You’ve been trawling guitar shops for weeks on end in search of the perfect electric guitar (of even the best guitar!). You’ve even tried searching online forums for pointers, but to no avail. Finding the best electric guitar for the money can be a long, onerous process. There’s a whole handful of things you need to consider, and it doesn’t help that the market is brimming with options.
In a hurry and just want to see the recommendations?
Quick Links To Our Top Electric Guitar Recommendations
- Schecter Omen Extreme-6 – our top choice for the best all around electric guitar for the money.
- Epiphone Les Paul 100 – perfect starter entry level option.
- ESP LTD EC-256FM – great choice for intermediate players.
- PRS S2 Custom 24 – for people looking to spend less than $1500.
- PRS SE 245 – for people looking to spend less than $800.
- Epiphone Les Paul Standard – for people looking to spend less than $500.
- Fender Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster – for people looking to spend less than $400.
- Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II – for people looking to spend less than $300.
- Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012 – for people looking to spend less than $200.
- Glarry GST – for people looking to spend less than $100.
- Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS – best bang for a budget.
- Ibanez GRGM21MJB Mikro 3/4 Size – great kids choice.
- Squier by Fender Mini Strat – excellent for people with small hands.
- Fender Stratocaster – perfect for blues players.
- D’Angelico EXL-1 – top jazz players choice.
- Epiphone Dot – great for church music and worship.
- Traveler Guitar EG-1 Custom – for travelers on the go.
- Ibanez LGB30 – if you are looking for a great archtop.
- Gibson Les Paul Studio – advanced players look at this.
- Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack – looking for a complete starter pack? Look here.
Still, we might just be able to help you out. Below is a list of the bestselling models on the market today, covering a broad spectrum of styles/genres/budgets of electric guitars on the market. You may come across a guitar that ticks all your boxes if you’re lucky. If not, this guide will point you in the right direction of electric guitars in the world.
Do you need an amp to go along with your new guitar? I put together an electric guitar amp buyers guide too. Check it out here – 13 Best Guitar Amp For The Money – Review For 2021!
- Quick Links To Our Top Electric Guitar Recommendations
- Our Best Electric Guitars For The Money Reviews
- Best All Around Electric Guitar For The Money – Schecter Omen Extreme-6
- Best Starter Entry Level Beginner – Epiphone Les Paul 100
- Best For Intermediate Players – ESP LTD EC-256FM
- Best Under $1500 – PRS S2 Custom 24
- Best Under $800 – PRS SE 245
- Best Below $500 – Epiphone Les Paul Standard
- Best Under $400 – Fender Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster
- Best Below $300 – Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II
- Best Under 200 – Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012
- Best Under 100 – Glarry GST
- Best Budget Option – Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS
- Best For Kids – Ibanez GRGM21MJB Mikro 3/4 Size
- Best For Small Hands – Squier by Fender Mini Strat
- Best For Blues – Fender Stratocaster
- Best For Jazz – D’Angelico EXL-1
- Best For Church Music – Epiphone Dot
- Best For Travel – Traveler Guitar EG-1 Custom
- Best Archtop – Ibanez LGB30
- Best For Advanced Players – Gibson Les Paul Studio
- Best Starter Pack – Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack
- Best Electric Guitars for the Money Conclusion
- Looking For More Best Electric Guitars?
Our Best Electric Guitars For The Money Reviews
Here are our recommendations and a full review of each.
Best All Around Electric Guitar For The Money – Schecter Omen Extreme-6
Kicking off the list is this pretty little guitar from Schecter and our choice for best all around electric guitar for the money. Featuring an arched double-cutaway mahogany body with a bolt-on maple neck and 24 extra-jumbo-fretted rosewood fingerboard, the Omen Extreme-6 electric guitar is perfect for metalheads. This design, known as the Super-strat style, allows for quicker, more precise shredding and easy access to higher frets.
