The 35 Best Electric Guitars – Your Guide To A Great Sounding Instrument

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Last Updated: November 19, 2019
As usual we saw a huge change in what’s hot and what’s not in the electric guitar market, so we set about reflecting those changes with new additions to our mega chart. We removed a handful of models that were harder to find, and instead replaced them with new for 2019 models, including the high-end Gibson Les Paul Standard 2019 and Ibanez RG5121.

Two high-end signature models we also added in the EVH Striped Series 5150 and Fender Rory Gallagher Signature Stratocaster, while metal was well represented with inclusions of the Ibanez S Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM, the Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM and the menacing ESP LTD EC-Black Metal.

Elsewhere, we saw several additions of Strats and Teles, including the Fender Modern Player Telecaster, the Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS and the Squier Standard Stratocaster, while two retro Gretsch models arrived – the Gretsch Electromatic G5425 and Gretsch G100CE. Finally, we added some new affordable models with the Jackson JS32 Rhoads, the Ibanez RG421, and the Squier Bullet Mustang HH.

Table Of Contents

Buying an electric guitar is a very personal process, with many things to consider before you make your final choice. It’s not just a case of picking something with a nice color – you are usually parting with a substantial chunk of hard-earned cash, ranging anywhere from $100 to $2000 – or more – for some guitars, and therefore patience is required to find something that really suits you.

Whatever level you’re at and whatever budget you’re on, check out our chart below, where we highlight some of the very best guitars on the market today spanning many levels and price ranges, before more detailed summaries of each instrument.

Top 10 Best Electric Guitars:

Image Electric Guitar / Rating Summary Check Price
+ - Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy

Total of 4.95/5   [usr 4.95 max='5' ]

The top of our chart as it’s one of the best in the world!

+ - Ibanez RG5121 Ibanez RG5121

Total of 4.85/5   [usr 4.85 max='5' ]

Huge quality in design and tone from this premium RG.

+ - Gibson Les Paul Standard 2019 Gibson Les Paul Standard 2019

Total of 4.92/5   [usr 4.92 max='5' ]

One of the most versatile high-end Les Pauls ever made.

+ - EVH Striped Series 5150 EVH Striped Series 5150

Total of 4.78/5   [usr 4.78 max='5' ]

A premium guitar delivering the true EVH experience.

+ - Fender American Special Stratocaster Fender American Special Stratocaster

Total of 4.84/5   [usr 4.84 max='5' ]

A special Stratocaster at an excellent price.

+ - Yamaha RevStar RS420 Yamaha RevStar RS420

Total of 4.88/5   [usr 4.88 max='5' ]

A retro street-racing-inspired beauty with a powerful vintage tone.

+ - Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM

Total of 4.78/5   [usr 4.78 max='5' ]

Versatile midrange beauty with three great pickups.

+ - Ibanez RG450DX Ibanez RG450DX

Total of 4.50/5   [usr 4.50 max='5' ]

A modern rock classic that’s so easy to play.

+ - Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Total of 4.58/5   [usr 4.58 max='5' ]

A solid, reliable and affordable Pacifica from Yamaha.

+ - Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS

Total of 4.72/5   [usr 4.72 max='5' ]

A brilliant affordable Strat for players of all abilities.

Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy

Ernie Ball Music Man John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy

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Topping our list of the best electric guitars is also the model that tops the list of the best expensive guitars – the incredible John Petrucci Majesty Monarchy from Ernie Ball Music Man.

You’ll have to read our full review to fully appreciate the prestige of this premium guitar. It features a build and electronics that meet John Petrucci’s specifications, resulting in a drop-dead gorgeous design, a neck that allows you to play with speed and finesse, and a tone that’s out of this world.

Among many other features, it sports an African mahogany body with a maple top, two insane DiMarzio Sonic Ecstasy humbuckers, extensive controls, and a custom floating tremolo bridge. Even for the huge price tag, it offers good value!

Ibanez RG5121

Ibanez RG5121

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New from Ibanez is the gorgeous RG5121 from the brand’s high-end Prestige Series. This premium metal machine is made in Ibanez’s Japanese facility and the quality on offer is simply outstanding.

The sleek body features a satin-finished dark blue paintjob on the top which nicely contrasts the unpainted solid African mahogany on the back. The five-piece neck is fantastic, with a slim Super Wizard HD profile, Macassar ebony fretboard and 24 jumbo frets all contributing towards a super-fast playing experience.

