid body guitars can also be created into any shape as there are no resonating chambers. So custom looks are very easy to obtain.
Extra weight comes along with the solid body and some are quite heavy.
Semi Hollow Body
The semi hollow body guitar is the meet in the middle body style. They are quite versatile in the sense that you get some benefits from each solid and hollow. however, you also share some of the issues.
The hollow body has a bright and punch sound like the solid body. However, because of the resonating chamber, you get a warmer tone and a very resonating sound.
Semi hollow bodies tend to be a bit lighter then solid bodies but can potentially suffer from feedback issues when amplified loudly.
The semi hollow body can also be produced in custom shapes to a degree.
Hollow body guitars are used more with classic music, jazz and produce a more acoustic type sound.
The bodies produce a louder volume when not amplified then a solid body. However, there can be feedback issues when amplified loudly.
The Hollow body sound is warm and produces plenty of bass and are different then solid body guitars. These are beneficial to beginners who may not want to amplify the guitar, the hollow body is a great starter platform as well.
Sustain from the hollow body will be less then that of the solid or semi hollow body guitars but depending on what you are playing that can be overlooked.
Body Wood Types
Electric guitars are made with a few different wood types depending on the desired finish, price point and sound. While its not really something important to get right when your beginning, we do want to mention some of them.
Manufacturers do a great job of creating guitars with wood types that they feel add to what they are trying to accomplish. And so leaving that to them is normally best.
Some of the wood types commonly found in budget solid body electrics are mahogany, alder and poplar. While more expensive guitars might be made with pine, swamp ash and basswood.
However, there is no hard rule to this.
Some of the tone characteristics you will find with wood types are a consideration manufacturers use when selecting the wood. But for budget guitars this plays a smaller role and wood is selected to keep costs down.
This too is completely fine, because it allows you to get into a great guitar for less! Basswood and alder are a pretty balanced sounding wood type, while swamp ash imparts articulation and presence. Mahogany on the other hand is a warmer sounding wood type.
There are many different types of neck shapes made for different playing style. However, there are 3 main neck shapes that you will find on most guitars. There are a few variations that show up a lot but are based on these shapes.
So we will focus on the 3 that will be most common. Just keep in mind that the shape of the neck doesn’t affect tone of the guitar, it affects the way its played or comfort.
The “C” shaped neck is the most common profile. This shape works well for most playing styles and is comfortable for most players. Most strats and tele guitars will have this neck profile.
The “V” shaped neck has 2 variations, a hard V and a soft V. This type of neck is popular for those who like to have their thumb in the playing action or over-the top playing. The softer V is more common of the 2.
Then we have the “U” shaped neck. This neck is a thicker neck that is normally played with the thumb always on the back of the neck. They are sometimes called a baseball neck and are found on tele guitars among others.
There is also a thin U shaped neck that you will find common on guitars made for metal or rock where speed is key!
Electric Guitar Pick-Ups
There are 2 types of pick-ups that you will find on an electric guitar. One type, and the original, is called a single coil pick-up. This pick-up is where guitar pick-up technology began and is common for many different types of music and sound.
The second type is called a Humbucker pick-up. This pick-up was created to eliminate noise that the single coil pick-ups produced but also gives a hotter output. Lets take a closer look at the two types.
Single Coil Pick-Ups
The humbucker pick-ups were invented in 1955 and introduced to the world by Gibson. The aim was to “buck” the “hum” of single coils and worked great!
This also provided the world with higher output pickups that were warmer and richer!
As time went by, the humbucker then provided rock music with its voice and is responsible for most of the great guitar sound we know and love today.
Just Show Me the Guitars Already!
Alright, the suspense must be driving you mad! So lets take a quick peek at the electrics we feel are best for a beginner, then we can look at the different hardware you will find on electric guitars!
Top 5 Best Electric Guitars for Beginners Overview
Now that we have looked into the electric guitar a bit, lets take a look at what we feel are the best electric guitars for a beginner. These guitars have been selected based on a few variables that we feel are important.
- Build Quality
- Sound And Feel
How Much Should a Beginner Really Know?
We have covered a lot of different parts of the electric guitar. And while there is much more to know, for a beginner, knowing what we have covered here today is plenty good!