However, the Omen Extreme-6 could also prove a worthwhile pick if you’re looking for a solid guitar that won’t break your budget. It comes with Schecter Diamond Plus passive humbuckers that yield a meaty tone with plenty of bite for overdrive. These pickups might seem a little unrefined at first, but you’ll come to love them once you get familiar with the controls. Both are wired to a 3-way selector switch, a pair of volume knobs, and one push-pull tone knob.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a Floyd Rose bridge complemented by a set of locking tuners (what are guitar locking tuners and choosing the best locking tuners) on the headstock. The tuning mechanism holds its own quite well, and users have praised the guitar’s ability to stay in tune. This is because it’s one of the few budget models that comes with a decent set of strings. You’ll also be pleased to know that the action comes already setup. All in all, the Omen Extreme-6 is about as good an electric guitar as you can find in its price range. This is a great super strat option.
- Beautiful finish with elegant cosmetic appointments
- Quick action
- Can handle on-stage performances
- Might not be suitable for some genres
Best Starter Entry Level Beginner – Epiphone Les Paul 100
Few electric guitars are as influential as the Gibson Les Paul electric guitar. Launched in the early 50’s, it played a huge role in shaping the sound we now know as rock n’ roll. And while it wasn’t the first solid-body electric to hit the market, the LP is what really brought the concept to the mainstream. The guitar attained such a high level of reverence that it continues to be sold to date.
And the best part? Gibson will let you have a proper Les Paul for about 60 percent less than an Omen Extreme-6 costs. Epiphone guitars is a sub-brand of Gibson, so you can expect the Les Paul 100 to carry its larger-than-life father’s pedigree. This makes it a great choice for best starter entry level beginner electric guitar.
It comes with a mahogany body and maple top to keep the tone solid and heavy. The bolt-on neck is also crafted from mahogany, while the fingerboard utilizes rosewood. Fret count and scale length are as usual: 22 frets with white dot inlays, and 24.75 inches.
The LP 100 is outfitted with a Tune-o-Matic bridge and chrome die-cast tuners, a combo that ensures the guitar doesn’t drop out of tune suddenly or require frequent setting guitar intonation. Pickups take the form of two 700T open-coil humbuckers designed for high fidelity, with very little-to-no hum. Guitar controls include volume and tone knobs for each pickup, plus a 3-way switch for mixing up the sound.
- Refined, powerful sound
- Suitable for a wide range of skill levels
- Doesn’t come with a hard shell case
Best For Intermediate Players – ESP LTD EC-256FM
ESP’s LTD subsidiary have gifted us some wonderfully-edgy electric guitars over the years, and the EC-256FM electric guitar is no exception making it our choice for best intermediate electric guitar. It sports a single-cutaway body for that vintage Les Paul shape, but with a lemon drop finish to remind you that this isn’t your ordinary LP. If that doesn’t cut it, you could choose between the ‘Cherry Sunburst’ and translucent black versions.
ESP gives the impression that the EC-256FM is crafted with nothing but the best materials. Solid mahogany and rosewood have been utilized for the body and fingerboard respectively. The U-shaped neck profile and neck shape is crafted of 3-piece mahogany to beef up its super-slim profile. This offers a 24.75-inch scale divided into 22 extra-jumbo frets. Overall, the EC-256FM has a nifty, almost-Strat-like feel in its demeanor.
Chrome die-cast tuners are provided on the headstock to offer tuning stability in conjunction with the tune-o-matic bridge. The EC-256FM also sports ESP’s bespoke LH-150 pickups on both the neck pickup and bridge. Each has its own volume knob, and you’ll find a handy 3-way toggle switch and a master tone control function. With a little effort, you should be able to achieve a creamy, bright sound with a lengthy sustain. This guitar will comfortably play anything you throw at it; blues, metal, classic rock, lead, etc. Overall, the EC-256FM is worth a try if you’re looking for a solid Les Paul that is affordable for any playing style.
- Action is easily adjustable
- Solid build
- Great value for money
- Significantly heavier than most other electrics
Best Under $1500 – PRS S2 Custom 24
Few would’ve thought that a day would come when Paul Reed Smith’s mighty Custom 24 electric guitar would make its way to the masses. But that day did come. The PRS S2 Custom 24 is here to give you a taste of the company’s flagship model as our choice of best electric guitar under 1500.