The electronics come courtesy of Fishman, in the form of two Fluence Modern Humbuckers with switchable voicings allowing for both aggressive active tones and more fluid humbucker sounds. There’s more on this excellent RG5121 in the full review.

Gibson Les Paul Standard 2019

Gibson Les Paul Standard 2019

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There’s no way the Les Paul Standard from Gibson’s 2019 collection could not make this top ten chart. While some of its features have proven a little controversial with some guitarists, it is undoubtedly one of the best ‘off the rack’ electric guitars this year.

As we focus on in the full review of the Les Paul Standard 2019, this gorgeous high-end instrument features the traditional LP design with an ultra-modern weight relief, playability-enhancing asymmetrical neck, and new locking tuners on the headstock.

But the electronics throw up the most interesting additions on this Nashville-made model. This Les Paul is fitted with two BurstBucker Pros with a plethora of tone controls, push/pull coil-tapping and five dip switches for huge versatility.

EVH Striped Series 5150

EVH Striped Series 5150

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Whether you are a diehard Eddie Van Halen fan or simply love a fast-playing rock guitar with a monstrous metal tone, the 5150 from EVH’s Striped Series is a worthwhile consideration.

This high-end model features the legendary striped Frankenstrat design in red, white and black, along with a low-profile maple neck with a hand-rubbed satin finish and comfortable compound radius – which we elaborate on in the main EVH 5150 review.

The hardware is just as impressive, with a single EVH Wolfgang Alnico 2 humbucker and accompanying ‘tone’ (i.e. volume) control. The Floyd Rose bridge and locking nut make whammy play a true pleasure, while the EVH D-Tuna function is another great feature.

Fender American Special Stratocaster

Fender American Special Stratocaster

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A real Fender Stratocaster is arguably the most iconic guitar ever produced – played by everyone from George Harrison to Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix to John Frusciante. And this genuine American Strat is an absolute beauty, as we explain in our full review.

Although you pay a premium, the hardware, electrics and craftsmanship are superb. With the classic double-cutaway shape that spurred hundreds of copies, this guitar features a solid alder body, a bolt-on maple neck, and 22 jumbo frets.

It offers sensational sound quality, with three Texas Special single-coil pickups providing clarity, power, versatility and the classic Strat sparkle. There’s also a vintage-style synchronized tremolo bridge, which is elegant and responsive. Perfect for any style of music, it’s a true classic.

Yamaha RevStar RS420

Yamaha RevStar RS420

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Retro players rejoice! As we mention in the full review of the Yamaha RevStar RS420, this affordable model is a real treat for vintage enthusiasts, as it offers both cool retro looks and a vintage tone to match.

This classic tone is mainly down to the pair of specially-wound VH3 humbuckers, while the Dry Switch offers the addition of hum-free single-coil tone for huge versatility in this guitar. The design is brilliant and looks like something straight out of 1960s London’s motorbike street-racing scene, which is exactly the look Yamaha were going for!

There’s a very comfortable and distinctive double-cutaway body made of nato with a maple top, finished in a range of snazzy retro color choices. Awesome!

Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM

Charvel Pro-Mod DK24 HSH 2PT CM

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One of our favorite electric guitars that absolutely rocks the house down – but doesn’t cost the earth – is this awesome DK24 HSH 2PT CM from Charvel. It sports a simple design, killer playability and a big, versatile sound.

This is largely due to the trio of Seymour Duncan pickups, including a searing hot Full Shred SH-10B at the bridge and an overwound Custom Flat Strat single-coil in the middle, providing everything from beefy metal tones to sparkly Strat-style sounds.

As featured in the full breakdown of this impressive Pro-Mod DK24, the solid alder body comes in a choice of two cool finishes, both with a silky-smooth two-piece caramelized maple neck. A great choice for the keen stage performer.

Ibanez RG450DX

Ibanez RG450DX

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A real hall-of-famer from Ibanez, which displays true rock style and lightning-fast playability in an affordable beginner-friendly package. With the classic Superstrat body in a range of colors, this RG is made of solid basswood and features a slick, thin Wizard III maple neck, with rosewood fretboard and 24 jumbo frets, making it superb for chugging powerchords and fast soloing.

Its loaded with a trio of Ibanez Quantum pickups – two passive humbuckers at the bridge and neck, with a single-coil in the middle, giving a huge rock tone, with bags of versatility.

