I know that choosing the right electric guitar can be overwhelming, especially if you are a beginner. There are so many guitar brands, types, shapes, sizes, magnets, and materials, that sometimes this may seem too complicated.

Although I play guitar for 20 years, believe me, I remember that feeling. I know how it feels when you finally decide to start playing and then realize that, at the very beginning, you are faced with a huge problem - how to choose the right guitar. This can totally demotivate some people, so they simply give up on their dream. They think: “If it is so complicated to just start playing, I can imagine how hard it will be to actually play the guitar and practice!”

However, this is not as complicated as it may seem. Like every other problem, this one should be decomposed and analyzed, and that is exactly what we are going to do. In this text, I will help you to understand every aspect of the electric guitar. After reading this, you’ll have all of the information you need in order to choose the best beginner electric guitar

Top 10 Electric Guitars for Beginners

Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric guitar

Fender Standard Stratocaster Best Beginner Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Alder
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: Three Fender single-coils

All of you have probably heard of Fender. It is, along with Gibson, the best-known guitar brand. Here we have one example that can be interesting not just for beginners, but also for advanced players and even professionals.

One detail probably caught your eye. The fact that this guitar costs $600 is not the best news for your finance, but believe me, there are good reasons for this price.

First of all, there are different colors available: black, sunburst, blue, cherry burst, white, and red.

Fender C-shaped neck is known for its smoothness. You can’t find a guitar that is as easy to play as Fender. Its satin finish on the neck also contributes to this easiness of playing. Besides that, this guitar comes with .009 gauge strings, which is really thin. For advanced players, .009 strings feel almost like cobweb! However, for beginners and their gentle fingertips, this is an excellent choice.

This guitar sounds amazing. It is almost indistinguishable from the original Fender made in America, especially for beginner’s ears (this one is from Mexico). It has everything you would expect from the Fender.

Although this Strat is made in Mexico, it has the same tuners as the guitar made in America. Both of these are made by Schaller, so the tuning is stable.

Also, this model has a tremolo bridge, so this opens a whole list of possibilities!

This is truly a great guitar, way above the beginner’s level. If you have $600 to spend on the guitar, this is definitely the best starter electric guitar for you!

Pros

  • Excellent sound
  • Excellent hardware
  • Very easy to play, best guitar to learn on.

Cons

  • Higher price

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Plus

Fender Modern Player Tele Plus Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Pine
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: Humbucker (bridge), Strat Pickup (middle) and Single Coil (neck)

Another Fender on our list. This time, it is a Telecaster.

This guitar is a real beauty. You can choose between honey burst, charcoal transparent, and black. Although I usually have a favorite finish, this time I honestly can’t choose which one I like the most.

You might think that, like the previous Fender, this one is also too expensive. However, the truth is that this is actually a very low price for original Telecaster (one of the most affordable actually).

Its body represents a kind of mixture of the Telecaster and Stratocaster. It has a standard Telecaster body shape, but there is a Strat-like couture on the back of the body.

The cool thing about this guitar is that it has a humbucker in the bridge position. This basically means that you can play literary every music genre with this guitar, everything from jazz to metal! Not just that, but the fact that there is a split coil option gives you even more possibilities. So, when it comes to magnets, you can choose between 7 different sounds.

This guitar has a recognizable Telecaster sound - its tone is full, rich, and bright. Besides that, it leaves you a possibility of numerous tone variations.

Like any other Fender, this one is also extremely easy to play. The guitar is relatively light and its neck is smooth with a low action (which is perfect for beginner’s hands).

A perfect guitar for beginners as well as for intermediate players. I really can’t say one negative thing about this guitar.

Pros

  • Excellent sound with a lot of possibilities
  • Excellent hardware
  • Very easy to play

Cons

  • Higher price

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Alder
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: two single coils (neck and middle) and alnico humbucker (bridge)

I know that a lot of you guys associate Yamaha with acoustic guitars. However, this manufacturer also makes great electric guitars.