There is a catch, of course — PRS have toned down the recipe somewhat to make the S2 Custom 24 more accessibly-priced. It still oozes the DNA of its older sibling nonetheless, sporting a mahogany body and 2-piece maple top. The top has an asymmetric beveling that gives the S2 a sharper profile compared to the original’s curvy top. Its mahogany neck hosts a 24-fret rosewood fingerboard rigged with bespoke PRS inlays.
Elsewhere, the S2 electric guitars come with two redesigned humbuckers based on the manufacturer’s Vintage Bass (neck) and HFS Treble (bridge) models. These can be selected individually/combined using the 3-way toggle, or coil-tapped by tugging on the tone control. The HFS Treble ‘bucker centers on a smooth, clean tone with clearly-refined highs and tight, hefty lows; you can inject more life into this pickup with a bit of overdrive. Meanwhile, the Vintage Bass ‘bucker on the neck has a wider dynamic range and slightly-warmer tone across the board.
- Superb fit and finish; excellent build quality overall
- Almost-flawless sound quality
- Easy to play
- Versatile enough for most genres
- Bridge pickups lack the quick response offered by similarly-priced models
Best Under $800 – PRS SE 245
It’s priced low enough to be your first guitar, yet classy enough to be the last one you will ever need. Even with an affordable price tag, the SE 245 electric guitar (our best electric guitar under 800 pick) still carries the PRS prestige and pedigree. It sports a single-cutaway mahogany body that seems to take a page or two from the traditional Les Paul design. However, you will notice a beveled maple cap on the base to give you a glimpse of the level of craftsmanship that went into the electric guitars’ construction.
The mahogany neck features an ample profile to let you access all 22 frets with ease. Scale length stands at 24.5 inches. The fretboard is made of rosewood but, unlike most models in its price range, the SE 245 uses bespoke PRS inlays instead of basic dot markers.
Sticking with the Les Paul motif, the SE 245 comes with 2 humbuckers tended to via a 3-way selector switch. Separate sets of tone and volume controls are provided for each of them. While there’s nothing particularly special about the pickups, it’s pleasing to see that PRS have stuck with a tried-and-tested formula. You can expect the same clean, warm, full-bodied sound you’d get from a typical LP, and with just about enough bite for overdrive.
For tuning gear, the SE 245 comes with PRS-designed chrome tuners that feel pleasingly-tight and accurate. A stop-tail bridge, also bespoke, will help keep the tuning stable and rock-steady.
Best Below $500 – Epiphone Les Paul Standard
For the most part, the Epiphone Les Paul Standard electric guitar, our choice for best electric guitar below $500, follows the same recipe as its sibling (the LP 100 seen earlier). It uses mahogany and rosewood for the body/neck and fretboard respectively, with a maple veneer top. Fret count stays unchanged at 22, as does the 24.75 inch scale.
There are a few key differences, nonetheless. The LP Standard’s neck is hand-set, while that of the 100 is bolted on. Pearloid inlays are used in place of white dots for fretboard markers. The Standard also feels and looks more polished, with Grover tuners and bolder color options.
Still, the most significant improvement come in the electronics package. Epiphone electric guitars have equipped the Standard with Alnico Classic Humbuckers, which are more powerful than its sibling’s 700Ts. Therefore, you can expect better results in terms of clarity, warmth, and high-end tone. Pickups are tended to with the same controls (volume, tone & 3-way switch).
Overall, the Epiphone LP Standard makes a pretty good case for itself . You get the fidelity and class of a classic Les Paul, but with more confidence compared to the LP 100. If you’re looking for your first ‘serious’ electric guitar — you know, a step up from your beginner unit — be sure to give it a try.
- Sounds and looks great
- Build quality is exceptional for the price
- Holds its tune well
- Action is quick and user-friendly
- Perfect mix of price and performance
- Pickups aren’t the most versatile
Looking for more options? We also did a full post on the best electric guitar under 500 options as well!