It also sports a good Edge-Zero II bridge and locking nut for increased tuning stability. Make sure to check out our full review of the RG450DX for all the details.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC112V

[usrlist "Body And Neck:4.2" "Electronics:4.8" "Hardware:4.5" "Sound:4.4" "Value:5" avg='false' max='5' ]

Any guitar from Yamaha’s Pacifica series always earns its place on any comparison list because of the quality, playability and wallet-friendly price on offer. And while the Pacifica 112V offers great value, it’s far from an entry-level guitar – with a real premium feel to it.

Featuring a well-contoured double-cutaway shape, the 112V has a solid alder body, a comfortable bolt-on maple neck, rosewood fretboard, and 22 frets. It offers plenty in the sound department, with three Yamaha-designed Alnico V pickups, comprising a humbucker and two single-coils.

With volume and tone controls, a five-way pickup selector switch, and coil-tapping on the master tone control, there’s more than enough versatility and tone for any guitarist! We discuss this guitar in more detail in our full review.

Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS

Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS

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One of the cheapest models on this top ten list is this Strat from Squier’s Affinity Series, which proves an excellent choice for beginners through to intermediate players looking for a bargain.

What’s on offer is very strong for under two hundred bucks. Showing off the legendary Stratocaster design, the body is made from alder with several eye-catching finishes to choose from, along with the large ‘60s-style headstock.

Electronics are simple but solid, with the classic setup of three single-coil pickups, two tone knobs and a master volume control. It all combines to offer a guitar that plays well and sounds good for everything from jazz to classic rock. You can read more on the Squier Affinity Stratocaster SSS here.

Guitars For Beginners:

Fender Modern Player Telecaster

Fender Modern Player Telecaster

[usrlist "Body And Neck:4.8" "Electronics:4.8" "Hardware:4.7" "Sound:4.7" "Value:4.8" avg='false' max='5' ]

The Modern Player Telecaster from Fender truly lives up to its name, offering modern upgrades that make for a great guitar for beginners as well as experienced guitarists.

The design is still very much rooted in the 1950s, with a classic Tele body made of pine, the iconic headstock, and a C-shaped maple neck. Comfort and playability are top notch, as is the craftsmanship. It’s the pickup selection where this Tele really breaks the mold, as we highlight in the full review of the Modern Player Telecaster.

Here you find a versatile setup featuring a Telecaster single-coil at the neck, a Stratocaster single-coil in the middle, and a humbucker at the bridge, allowing you to play everything from country to modern rock.

Gretsch Electromatic G5425

Gretsch Electromatic G5425

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Another worthwhile contender for a beginner’s shortlist is the G5425 from Gretsch, proving you don’t have to learn on a Tele, Strat or Les Paul-style guitar. This affordable model really oozes vintage appeal, with a classic retro design, neoclassical thumbnail inlays, and pearloid pickguard.

Underneath it’s a very strong choice, with a lightweight chambered basswood body and a comfortable bolt-on maple neck, which features a rosewood fretboard and 22 medium jumbo frets.

It plays very well and sounds pretty good too, with a pair of dual-coil humbuckers designed to look like the old-style Filter’Trons. The fixed Adjusto-Matic bridge is great for beginners as it helps keep tuning stable. Check out the full review of the Gretsch G5425 for all the details.

Squier Affinity Jazzmaster HH

Squier Affinity Jazzmaster HH

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Squier has hit the nail on the head here by taking the fantastic beginner-friendly playability of the Jazzmaster and removing the complicated electronics, to deliver a simple, fun to play and affordable guitar.

It also looks great too, with the relaxed solid alder Jazzmaster/Jaguar body finished in white, with a vintage ͚68 Stratocaster headstock topping it off. The bolt-on maple neck is great, with a scale length of 25.5”, a rosewood fretboard and 22 frets.

Jazzmaster purists won͛t be impressed with the electronics but for beginners it͛s a godsend, with two stock Squier humbuckers and simple volume and tone controls, leading to a solid tone for everything from blues to metal with minimal fuss. There͛s more on the Affinity Jazzmaster HH in the full review.

Under $1000:

Fender American Special Telecaster

Fender American Special Telecaster

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For vintage sound and style, with no need to overspend, look no further than Fender’s American Special Telecaster. This beautiful guitar – reviewed in full here – features a range of style points all reminiscent of historic Teles, including the iconic a single-cutaway alder body and classic Tele headstock with 70’s logo.