This guitar is available in a variety of colors: lake blue, sonic blue, black, metallic red, red raspberry, old violin sunburst, natural, silver, white, tobacco sunburst and yellow natural. So, all of the colors you can imagine!

This guitar looks similar to the Stratocaster. Not just that it has almost identical body shape, but there are also other similarities.

This guitar gives you a whole variety of sounds. It has two single coils and one humbucker, which means that you can play basically anything with this guitar. Also, you can “split” the humbucker with push/pull coil-split option, so you can get that Strat-like sound.

These magnets are great - they have very bright and clean sound. Also, they handle heavy distortion very well.

Good news for beginners is that this guitar is also easy to play. It has smaller fret radius, which makes this guitar perfect for inexperienced and younger players.

Although there is a whammy bar, the problem is that the bridge is too tight to the body, so you can’t get much from its vibrato effect.

This is a good choice for any beginner. A very Strat-like guitar, with a good sound (both clean and drive) and decent hardware. Although the bridge is too tight to the body (so you can’t get the best of its tremolo), this flaw can be modified.

Pros

  • Good sound
  • Easy to play
  • Decent hardware

Cons

  • No additional equipment
  • The bridge is too tight to the body

Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50's Telecaster Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: four-piece pine
  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: 2 alnico single-coil

Many guitarists say that Squier guitars are underestimated; although they are not “the real” Fender, these guitars are more than usable. This Squier Telecaster is not an exception.

I have to say that the tone of this guitar exceeded my expectations - it sounds great, almost indistinguishable from the original Fender. However, I did notice one thing. When you tune up the amplifier and add overdrive, you can hear a little hum when you’re not playing.

The great thing about thing guitar is that you can use it for all kinds of genres. The combination of single-coil magnets and massive body allows you to play anything from blues to heavy rock.

Its body is not painted, so you can actually see the wood. This is a good thing because you can analyze its quality. I’ve looked it in details and, honestly, didn’t find any shortcomings. The body is put together very nicely.

However, I have one critique when it comes to the bridge - two strings are attached to one saddle (usually, every string has its own saddle). This means that you can’t intonate each string individually.

All of this taken into account, this Square is one of the best beginner guitars.

An excellent guitar that you can get at a very low price. It sounds great and looks great. The only complaint relates to the hum and the saddles, which is not a big deal. Besides that, there are various ways to overcome the problem of the hum.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Great sound
  • Excellent hardware

Cons

  • The presence of hum
  • Saddle solution

Epiphone Les Paul Special-II LTD Package

Epiphone Les Paul SPECIAL-II Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Mahogany
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Mahogany
  • Magnets: Humbucker 700T, humbucker 650R

This is the first Epiphone on our list. In simple terms, Epiphone represents a cheap version of Gibson.

Ok, the first thing that I want to mention is that this guitar comes with a complete package. In this package, you have literary everything you need to start playing. Besides guitar, you will also get a 10-watt amplifier, strap, picks, cable, gig bag, clip-on chromatic tuner, and online lessons! So, there are no additional expenditures.

Unlike the previous guitars, this one has no single coil magnet. Although guitars with two humbuckers usually don’t have the best clean tone, they are an excellent choice if you are into rock, metal, or blues.

The overall sound is more than usable; however, it can get a little “fizzy”, which is expected for a guitar in this price range. You can’t really expect to sound like Slash! The important thing to mention is that the beginner’s ear won’t really tell the difference between this guitar and guitar in much higher price range; this is why I always recommend my students to get a cheaper guitar.

It has a shorter scale length (24.75”), so the strings are slightly looser. This characteristic in the combination with the smooth and fast neck makes this guitar very playable.

I honestly recommend this guitar to every beginner with the preference towards a heavier sound. It is very playable; it has a decent sound and usable hardware. The fact that it comes with a package is a huge advantage, as you don’t have to think about the other needed elements.