Best Under $400 – Fender Squier Classic Vibe 50’s Stratocaster
Fender’s Squier sub-brand has gifted us a wonderful collection of Strats over the years. This particular guitar, the Classic Vibe 50’s electric guitar, is Fender’s tribute to the birth of the Stratocaster in the 1950s and our pick for best electric guitar under 400. It features a double-cutaway Strat body made of solid alder; this can be adorned in one of 2 retro finishes (Sherwood Green Metallic or two-tone Sunburst).
The neck and fretboard both feature a vintage-tint gloss finish to top off the look. Both are crafted of maple. The neck is C-shaped for comfortable play, and easy access to the 21 medium jumbo frets spread along the 25.5-inch long scale.
For hardware, the Squier CV 50’s electric guitars come with Alnico III single coil pickups at the neck, bridge and middle. These are linked to a volume knob, 2 tone knobs and the 5-way selector switch. A 6-saddle retro-styled tremolo bridge is provided for further pitch control. Tuning gear includes a set of chrome tuners on the headstock, plus a synthetic bone nut.
Thanks to the bespoke pickup coils and the alder body/neck, the CV 50’s Stratocaster delivers a meaty sound with a dynamic tone range. It doesn’t quite hit vintage quality, but the guitar performs better than what you’d expect of a $400 unit, lending itself to a handful of genres. If you want a well-built, reliable workhorse Strat, don’t be afraid to give it a try.
- Gorgeous looks
- Outstanding build quality
- No fret buzzes
Best Below $300 – Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II
You can’t have too much of a good thing. Not according to Epiphone, at least. The LP Special II, our pick for best electric guitars below $300, is here to give you yet another taste of the Les Paul electric guitars experience.
Featuring a single-cutaway body, the Special II guitar is clearly cut from the same cloth as the original. With a cheaper price tag however, you can expect a few budget cuts. The body is made of okoume, a hardwood that’s cheaper and lighter than mahogany. Okoume has also been used for the bolted-on neck.
You’ll also notice that the body lacks the signature contour of a bona-fide Les Paul. All that said, the Special II still handles quite well. The finish is superb, and the lighter choice of woods means this electric guitar won’t be as heavy on your hands as a mahogany unit would. Also, the neck offers a nice feel with its ‘SlimTaper D’ profile. Playability is further enhanced by the rosewood fretboard featuring 22 medium jumbo frets with dot inlays.
In classic LP fashion, the Special II comes with two humbuckers: A 650R at the neck, and a 700T on the bridge. Both are Epiphone proprietary units. They provide just about enough oomph for heavy genres like rock. Controls include a 3-way switch, plus master volume and tone knobs.
- Beginner-friendly design
- Sound is OK for the price
- Has better pickups than most budget models
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- No accessories included
Best Under 200 – Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012
It’s impossible to overlook Yamaha when compiling a list of dependable best electric guitars — or musical instruments for that matter. The company makes products for practically everyone, from novices to hobbyists to professionals. With the PAC012, you’re getting one of the best electric guitars under $200.
Like other members of the Pacifica Series, the PAC012 features a double-cutaway Strat-style body, but with a uniquely-curvaceous feel. This is made of agathis, an alder-like softwood, and covered in a high-gloss finish. The maple neck features a 25.5-inch scale, plus a 22-fret Sonokeling fingerboard (Sonokeling is a rosewood variety native to Indonesia).
Interestingly, this guitar doesn’t come with SSS pickups like most Strats. Instead, it makes do with single coils at the neck and middle, with a bridge humbucker on the bridge to complement them. This unusual configuration does a rather commendable job at voicing the PAC012. Sound quality isn’t that great, but it’s not mediocre either. The stock pickups yield clear sounds, and the chunky tones provided by the humbucker will prove useful for certain genres.
To create a friendly electric guitars learning curve for beginners, the PAC012 features a 5-way pickup selector switch and master volume/tone controls. Sealed chrome tuners help in keeping the electric guitar tuned, while the vintage-style tremolo bridge offers easy access to the onboard vibrato.