There’s a smooth bolt-on maple neck with maple fretboard, and 22 jumbo frets for easy string bending. It’s a joy to hold and play, and sounds great with two passive Fender-designed Texas Special single-coil pickups at the neck and the bridge.

You’ll have no trouble producing a wide range of modern and retro tones, while the 60 cycle hum canceling feature (when using both pickups together) allows for noise-free playing. Definitely one of the best guitars in the under $1000 guitars range.

Ibanez Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM

Ibanez Series Iron Label SIX6FDFM

[usrlist "Body And Neck:4.8" "Hardware:4.7" "Sound:4.7" "Value:4.8" avg='false' max='5' ]

Another good choice in the under $1,000 category is this beautiful SIX6FDFM, which is part of Ibanez’s Iron Label collection – a series built specifically for metal. It features a sleek, curvy S Series body made from solid mahogany and flamed maple, all with a striking Blue Space Burst finish.

The three-piece maple/bubinga neck is a pleasure to use, with Ibanez’s slim Nitro Wizard profile and 24 jumbo frets to allow for easy string bending and fast maneuverability. This is outlined in the full review of the Iron Label SIX6FDFM.

The hardware screams metal too, especially in the electronics department. This axe features two DiMarzio Fusion Edge humbuckers that deliver a punchy, powerful tone that’s perfect for modern rock.

Under $500:

Yamaha RevStar RS420

Yamaha RevStar RS420

[usrlist "Body And Neck:4.9" "Hardware:4.8" "Sound:4.8" "Value:5.0" avg='false' max='5' ]

Retro players rejoice! As we mention in the full review of the Yamaha RevStar RS420, this affordable model is a real treat for vintage enthusiasts, as it offers both cool retro looks and a vintage tone to match.

This classic tone is mainly down to the pair of specially-wound VH3 humbuckers, while the Dry Switch offers the addition of hum-free single-coil tone for huge versatility in this guitar. The design is brilliant and looks like something straight out of 1960s London’s motorbike street-racing scene, which is exactly the look Yamaha were going for!

There’s a very comfortable and distinctive double-cutaway body made of nato with a maple top, finished in a range of snazzy retro color choices. Awesome!

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster

Squier by Fender Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster

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If the sixties aren’t vintage enough for you, what about the 1950s? If so, this fifties-inspired beauty from Fender’s cheaper little brother Squier may be exactly what you’re after.

It features the timeless Telecaster body, made of solid pine with a C-shaped maple neck and a 21-fret maple fretboard. With several retro color choices, it looks the part and certainly plays very well.

Hardware is also commendable, while it is loaded with two custom vintage-style single-coil Tele pickups, which do the job of producing a distinctly vintage tone with all the Tele twang you could ask for at this price! You can read more on the Classic Vibe 50’s Telecaster in the full review.

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

Epiphone Les Paul Standard

[usrlist "Body And Neck:4.5" "Electronics:4.5" "Hardware:4.5" "Sound:4.8" "Value:4.9" avg='false' max='5' ]

Under $300:

Jackson JS32 Rhoads

Jackson JS32 Rhoads

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Owning an authentic Jackson Rhoads is now easy when the JS32 costs under $300! This edgy guitar sports the same legendary arrow design and blade headstock of higher-end Rhoads models, with a body made from basswood.

There’s a very fast bolt-on maple neck, featuring 24 frets and the distinctive shark fin inlays running up the rosewood fretboard. With killer looks and playability, the JS32 also sports two Jackson-designed high-output ceramic humbuckers in the bridge and neck position.

As mentioned in the full JS32 review, even though these are pretty basic, the tone is anything but, with great power for heavier styles of music, while the double-locking tremolo bridge is another fine addition.

Ibanez RG421

Ibanez RG421

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With the RG421, Ibanez proves you don’t have to spend a fortune to land yourself with an awesome guitar for heavy rock and metal. While it’s several rungs lower than anything you’d find in the premium market, it features some surprisingly great parts.

One of these is the low-profile Wizard III neck, which is always a joy to play and often seen on RGs in much higher price categories. The body is well built too, sporting the comfortable double-cutaway RG shape made from solid basswood.

This guitar is fitted with a pair of Ibanez-designed high-output Quantum humbuckers, which cope very well with blues, rock and modern metal. Check out the full review of the Ibanez RG421 for all the details.