Pros

  • Good hardware
  • Playable
  • Comes with the package

Cons

  • Compromised clean sound

Yamaha Gigmaker EG

Yamaha Gigmaker EG Electric Guitar Pack

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Basswood
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: two single coils (neck and middle) and alnico humbucker (bridge)

This is the second Yamaha on our list. Although these two are very similar, they do defer in several characteristics.

This guitar comes in 4 colors - black, red, blue, and old violin sunburst.    

It has two single coil pickups and a humbucker. This is a great combination, as you can have both warm, mellow, and bright clean tone and heavy and aggressive sound. It has five-way pickup selector switch and master and volume control, so you can choose between different combinations. I’ll be honest with you - this isn’t really the top quality sound, but there are no major flaws (such as hum, buzz, etc.). For this amount of money, it is indeed a great deal!

The guitar is fairly playable; it’s not exactly as smooth as Fender, but you won’t have a hard time while trying to play chords or solos. 

The great thing is the tremolo bridge with a whammy bar. Although this whammy bar is very interesting and you can do some cool stuff with it, you shouldn’t really test its limits! By doing this, you can damage the bridge and also detune your guitar.

Probably the best thing about this guitar is that you will also get all of the necessary things with it - a 15-watt Yamaha amp, cable, strap, picks, tuner, and DVD lessons. This amp is indeed small; however, it is more than good enough for practicing purpose.

This is a good guitar that you can get at a very low price. Besides that, you’ll also get a package with all accessories needed, so you don’t need to buy anything else!  

Pros

  • Good hardware
  • Playable
  • Comes with the package
  • Very low price

Cons

  • For this price, no crucial disadvantages

Squier Affinity Telecaster

Squier by Fender Affinity Telecaster Beginner Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Alder
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: two single coils

Ok, now we are entering the extremely low price range. This is the second Squier Telecaster on our list. Besides being a lot cheaper than the previous one, there are also a few other differences.

As many other guitars on our list, this one also come in different colors: arctic white, butterscotch blonde, black, lake placid blue, metallic red, 2-color sunburst, and metal gray.

As you can see, this Squier has the same body and neck material as the first Stratocaster on our list. This can indicate that this guitar is a very good copy.

The guitar sound is decent. It is not as bright and transparent as a real Fender, but honestly, if you are a beginner, this is will do the job.

Have in mind that this guitar has two single coil pickups, so if you add too much drive to it, you will probably get a hum problem. So, if you plan to play heavy metal, you might consider choosing another guitar. However, this guitar is perfect for all of the other music genres, such as blues, rock, funk…

The neck is almost identical to the Fender. It is smooth, comfortable, and playable.

It would be a good idea to do a setup on this guitar before you start playing it. In some cases, the action is not the best, and also, the knobs and switch are a little loose.

A very good beginner guitar. First of all, it is very cheap. It has a good sound and a decent hardware. One of the most important pieces of information for beginners is that it is playable. It has a few minor physical flaws, but these can be easily fixed.

Pros

  • Decent sound
  • Playable
  • Very low price

Cons

  • A few smaller physical shortcomings

Jackson JS22 Dinky

Jackson JS22 Dinky

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Basswood
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: Two Jackson high output humbuckers

All right all of you metalheads, this is one for you! Jackson guitars are best known for their use in metal music and other heavier genres. Let’s check out this one.

There are three different versions of this guitar: white, metallic blue, satin black, and gloss black.

As I’ve mentioned, this guitar is intended for a heavy sound, so you shouldn’t expect a lot from its clean tone. Like any other guitar with humbuckers, it can’t really produce that warm clean sound. However, it is not too bad. If you have a chorus pedal or delay, its clean will sound very good.

When you add distortion, the guitar really comes to light. These humbuckers are doing a really good job - the guitars sound powerful and heavy.  

The thing that surprised me is how comfortable this guitar is. It has a thin and a very comfortable neck, so it is very easy to play.

When I put the strap on, I realized that the guitar body is basically weightless. It amazed me how easy it is to play this guitar, and how powerful it sounds.