- Feels solid and looks great
- Holds its tune quite well
- Very user-friendly
- Not the best sound quality available in this range
Best Under 100 – Glarry GST
Glarry Music have become famous for offering solid guitars at unbelievably-low prices. This one in particular, the Glarry GST guitar, is a 6-string guitar dressed in a basswood body and maple neck, with the fingerboard crafted out of rosewood. That sounds about good enough for a $85 Strat-style guitar.
Whoa, wait a sec… Strat-style for under $100, really? Yeah, you did read that right. If you’re after that Strat feel but don’t want to part with a limb for, say, Fender electric guitars, this is your best bet.
Granted, one can understand why you’re skeptical. It’s hard to come across a decent electric in the sub-$100 range, let alone a Strat clone. But the Glarry GST is a rare — and undoubtedly welcome — exception. While the basswood body feels a little light, it still has the thickness of a legit Strat. The smooth C-shaped neck lets you navigate all chords with ease, and a precision-cut string nut is included to help maintain optimal string pressure. A 5-way pickup switch and 3 single coil pickups make it possible to achieve the classic Strat electric guitar sound.
You also get bass/treble controls and adjustable gain to explore different levels of overdrive. This guitar even comes with a 20W amp for when you want to make some noise, and a headphone jack for when you don’t. Accessories include a gig bag, shoulder strap, tremolo arm, and a few tools for the initial setup. If that sounds good enough, why not give the Glarry GST a try?
Best Budget Option – Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS
Nothing screams value for money like a sub-$300 Strat guitar, especially when it’s a Squier. The Affinity Stratocaster SSS, our best budget electric guitar choice, brings you loads of goodness for 230 bucks. That’s almost half what you’d pay for the other Fender Strat you saw earlier, the Classic Vibe 50’s electric guitars.
The Affinity SSS sticks to the classical Strat formula with a slender, contoured double-cutaway shape. The body is crafted from alder, and can be finished in one of seven colors. Bolted onto the body is a maple neck with a 21-fret fingerboard that can be crafted of maple or rosewood.
A few users have pointed out that maple offers a quicker response. In truth, however, this snappiness has more to do with the C-shaped neck and asymmetric body shape. The two combine to put the 25.5-inch scale wholly within reach. The neck also has a radius of 9.5 inches for a firmer grip.
You’ll recall that this guitar is configured in the SSS layout, utilizing standard single-coils for the pickups. These get the job done alright, offering a somewhat-pleasing sound with enough bite for overdrive, but don’t expect to be blown away. The same can also be said of the controls: the 5-way pickup toggle combines with 2 tone knobs and a master volume for just enough tonal versatility. Pitch control takes the form of a six-saddle tremolo bridge. For tuning gear, you get six chrome tuners and a synthetic bone nut.
- Provides an affordable Strat guitar experience
- Accommodates quick play
- Sub-par sound compared to the competition
Best For Kids – Ibanez GRGM21MJB Mikro 3/4 Size
Like the name suggests, the GRGM21MJB Mikro guitar is a diminutive electric with a three-quarter scale. That equates to 22 inches, which is about perfect for young guitarists just joining the fray. Or even seasoned rockers who want a mini-guitar — you know, for those last minute rehearsals along hallways? The Mikro’s well-suited for those too and a great pick for best kids electric guitar.
It features a downsized body crafted from basswood, a maple neck, and rosewood fretboard. The latter has 24 frets with customized sharktooth inlays for position markers. Double humbucker pickups combine with the solid body to yield a clear tone with warm mid and a solid sustain. A 3-way pickup selector switch allows for variation in conjunction with master volume and tone controls.
The sound can be somewhat heavy compared to what other mini electric guitars offer for a kid electric guitar, but never muddy. It’s about as good as you can expect for budget-range model. Overall, the Mirka comes across as a worthwhile pick for the price. It has this inviting charm that urges you to try it out, and the compact profile means you can shred endlessly for hours without tiring.
- Perfectly-sized for kids, as well as adults with small hands.