Squier Standard Stratocaster

Squier Standard Stratocaster

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There are a lot of budget Squier Strats on the market, although the Standard Stratocaster is our pick of the bunch in the sub-$300 market. Be sure to read our full opinion on this Strat.

In brief, it delivers style, comfort and great playability. The Standard Stratocaster is made from solid basswood with several eye-catching finishes, as well as some nice details such as the ‘skunk stripe’ on the rear of the maple neck and the large ‘60s style headstock.

As for hardware, you’ll find three single-coil pickups, standard volume and tone controls, and a straightforward tremolo bridge. All in all, a versatile Strat that feels a real step above the entry level models.

Under $200:

Schecter C-1 SGR

Schecter C-1 SGR

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This is undoubtedly one of the top budget electric guitars out there! While it’s a step down from some of Schecter’s higher-end models of a similar design, the C-1 SGR sports the style, playability and tone that makes the American brand so well-respected in the world of rock and metal.

As we highlight in the full review of the C-1 SGR, this gorgeous guitar features a sleek gothic-inspired design, with a double-cutaway body made of solid basswood and a slender 24-fret maple neck.

For such a cheap guitar, the attractive decoration is very surprising, while the electronics and hardware are also decent at this price range – there are two SGR humbuckers, a set of sealed tuners, and a fixed tune-o-matic bridge.

Squier Bullet Mustang HH

Squier Bullet Mustang HH

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Whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced player searching for an easy-playing and affordable electric guitar, they don’t come as easy-playing or affordable as this Mustang HH from Squier’s entry-level Bullet Series!

It features the small-hand friendly 24” scale length, with a relaxed offset double-cutaway body made from a lightweight basswood. There’s also a satin-finished C-shaped maple neck featuring 22 easily-accessible medium jumbo frets.

After a bit of a setup, this budget axe plays like a dream – as we say in the main review of the Bullet Mustang. Throw in two versatile humbuckers and some basic but functional hardware, and you find yourself with a very decent guitar for under $200.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

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The 012 is a cheaper alternative in the Pacifica series when compared to the 112V (as featured above), but it still offers great style, playability and value, as you’d expect from Yamaha.

The 012, as we highlight in our full review, features a comfortable double-cutaway body, made from solid agathis, with a sturdy bolt-on maple neck, and rosewood fretboard with 22 frets. There’s a lot of versatility in sound and tone control, making it perfect for experimenting with.

Two single-coil pickups and humbucker give the guitar its power, while a five-way pickup selector switch allows you to choose between them. You’ll also find a vintage-style tremolo bridge and accompanying whammy bar for vibrato effects. A quality entry-level guitar with a name you can trust.

Expensive Guitars:

Fender Rory Gallagher Signature Stratocaster

Fender Rory Gallagher Signature Stratocaster

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Most guitarists won’t need an introduction to the legendary Irish blues player Rory Gallagher or his trusty Fender Strat, which saw a lot of love and abuse in it time. While the original may not be for sale, this incredibly detailed replica is.

With a very high-end price tag, this solid alder Strat is a masterpiece, with painstaking aging on the body, neck and hardware. The attention to detail on areas such as the tuning machines and dot inlays really hammer home how long Fender took to create this beauty.

The full Rory Gallagher Signature Strat review has a more in-depth look at these details, as well as the quality electronics, superior playability and gorgeous bluesy tone.

Godin LGXT 3-Voice Solid Body

Godin LGXT 3-Voice Solid Body

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Look at it this way: a professional artist could go out and buy three mid-range guitars capable of producing every sound imaginable – or they could just buy the Godin LGXT 3-Voice Solid Body, whichis essentially three guitars rolled into one.

While we go into more detail in the full review of this high-end performer, it comes loaded with two Seymour Duncan custom humbuckers, a bridge transducer pickup and output for a synth – allowing for electric and acoustic guitar tones, with fast guitar synth tracking.

This versatile guitar looks unique and feels lovely to play, with a 22-fret mahogany neck and an attractive body made of two maple varieties. Whatever output you choose, the LGXT 3-Voice delivers a very high-quality sound with endless tonal scope.

Dean MAB1 Speed of Light

Dean MAB1 Speed of Light

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Michael Angelo Batio is an absolute metal legend for his blistering melodic solos that earn him the title of the fastest electric guitarist in the world. So, who could turn down his sensational high-end guitar, the MAB1 Speed of Light from Dean.

