10 Best Electric Guitars | March 2017

We spent 34 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you want to become a real guitar hero, you'll need the right axe. Our selection of electric guitars includes something for everyone, from the beginner to the professional to the collector of fine musical instruments. Skip to the best electric guitar on Amazon.
10 Best Electric Guitars | March 2017


Overall Rank: 4
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Overall Rank: 1
Best High-End
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 10
Best Inexpensive
★★★
10
The Davison Starter Package includes a guitar, amp, travel case and everything else a beginning guitarist needs to start learning to play. This is a great gift for the youngster or for the adult just playing for fun.
9
The Epiphone Les Paul Junior mimics the style and sound of a genuine Les Paul classic. Its simple, distinctive look has been seen rocking out since the 1950s, and will still look great in the 2050s and beyond.
8
The Squier BulletStrat is a budget version of Fender's most iconic guitar model. Its affordable price and durable design are good for beginners, but this is, in fact, a good enough guitar to serve as a backup for serious musicians.
7
The Jackson Dinky is a classic heavy metal guitar known for its fat tone and distinctive angled headstock. Its dual high-output humbucking pickups get loud and the guitar's pearloid shark fin inlays look great.
  • arch-topped basswood body
  • fast frets good for shredding
  • synchronized fulcrum tremolo bridge
Brand Jackson
Model B00SA907O2
Weight 14.7 pounds
6
The Epiphone ES-399 semi hollow body electric guitar provides the rich ringing tones of a Gibson ES at a fraction of the price. It is smaller than a full-sized ES guitar, so it's good for bringing along to road gigs.
  • nickel plated hardware
  • epiphone probucker pickups
  • push-pull coil tapping
Brand Epiphone
Model ET33VSNH1
Weight 12.2 pounds
5
The Epiphone Les Paul is an affordable alternative to Gibson's signature electric guitar model. It features a rosewood fingerboard and ProBucker pickups, and its flame maple veneer top delivers rich tones purists will celebrate.
  • solid mahogany body and neck
  • limited lifetime warranty
  • available in several colors
Brand Epiphone
Model ENLPHBNH1
Weight 13.5 pounds
4
The Fender Standard Telecaster has been the preferred electric guitar of countless country and rock musicians for more than six decades. Whether you're picking, strumming, or bending your notes, this guitar performs for you.
  • dual single-coil tele pickups
  • smooth and "fast" maple neck
  • 9.5" freeboard radius
Brand Fender
Model 0145102532
Weight 11.2 pounds
3
The Gibson Standard SG is an iconic solid body electric guitar. Manufactured in the USA for generations now, this classic model features a mahogany body and maple neck that would have been right at home in the hands of Buddy Holly.
  • dual '57 classic coil pickups
  • automatic tuning system
  • comes with hardshell case
Brand Gibson USA
Model SG14WNRC1
Weight 18 pounds
2
The Fender Standard Stratocaster is the flagship guitar of one of the world's top guitar makers. And, for the record, you can own the guitar favored by Hendrix and Clapton for less cash than you might expect.
  • 100% american made
  • maple satin-finished neck
  • three classic fender pickups
Brand FSP Group U.S.A.
Model 0113002705
Weight 21.2 pounds
1
The Gibson Les Paul Standard has been the world's most celebrated electric guitar model since the 50s. Better quality doesn't exist in a non-custom-built instrument. Consider the Burst Bucker Pro 1+2 push/pull coil taps, for example.
  • beautiful color gradation
  • available in 5 classic finishes
  • includes solid high-quality case
Brand Gibson USA
Model LPS15H3CH1
Weight 22.4 pounds

Music Becomes Electric

If you've ever stretched out a rubber band and plucked it, you've created the most basic principal behind the guitar.

A guitar's string is where the sound begins, and it's through the deign of the body that the sound is amplified. You can even make your own ridiculously rudimentary acoustic guitar at home, but don't expect to get to Carnegie Hall with it.

Acoustic guitars are designed to enrich this sound by creating a large wooden chamber that catches the vibration of the string, reverberates it and projects it back out.

But most electric guitars don't have any kind of reverberation chamber. They also don't make use of the traditional nylon strings found on classical acoustic guitars.

Instead, electric guitars pair metal strings with magnetic pickups built into the body. We call them pickups because they literally pick up the specific magnetic frequency of the vibrating string and translate that into an electrical current.

That current makes its way to your amplifier where it is translated back into your notes and chords.

You can control the tone of your pickups on most guitars by turning the tone knobs assigned to each pickup. Turn the knob all the way up, and you're using 100% of the pickup's information. As you turn the knob back toward zero, you're cutting off higher frequencies for a bassier, sometimes muddier sound.

There's A Lot To Choose From

There are about as many variances in guitar type out there as there are guitarists.

If you're just getting started, you might not want to drop thousands of dollars on the best of the best. Beginning guitarists likely won't have the touch, skill, or ears to appreciate the differences among higher end guitars anyway, so you won't miss out on much by starting with something made with cheaper wood and rattier pickups.

That said, if you feel inclined to cut right to the top and make an investment in a guitar that you'll never grow out of, go ahead and reach for the stars.

One great thing about nicer guitars: they hold their value tremendously over the years, and at a certain point–if you've taken good care of it–that value can actually go up.

For the seasoned guitarist looking to expand his or her collection, or looking to make that leap toward greater sounds, the questions turn toward your personal playing style and aesthetic.

You'll be able to access better tones for jazz, country, and classic rock from Fender's stock pickups, and chunkier sounds for rock and metal from the humbucking prowess in Gibson's lineup.

Of course, the beautiful thing about guitars is that when you make them your own, your sound becomes uniquely yours. Go shred some hammer-on solos with a telecaster, or play the coolest jazz lines on that SG.

Find yourself in your guitar, and you'll never sound better.

Out Of The Frying Pan

The first guitar to make the intentional leap from acoustic to magnetic electric was the "Frying Pan" in 1931.

By the mid 1930s, the first wooden solid body electric guitars hit the market and began to change the landscape of music forever.

Over the next 30 years, the electric guitar would inform the sounds of jazz, blues, and rock, though not all genres were excited to adopt it.

Rather famously in 1965, Bob Dylan, who traditionally performed alone with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica, took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival backed by an electric band. The reaction was mixed to say the least, but it marked a significant change in the direction of folk music.

These days, guitarists are finding amazing ways to augment their instruments, with the charge toward greater degrees of expression being led by the likes of Matt Bellamy, whose guitars feature everything from built in synthesizers, to auto-detuners, and Korg touchpads.

As the instrument evolves, so too will the music it creates, but among the things that never change are six strings, quality wood, clean pickups, and a little inspiration.



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Last updated: 03/22/2017 | Authorship Information

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