- Superb build and finish
- Controls are smooth and responsive
- Has a better electronics package than comparable guitar models
- Sound quality is OK for the price
- Needs a few adjustments out of the box (bridge height, intonation etc).
- Strings can go out of tune easily
Best For Small Hands – Squier by Fender Mini Strat
Here’s yet another option for those who want a mini, but this time from Squier. Tasked with the job of replicating the Fender Stratocaster guitar on a smaller scale, Squier utilized a 3/4-size body featuring the usual double-cutaway for the Mini – our choice for best electric guitars for small hands. These electric guitars are made of basswood, while the neck and fingerboard are crafted from maple and rosewood respectively. Scale length has been shrunk to 22.75 inches, and the frets are a couple shy of the usual 22.
However, you still get the regular Strat pickup layout employing a trio of single-coils. A 5-way toggle switch is provided as usual, as are volume and tone control knobs. The headstock also brings the familiar set of 6 die-cast tuners to aid with tuning. The Mini also retains the Strat DNA in the sonic department. The combination of basswood and maple yields a bright tone with clear highs and warm basses.
Not to say that there aren’t any glaring trade-offs, though — the sound isn’t as thick as you’d get from a normal Strat. But then again, you’re looking at a downsized replica costing a tenth of what the real thing does. A decent amp might work to shrink the gap, but it does help to keep your expectations realistic.
- Capable of rocking multiple genres, thanks to the 5-way pickup switch
- Compact profile
- Comes with an instructional manual for beginners and kids
- Could use better tuning pegs and strings
Looking for more options? We did a full post on the best electric guitar for small hands too. Take a look!
Best For Blues – Fender Stratocaster
Aah, the good old Fender Strat guitar – our top pick for best blues electric guitar. Practically every who’s who in guitar history has had one, from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton. Given the great sounds it has helped create, the Fender Stratocaster electric guitars are what most players seek the moment they graduate into pro territory.
You know you have a legend on your hands the moment you pick up a Fender Strat. It has this uniquely-contoured body that looks like it was designed for your lap. This is made of solid alder, while maple is used for the C-shaped neck. Fender offer two choices for the fretboard (maple and Pau Ferro). Both varieties sport 21 medium jumbo frets.
The Strat is voiced by a trio of single coil pickups set atop the neck, bridge and middle. All three are Alnico 5 Strat units, and controlled via a 5 way blade switch. Master volume and tone controls are provided for the middle and neck pickups as usual. For enhanced sustain, you get a retro-style synced Tremolo bridge with a high-mass steel block. Located further up is a synthetic bone nut and set of die-cast sealed chrome tuners.
With such a neat hardware package, it should come as no surprise that the Fender Strat sounds fantastic. You will get a stage-quality sound right out-of-the-box, but you could swap out the hardware if you’re not satisfied. .
- Gorgeous vintage design
- Top-of-the-range craftsmanship
- Impeccable sound
- Hardware offers loads of versatility
- Tone is a bit stiff
Best For Jazz – D’Angelico EXL-1
John D’Angelico’s early guitars were clone versions of the Gibson L-5 electric guitars – perfect choice for best jazz electric guitar. With time, he developed a unique, highly-ornamented style epitomized by his two most famous creations, the New Yorker and the Exel. The EXL-1 is based off the latter. It’s a 17.5″ wide archtop cutaway with a side depth of 3.12 inches.
A laminate spruce top combines with maple sides and back to make up the body; this is available in sunburst and natural finishes. Couple that with signature D’Angelico appointments in the iconic headstock and Stairstep tailpiece, and you have an incredibly gorgeous electric guitar. One that’s also comfortable to play in any position; the manufacturer has done such a great job distributing the weight across the EXL-1’s body. It feels so light you hardly notice that you’re holding a 17-inch giant. Playability is further enhanced by the hard maple neck featuring an asymmetric D-profile, as well as the rosewood fingerboard.
Like most jazz-centric guitar models, the EXL-1 is voiced by a single pickup. A Ken Armstrong-designed floating mini-humbucker, the pickup highlights the guitar’s classic amplified archtop tone when plugged in. Don’t expect too much in terms of power, but the sound will be markedly characterful with a good dose of sustain. And if you want to mold it, there’s a pair of volume and tone controls mounted discreetly on the pickguard.