With a nicely contoured solid alder ͚Batio͛ body shape, the MAB1 features an outstanding design with a custom multi-colored Speed of Light graphic and incredible playability, with an ultra-slim 24-fret maple neck built to MAB͛s specifications.

Looks aside, it͛s a top performer in the tone department too, fitted with three solid EMG active pickups to deliver the powerful but articulate sound the jaw-dropping shredder is known for. Check out the full MAB1 review for all the details!

Hollow Guitars:

Godin 5th Avenue CW(Kingpin II)

Godin 5th Avenue CW(Kingpin II)

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A true masterpiece in the hollow body guitar market, teeming with style and tone, from acoustic kings Godin. The 5th Avenue Kingpin II – which we review in full here – combines real 50s style, with modern features that give this unique guitar its playability.

It has a single-cutaway Canadian wild cherry body with a molded arched top and back, finished with a lovely satin 19th century-style French polish. The neck is made from silver leaf maple, and features a rosewood fretboard with 21 frets.

The resonant sound comes from two Godin Kingpin P90 single-coil pickups, which offer a superior array of tones, with clarity and versatility. It also comes with a GraphTec adjustable TUSQ bridge, three-way pickup selector switch, and volume and tone controls. Lovely!

Gretsch G5420T

Gretsch G5420T

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If you’re on the hunt for a hollow-bodied guitar which can deliver 60’s sound and style, then turn your attention to Gretsch’s fabulous G5420T – a supreme twang machine. It offers a swish vintage look, with a single-cutaway five-ply maple body and two F holes.

There’s a maple neck and rosewood fretboard, with 22 medium jumbo frets. Its sound comes from two Blacktop Filter’Tron humbuckers at the bridge and neck, which make light work of emulating real vintage tones, while playing with overdrive gives it plenty of attitude.

The guitar also features a timeless Bigsby B60 vibrato tailpiece. A flawless fit for jazz, blues, country, and even soft rock. Make sure to check out the full review of the G5420T here.

Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe

Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe

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When it comes to hollow body guitars, there are few better looking than the Hagstrom Tremar Viking Deluxe, which truly is dressed to kill. The Swedish brand have crafted an excellent model, which features a semi-hollow body made of laminated flamed maple, with a glossy black paintjob that’s complemented with some lovely detailing.

But it’s not just a pretty face, as this beauty shows off some reliable, performance-enhancing hardware. This includes a duo of Hagstrom HJ-50 covered humbuckers at the bridge and neck, some excellent tuners with an 18:1 ratio and a chrome tune-o-matic bridge with Hagstrom Tremar Vibrato tailpiece.

You can read more about this awesome mid-range model in our full review.

7 String Guitars:

Schecter Banshee Elite-7 FR S

Schecter Banshee Elite-7 FR S

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Interested in upping the string count to seven? Then it’s hard to go wrong with this high-end beauty from Schecter, which delivers a stunning build with endless sustain.

As we highlight in the full review of the Banshee Elite-7, it features an attractive natural design with an alternating 24-fret maple/walnut through-body neck and swamp ash ‘wings’, with a flamed maple top. Some quality woods, but that’s not even the best thing – that comes from the electronics.

This model is loaded with a powerful USA SuperCharger Mach-7 humbucker, along with the innovative Sustainiac at the neck, which offers infinite sustain – seriously! Controls are ample and hardware is reliable, giving this model a true sense of premium.

8 String Guitars:

Ibanez M80M Meshuggah Signature

Ibanez M80M Meshuggah Signature

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In the 8-string guitar market, it’s the M80M Meshuggah Signature from Ibanez that tops our chart due to its insane tone and huge playability. This high-end model isn’t cheap, but it’s very good value for what’s on offer.

Developed closely with Mesguggah guitarists Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström, it features a relatively simple design, with an attractively weathered solid ash body and an extra-long reinforced 24-fret maple/walnut neck which plays like butter.

There’s just one pickup on this guitar, but it’s a great one – the Lundgren Model M8P humbucker. This offers a tight but powerful tone with great versatility, making it as good for heavy metal as it is jazz – as we mention in the complete M80M’s review.

Jazz Guitars:

Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic

Gretsch G100CE Synchromatic

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It’s hard to narrow down the best jazz guitars on the market, although we are big admirers of the midrange G100CE Synchromatic from Gretsch due to the lovely 1940s design, modern playability, and awesome jazzy tone.