You see, the parts we have covered will give you a better idea of the guitar you should choose, which is the next step. It will all come down to the type of music you will want to start with.
We have and will release plenty more guides for you so that you can keep learning, but for now, lets cover a few common questions and then look at the top 5 best electric guitars for beginners we have selected.
Electric Guitar Beginner FAQ
What Should My Budget Be?
This question has many answers. First, how much can you afford to spend? If budget is not a concern, then go for something that excites you! There are many expensive guitars on the market made by amazing manufacturers.
They will have incredible sound and feel, plus the hardware will be rock solid. And depending on the guitar, it will hold its value for years to come.
If budget is a concern, then we would recommend going as high as you possibly can. The more money you can invest into the guitar, the better the experience you will have.
This is very important because your inspiration will come partly from the guitar. If the instrument is poor in quality, its hard to commit to learning.
So if you are serious about learning how to play the guitar, do yourself a favor and invest the most you can into your instrument. You will thank yourself down the road.
Should I Buy An Amplifier To Start?
This question is very much dependent on the budget you have when starting out. While the electric guitar sound is obtained with an amplifier, you can still play without an amp.
The electric guitar can still be heard especially if you have chosen a hollow body or semi-hollow body.
The solid body however will be much quieter but you can get going with learning the neck and notes, maybe even some chords.
If you are able to buy yourself an amplifier to get started, then we would very much encourage it. This will give you more control over how you are playing and give you better tone to stay encouraged.
Staying motivated with good tone can help you learn better technique. Playing without an amplifier can foster some bad habits and so try and prevent it. Even if it means you have to get a cheaper guitar to include an amp in your purchase.
Im Still Not Sure Which Guitar Will Best Fit My Music Choice
There is a lot of information to take in! We tried to keep this best electric guitars for beginners guide as comprehensive as we could while still easy to read. But it can still be a tough choice when starting out.
So depending on your genre of music, or the music you want to start with, here is a list to help, it not a rule, simply a suggestion.
Les Paul =Rock, Hard Rock,Classic rock, Metal, Blues, jazz. The LES Paul is very versatile and can basically do all types of music, which is why its in the #1 spot of our list.
Telecaster =Blues, jazz, Funk, R&B/Soul, rock. The Telecaster is a pretty versatile guitar and can probably pull off some hard rock depending on what is requires as well.
Stratocaster =Blues, Jazz, Folk, Pop, Punk, Rock, hard Rock. The Stratocaster has many strengths, very versatile!
ESP LTD = Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Metal. Blues. The ESP LTD is very similar to the Les Paul but with higher output pick-ups. The added coil tap can also do single coil tones as well.
Omen Extreme = Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Metal. Blues. The Omen Extreme is designed for harder music. The added coil tap can also do single coil tones and adds versatility,
So I Found an Electric, Should I Teach Myself to Play the Guitar?
While it is very possible to teach yourself to play the guitar, it also adds a rather large hurdle. Yes many of the greats taught themselves with a guitar magazine and the tabs within.
But everyone is different, and learning the guitar can be quite challenging.There are many things you will want to know in the beginning that can prevent some bad habits.
Learning how to read music at the same time as the guitar can be a huge benefit.
There are many guitar players who don’t know how to read music that wish they would have in the beginning. So while teaching yourself is possible, you might also consider being taught by an experienced guitar teacher.
Guitar Program Online
There are also online lessons that are available by many talented players and programs. Thanks to the internet, learning from your favorite players is very easy!
Many You tube personalities teach and offer lessons and programs as well and some are very affordable and fun!
There are also many manufacturers that have created programs like Fender. They offer a program that has benefited a great deal of new players as they got started.
Final Thoughts on Our Best Electrics Guitars for Beginners Guide
There are so many things that need to be realized and learned as you get started. Even before picking up the guitar to get started! We hope this guide has brought you some value if you are getting started. Learning the guitar is a journey and can be a blast.
It will challenge you and give you a new love for sound and music.
We will continue to assist you in your journey. Just let us know what kind of material you would like to see from this community. And we wish you luck and great licks as you start learning to play the guitar!