- Stellar craftsmanship, with great attention to detail
- Exceptional sound
- Plays great out of the box
- Doesn’t offer much tonal versatility
Take a look here for more best jazz guitar recommendations.
Best For Church Music – Epiphone Dot
The Epiphone Dot is based on the Gibson ES-335 guitar, the world’s first commercially available semi-hollow (or acousto-electric) guitar. The ES-335 has found popularity with a lot of top acts, including Larry Carlton, Noel Gallagher and Alvin Lee. It’s so cool it even made an appearance in ‘Back To The Future’. So the Epiphone Dot’s gotta be good, right? Making it our choice for best electric guitars for church music.
It comes with the same semi-hollow body profile; the center is solid, while the sides are hollow. The solid core is made of mahogany for sustain and rich tone. Laminated maple is used for the rest of the body. At the top are 2 violin-style ‘F-holes’ over the hollow body chambers to boost resonance and keep the tone balanced. You might find the mahogany neck a little thicker than you’re used to: this is due to the 43mm width at the nut. It still features the same 24.75″ scale and rosewood fingerboard as other Epiphone electric guitars.
Elsewhere, the setup will be easygoing, thanks to Gibson’s familiar Tune-o-Matic bridge. Not only is it easy to adjust, but it also guarantees a healthy dose of stability. More so after you add high-quality Grover tuners. The dot utilizes a pair of Alnico Classic humbuckers, so expect lots of punch and versatility.
- Highly versatile: The acousto-electric concept lends itself to a broad range of genres
- Exceptional build quality
- Great feel and finish
- Handles well
- Sounds dull when unplugged
- Significantly heftier than most electrics
Best For Travel – Traveler Guitar EG-1 Custom
Wouldn’t it be great to have a guitar you can carry with you everywhere? The EG-1 Custom guitar, our choice for best travel electric guitar, is built for just that. Measuring 28.5 inches in length, and weighing a paltry 4 lbs, it’s compact enough to travel light without getting in your way. Will a guitar fit in an overhead bin? Maybe this one will!
So, how many corners were cut to achieve the lightweight build? Apparently, none. While the EG-1 Custom is significantly smaller than a typical electric, you still get the familiar 24.75 inch scale. The length was shrunk thanks to the manufacturer’s proprietary In-Body Tuning System; this negates the need for a headstock by tucking the tuners inside the body. The body itself is crafted from alder to save weight (alder’s lighter than mahogany pound-for-pound.
For the bridge pick-up, a Devastator Alnico Humbucker is included to give you the full-size tone. A chromatic tuner, specifically the Shadow E-Tuner, is built into the pickup ring to eliminate the need for external gear. Elsewhere, the EG-1 Custom electric guitars feature an on-board distortion engine as part of its electronics package. This allows you choose between 4 tones (clean, boost, overdrive, and distortion) using the provided tone knob. A custom headphone amp is also included to allow for private practice while on the go.
- Compact build makes the EG-1 Custom the perfect travelling companion, and the manufacturer throws in a free gig bag.
- Sounds great, particularly through headphones
- Outstanding build quality
- Takes a while to get accustomed to the tuners
Best Archtop – Ibanez LGB30
Here’s a reason to smile if you’re a jazz guitarist: You don’t need to burn a hole in your wallet for an Ibanez GB signature electric guitar – our choice for best archtop electric guitar. The LGB30 guitar is available for a little over 20% the price of an authentic LGB300 (the model off which it’s based).
Like its stablemate, the Ibanez LGB30 features a single-cutaway hollow body, but in a slightly smaller footprint. This is comprised of a laminated spruce top with ‘F-holes’, plus laminate maple back and sides. All pieces are adjoined using cream plastic binding, with a vintage-yellow sunburst finish to complement the flamed maple’s sumptuous look. The neck is a set-in three-piece combining maple and mahogany, while the 20-fret fingerboard is crafted of ebony. Frets are marked with pearl/acrylic and abalone split block inlays.