The top, back and sides of this archtop guitar are made from laminated maple with some authentic vintage detailing, such as the unbound f-holes, floating tortoiseshell pickguard, rosewood bridge, and appropriate pearloid block fretboard inlays.

It is equipped with just one Gretsch-designed single-coil pickup at the neck position, which gives this guitar a classic ‘jazz box’ tone that’s rich and smooth. As always, be sure to read more on the Gretsch G100 for all the details.

Blues Guitars:

Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

Fender Eric Clapton Stratocaster

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Not many players can find their way around a Strat as well as Slowhand, which is probably why we love his high-end Fender signature model so much. This premium Strat is made in Fender’s American facility using quality materials to produce a sensational guitar.

These include a solid alder body and a 22-fret maple neck with a soft V shape. The hardware is equally impressive as it features three Fender Vintage Noiseless single-coils in the traditional Strat positioning, as well as a range of advanced tone controls including a Treble Bass Expander and active mid-boost control.

It all adds up to a simple but beautiful guitar with huge playability, tone and versatility – as we mention in the full review of the Eric Clapton Stratocaster.

Metal Guitars:

ESP LTD EC-Black Metal

ESP LTD EC-Black Metal

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There’s only one genre this ominous ESP LTD guitar has been built for, and that is metal. The deepest, darkest, heaviest of metal for that matter!

The EC-Black Metal sports simple but aggressive looks, with an all-black satin-finished body, no fretboard inlays, and a stealthy metal LTD logo on the headstock. As well as the killer menacing design, this axe has a satin-finished mahogany neck with a speedy thin-U profile and 24 extra jumbo frets for easy playing.

The hardware is equally simple, but very powerful with just a Seymour Duncan ‘Blackened’ Black Winter humbucker at the bridge, offering epic tones for all kinds of metal playing. As always, the full EC-Black Metal review] has everything you need to know!

While this has been a long list packed with excellent guitars to suit any requirement or budget, it’s by no means comprehensive – or final for that matter. Things change, and so too do our favorite guitars. As more models are released we review and update our charts, so keep checking back to see what’s new.

What Is The Best Guitar For You?

Before you start looking around at different models, you should define your level, and what you are hoping to achieve with the guitar. Are you a beginner, just starting out? Or an intermediate player, looking for an upgrade to take you to the next level?

Perhaps you’re a professional who needs a new electric guitar for the stage? Or maybe an enthusiastic collector on the hunt for your next prized possession.

Every guitarist has a different story and, as such, demands a different guitar. A $200 Epiphone – no matter how great it plays for a beginner – just won’t cut it with a professional looking for depth in tone for his next studio album.

Just like a $5000 masterpiece won’t really be the best guitar for your child who’s only just learning the instrument. But rest assured, there’s always a guitar available to suit you – you just have to know where to look.

What We Look For When Reviewing Electric Guitars?

When we review guitars we scrutinize everything from the quality of the materials used to construct the instrument, to the hardware and the sound. We will also rate the looks and the style, even though this is generally a matter of personal taste.

The value of the guitar will also be an important factor that will contribute to the overall score – because spending $200 on a model that sounds like a $2000 guitar is always something that can’t be ignored! We rate the best acoustic guitars and the best bass guitar list in the same way. With every new model we add and review, we update the top 10 rankings.

If you want to stay up-to-date, then make sure you visit this page on a regular basis to see what’s hot in the world of guitar!

Buying An Electric Guitar For Your Level

With so many guitars on the market, it’s no surprise that there are truly great options available for every level of player at every price range.

If you’re a beginner, there’s no need to go expensive – something from Epiphone, Squier, Yamaha’s Pacifica series, or one from our list of the best affordable electric axes will suit you well, whatever style of music you play.

If you’re more experienced – and have the budget – the choice of mid-range guitars with a more premium feel is unbelievable. However if you have the big bucks, and are looking for something flashy, make sure check out this list of some of the best expensive axes. Instant envy in all your friends!

A Guitar Is Only As Good As Its Amp

It’s true! When buying a guitar – whatever your level and budget – never forget that the amplifier you use is of equal importance. An expensive guitar with a cheap amp won’t let you explore that guitar’s potential.

On the flip side, playing a $100 guitar through a Marshall stack is a bit of a waste of time. While there’s no strict rules, looking to match the cost of your guitar with the cost of an amp is sensible. So spending $300 on a Les Paul and matching it with a decent $200 amp will give you a superb platform on which to learn and grow.