Of course, if you’re going to play metal, you gotta have whammy bar! Although the tremolo system works fine, there is one problem. I only used it a few times and the guitar was detuned. This is because this guitar doesn’t have lockers at the top of the neck. These small metal blocks are used to press the strings so that they basically can’t be detuned.

Definitely one of the best beginner guitars for metal. It is very cheap, has good sound and good hardware. The fact that it doesn’t have lockers is a shortcoming, but it can be overcome.

Pros

  • Good sound
  • Easy to play
  • Very low price

Cons

  • No lockers - tuning problem

Squier Mini Strat

Squier by Fender Mini Strat Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Fingerboard: Maple
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: Three single coils

This is the only “mini” guitar on our list. If you are looking for a good beginner guitar for kids, this is what you need!

Having in mind that the guitar color is very important for kids, the good news is that this guitar comes in different colors: black, sunburst, red, blue, pink, and white. So, both boys and girls can find their favorite color!

Also, you’ll receive a whole package with it!

This guitar has a 3/4-size body and a 22.75” scale length, so it is a perfect beginner electric guitar for children.

It is exactly what its name says - a mini Squier. There are many guitars that are not really authentic replicas of their original models, which is definitely not the case with this one. It is literary a smaller version of a Squier Stratocaster, as it has all of its components.

Having this in mind, I wasn’t surprised when I heard its tone. It sounds very similar to the regular Stratocaster!

When it comes to playing, this is a real heaven - it has a low action and comfortable neck. The best thing is that, due to its short scale, the strings are loose, which makes this guitar extremely easy to play. However, this might cause some tuning problems. Of course, this can be overcome by putting heavier gauge of strings.

The fact that this is an excellent Squier replica is very important for young students. Having in mind their smaller hands and body, this guitar will suit them exactly like the regular-size guitar will when they grow up.

Pros

  • Decent sound
  • Very easy to play
  • Very low price

Cons

  • Tuning issues

C-1 SGR by Schecter

C-1 SGR by Schecter Beginner Electric Guitar

Feature

Hardware

Sound

Price

Features:

  • Body: Basswood
  • Fingerboard: Rosewood
  • Neck: Maple
  • Magnets: Two Schecter diamond plus

If you want to buy an electric guitar, but you are short with money, this is exactly what you need. This electric guitar is ridiculously cheap!

Having in mind the price as low as this, I have to admit that I was surprised by the guitar appearance. It looks elegant and more expensive than it is. You can choose between blue, black, and walnut satin finish.

It has a quite comfortable neck and it feels fine when you play it. Of course, this is in the context of its price; don’t expect a Fender Stratocaster comfort!

The sound is not really the best one. Although its pickups are pretty powerful, they don’t provide a bright tone.

Since this guitar has two humbuckers, it is obvious that it is predominantly intended for people that plan to play metal music. Of course, if you want to play metal, you’ll need a lot of drive and distortion. This is where a problem comes up. When you add to much drive to it, the guitar starts to hum. In the most cases, this means that the magnets are not of the best quality. Of course, you can always play it with a medium amount of drive, but in that case, you can’t play really heavy stuff.

Another disadvantage that I’ve noticed is that the guitar tuning is not very stable. If you rock too hard, you probably have to retune the guitar.

Considering its low price, this is a very good guitar. It has a few flaws, but these can be overcome with a smaller investment.

Pros

  • Great looks
  • Comfortable
  • Very low price

Cons

  • Tuning issues
  • The presence of hum

Why should you start with the electric guitar?

You’ve probably heard that, as a beginner, you should start with the acoustic guitar. However, this is not necessarily the truth. Although there are some advantages of the acoustic guitar, the electric one is also a valid choice for a novice. There are actually very good reasons why some students chose to start with the electric guitar.

First of all, they are simply not interested in the acoustic guitar. They have every right when they ask me: “Why should I first learn to play the acoustic guitar and only then switch to the electric when all I want to do is to play the electric guitar?” This is a valid argument. If you really plan to play the electric guitar, then you should indeed play it from the very start.