The LGB30 is powered by a pair of Alnico-loaded Ibanez Super 58 humbuckers outfitted with rubber-ribbed knobs for a secure grip. Controls are as usual (3-way toggle, 2 volume and 2 tone). Both pickups do a pretty good job. The bridge pickup sounds clean whether raw or processed, while that of the neck delivers a warm tone enriched by the substantial cutaway. Moderate overdrive could work if you keep the volume low, which is kind of impressive for a hollow body. Overall, the LGB30 is worth a second look if you’re inclined towards jazz.
- Superb construction
- Comfortable neck
- Well-balanced pickups
- Much better tonal versatility compared to similar models
- Not an all-rounder
- Still too expensive for the average guitarist
Best For Advanced Players – Gibson Les Paul Studio
The Gibson Les Paul Studio guitar is designed for those who want a bona fide Gibson Les Paul and don’t mind foregoing a few cosmetic features. It comes in the familiar Les Paul shape, but without all the cosmetic appointments that account for a chunk of the LP’s stratospheric price tag (bindings, inlays etc). The name ‘Studio’ implies that this guitar should produce the same exact sound as a standard LP — at least within the confines of a recording studio. It’s our choice for best electric guitars for advanced players.
Like the original, the Les Paul Studio electric guitars have a solid mahogany body with a figured maple top. The neck is also made of mahogany; this features the classic ‘SlimTaper’ profile for enhanced ease of play. A 22-fret Grandadillo fingerboard employing perloid trapezoid markers is capped onto the neck. Scale length stands at the usual 24.75 inches.
To ensure the Studio still has the pedigree of an authentic Les Paul, Gibson outfitted it with 490R/498T pickups. With a penchant for aggressiveness and a generous midrange, these pickups will be perfect for the traditional rock-oriented Les Paul Studio applications.
It’s also pleasing to see that Gibson ditched the regular volume pots for push-pull coil-tapping units. Tweaking your tone will never be easier. Meanwhile, a Tune-o-Matic bridge equipped with a stop bar, plus the chrome Kluson tuners on the headstock, will help keep the strings true. Overall, the Gibson Les Paul Studio seems like a pretty good deal and you can pretend that you are just like Jimmy Page!
Best Starter Pack – Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack
If you’re not just in the market for a great guitar alone — if what you’re looking for is a complete electric guitars package — look no further than the Epiphone Les Paul Guitar Player Pack. It is kitted with just about everything you might need for a great playing experience; amp, cable, picks, and so on. It even comes with downloadable guitar lessons for those who’re just learning the ropes. This is our top pick for best electric guitars starter pack.
At the heart of the package is the Epiphone Les Paul Special II LTD. This is much like the LP Special II you saw earlier, featuring the same tonewoods and body profile. However, the LTD edition utilizes nickel for the hardware instead of chrome.
The LP Player Pack comes with a 10W Epiphone Electar Amplifier packing a 6-inch speaker. It’s not exactly powerful, but the amp holds its own rather well, providing clean clear tones. You also get a 10-foot cable for on-stage flexibility, plus a headphone jack for your private practice sessions. Other extras include plectrums, a branded gig bag, and a strap. The Epiphone Les Paul Player Pack retails well within beginner range for many types of playing style.
- Guitar ships ready to play out of the box
- All-inclusive package provides a friendly learning curve for beginners.
- Included gig bag has pockets for peripherals
- Stock tuning gear is accurate and easy to use
- Good value for money
Best Electric Guitars for the Money Conclusion
So, have you found an electric guitar you like? Good. If not, there should be at least one or two that comes close. You might want to re-examine your criteria and go through the list once more. At times, the best electric guitars needn’t be one that ticks all your boxes. A unit that meets most of your needs without too many compromises will be fine.
Whatever you end up choosing, be sure to try it out before buying. There’s nothing wrong with reading online guitar reviews of best electric guitars on the market, but only a test-drive can help you determine whether a particular guitar is right for you. Most music shops will be more than happy to offer you the chance.
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