A huge advantage of the electric guitar is that it is much easier to play than the acoustic guitar. The electric guitar has a lower action than the acoustic guitar. This means that you don’t have to put a lot of pressure on the string in order to play it. If the guitar has a lighter string (for example, .009) you can literary just touch the string and play a note. This is especially important for beginners, as their fingertips are very gentle. Some even argue that this is the main reason why you should start with the electric guitar. After you strengthen your fingers and your fingertips became more solid then you can switch to the acoustic guitar.

Another thing that you should consider is the music genre that you are into. If you enjoy metal music and want to play fast solos, then the electric guitar is a natural choice for you. You can never play as fast on the acoustic guitar as you can do on the electric one. Besides that, the majority of solos are played with higher notes, and higher frets are much easier to reach on the electric guitar.

An additional advantage of the electric guitar is the fact that everything that you can play on the acoustic guitar, you can also play on the electric (all of the chords, the strumming, the riffs, etc.). However, there are a lot of techniques that you can’t play on the acoustic guitar, such as dive-bombs or pinch harmonics (in order to play pinch harmonics, you’ll need a good amount of distortion). Other techniques can be played on the acoustic guitar (for example, tapping) but are much easier to play on the electric guitar.

If you are a fan of the effects pedals, you have one more reason to choose the electric guitar. Although you can use some of the effects on the acoustic guitars as well, it can never be as effective as in the case of the electric guitars. There is a whole list of effects that can make your sound more interesting: wah, whammy, octaver, distortion, phaser, flanger, tremolo…

Guide to choose Beginner Electric guitar

Trying to answer the question “What is the best beginner electric guitar?” is not an easy one, simply due to the fact that there are many factors that should be taken into account. The electric guitar is a pretty complex device, so you should be well informed before you go to a store to choose your good first electric guitar.

The main feature of an electric guitar is that you’ll need an amplifier if you want to play it. This is the common characteristic for all of the electric guitar. This is why they are called electric - you need electricity in order to play.

Of course, you can strum the guitar without connecting it to an amplifier. However, this kind of sound is very poor; you can barely hear it. It is impossible to play along with a song or your practicing buddy - you simply won’t hear your guitar. This is why all electric guitars have input jack; a place where you input your cable and connect it to the amplifier. On some low-price electric guitar, this input jack can be very loose. However, you shouldn’t worry too much about this, because this can be easily tightened. 

1. Body type

There are three main types of electric guitars depending on their body type: solid body, semi-hollow, and hollow body.

Electric guitars with a solid body are the most popular ones; if you ever hold an electric guitar, it probably had a solid body. What does this mean? It means that the guitar body is made of the solid wood. This is why these guitars are pretty heavy.

Solid Body Electric Guitar

Solid Body Electric Guitar

Due to its solid body, these guitars have more sustain than semi-hollow or hollow ones. If a guitar has a lot of sustain, it means that it can hold a note for a long time. For example, if you play a chord on a guitar with a lot of sustain, it will “ring” longer than on a guitar with a little sustain. Of course, the level of sustain depends on other things as well, but the guitar body is one of the most important factors.

Another thing that solid body provides is better resistance to feedback. The feedback is that noise that you hear when the amplifier is too loud or there is too much distortion. So, when you play a tone and hold it, you’ll get a very high, irritating sound, and it will be there as long as you hold that note.

Some guitarist like the sound of feedback, but the problem is when you have a lot of gain or distortion (for example, in metal genre); in this case, you’ll probably get a ton of feedback. For this reason, the guitar with a solid body is definitely the best beginner metal guitar you’ll get.

Semi-hollow body guitars have a whole on the top of their body (usually in the form of a letter f). These guitars are most commonly used for blues or jazz. Some guitarists also play rock music with these guitars. However, an important thing to remember is that the level of distortion mustn’t be too high; otherwise, you can expect a lot of feedback. So, if you are looking for a great beginner blues guitar, you can check these semi-hollow guitars.

Semi-hollow Body Electric Guitar

Semi-hollow Body Electric Guitar

Electric guitars with hollow body have a sound that is similar to acoustic. These are almost exclusively used by jazz guitarist.

Hollow Body Electric Guitar

Hollow Body Electric Guitar

2. Type of wood

Different guitar players prefer different types of wood. Every wood has its own characteristics and is good for a certain purpose.

Alder is one of the most popular wood types (Fender uses this wood for their guitar bodies). The guitars made of alder usually provide a very warm sound.

Mahogany is also a well-known type of wood. It is used by another great guitar company - Gibson. It gives you that balanced and rich tone.

Maple is often used for neck, although there are some guitars with a maple body. This material is great because guitars made of it have a lot of sustain.

Another common type of wood is rosewood. The majority of guitars have a rosewood fretboard. This is also a great choice.

Electric Guitar Tonewoods

Electric Guitar Tonewoods | Source: djenthub.com

3. Magnets (Pickups)

An important element of the electric guitar is the magnet. Since these guitars don’t have a resonant body, the string vibration has to be picked up and amplified in another way. This is the magnet’s job. It picks up the string vibration and transfers it into an electric signal. This is why we also call them pickups. Needless to say, the magnets have a great influence on guitar’s sound. Learning about the magnets will definitely help you to find the best beginner electric guitar. There are usually between one and three magnets on a guitar.

Depending on the magnet type, we can classify guitars into three groups: single-coil, humbucker, and P90.

Single-coil pickups are the smallest ones (they are narrower than the other models). These magnets have bright and crisp sound and lower output than humbuckers. A lot of famous players use these magnets, such as Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, John Frusciante…

If you take two single-coil magnets and combine them into one, you would get a humbucker. This is why humbuckers are wider and more aggressive than single-coil magnets. They are also great at eliminating hum (this is why they are called humbuckers). Due to their powerful sound, a lot of rock and metal guitarists use them (Slash, James Hetfield, Jimmy Page…).

Somewhere in between these two are P90 magnets. They have higher output than single-coil but are not as high as humbuckers. They have a very bright sound. You can easily recognize these magnets by the metal dots on top of them.

Besides this, there is one more important distinction between the magnets. They can be active and passive. Active pickups have higher output and clearer tone, and besides that, can contain equalizer and filters. However, the majority of guitars have passive magnets.

Conclusion

As you could see, when it comes to electric guitars, there are virtually endless possibilities. Some of my students are intimidated by these overwhelming choice options. They think that, because of this, it is hard to choose the right guitar. Of course, it is completely the other way around; precisely because of these possibilities, you can choose the right guitar.

In this post, we have covered basically all you need to know about the electric guitar. We talked about the advantages of starting with the electric guitar, the body shapes, the materials of which the guitars are made, and the types of magnets. These are the most important elements of every electric guitar. Of course, there are other elements as well, but we won’t go into details now; for the start, this is everything you need to know.

After that, we listed 10 best electric guitars for beginners. There is something for everybody - very cheap guitars, guitars with a higher price (but also better quality), guitars for blues, rock, metal… Whatever you are looking for in the electric guitar, you’ll find it in one of these.

When it comes to choosing the right electric guitar, you should always have in mind your music preference. Acoustic guitars are very similar, so you can basically play everything you want with every guitar. Unfortunately, this is not true for the electric guitars. You can never play metal with the semi-hollow guitar. On the other hand, playing funk with two humbuckers probably won’t sound right. So, set your music priorities. The other option is to get a guitar that you can use for different music genres (for example, the second Fender on our list, with one humbucker and two single-coil magnets).

Just one more thing. If it ever gets tough (and it probably will), remember this Hendrix’s quote: “Sometimes you want to give up the guitar, you'll hate the guitar. But if you stick with it, you're gonna be rewarded.”