Make sure to check out our list of recommended top-rated guitar amps and reviews to get an idea on what may suit you. And if you are ready to spend a little extra feel free to check out the recommended guitar pedals and effects article.

What is Considered a Good Electric Guitar?

A good question! However, it completely depends on your budget. If money is no object, then you can’t go far wrong with something like an American-made Fender Stratocaster or Gibson Les Paul, although those will set you back a hefty chunk of cash.

With so many styles, types and genres of guitar and guitar music, what may be ‘good’ to you, may not be ‘good’ to the guy next to you. For example, an amazing metal guitar with active pickups is not likely to be classed as a good guitar for a vintage jazz enthusiast.

However, a broadly defined ‘good guitar’ will share a few characteristics that you should look out for when purchasing your next electric.

Reliability is one of these. There are many different parts to an electric guitar. In addition to the body and neck being put together solidly, there are the components to consider. The pickups, controls, circuitry and output jack all need to be well made and connected securely, while the bridge and tuners should function correctly, with nothing too loose or too stiff.

Playability is another characteristic that is shared between electric guitars spanning all price ranges. A good guitar shouldn’t feel like a chore to play. In fact, a great guitar is one you want to pick up and play all the time!

How Much Does a Good Electric Guitar Cost?

You can certainly find good guitars in the budget price ranges, which are perfect for beginners. In fact, you don’t need to spend much more than $200 to find a really good electric guitar that will suit beginner and intermediates alike (something from Squier, or Yamaha’s Pacifica series for example).

However, many guitarists will define a ‘good electric guitar’ as one which is more than an entry-level model. It won’t be a premium guitar, but still one that will be able to cope with both home practice and stage performance (for most people, this will be a second or third guitar).

We are talking about an attractive body, a smooth neck, upgraded pickups and possibly extras such as locking tremolo systems or special electronics. If this is the case, you will need to look in the $400 to $600 price range to find something of this quality.

Which Brand of Electric Guitar is The Best?

It’s hard to determine the best brand as everybody has different opinions. However, you cannot talk about the best electric guitar brands without immediately mentioning Fender and Gibson.

Established in 1946 and 1902 respectively, these two iconic American companies are the undisputed kings when it comes to electric guitar, with Fender’s legendary Telecaster and Stratocaster rivalled by Gibson’s famous Les Paul and SG models.

However, there are some other manufacturers that cannot be overlooked when discussing the best brands.

For example, in the world of heavy rock and metal, manufacturers such as Dean, Ibanez, ESP and PRS are all heavyweights of the electric guitar world and a premium guitar from one of these brands is as good as a high-end Fender or Gibson.

Then you have brands such as Yamaha and Epiphone, who consistently impress in the budget market as much as they do the higher-end.

You Have The Guitar – Now What?

If you’re already an experienced guitarist, you’ll want to carry on as you are! However, if you are a beginner and have just bought your first guitar, you may want to take some lessons to help you learn how to play.

Online videos, such as those you’d find on YouTube, are a great source of free tuition. However you may want to find a local pro or guitar teacher who can give you face-to-face instruction, which can be very valuable when first starting out.

Or you could look at some well-structured online lessons for electric guitar, which may work out more cost effective in the long run.

Whatever you choose, good luck with your purchases and enjoy your new guitar!

Reader Interactions


  1. Moe says

    Hi, I am currently learning how to play an acoustic guitar. I want to buy an electric guitar in summer from the States (I live abroad and don’t find some brands such as Jackson, EMP, DVD Mustang and Schecter). SO I would be considered as a beginner, right? I have been playing for 3 months already.
    Is it fine if I buy an electric guitar that’s worth <900$ as my first e.guitar? I don't know why it's recommended not to buy a guitar that's more advanced than my level. I mean this guitar will last me for years, so why not go for the best from the beginning? Also, I need to learn how to differentiate between the various guitars if some are better for lets say metal. I listen to a lot of Children of Bodom, Korn, Metallica and more.

    • Nikolas Kalimeris says

      Hey man, honestly, some $350 guitars will kick a $30,000 guitar’s ass. It’s all about the quality, not the price tag. I’ve played a Squire that sounded heaps better than a Gretsch. So yeah, just try out as many guitars as you can. It’ll widen your variety.

    • Christopher Dyer says

      Get a gently-used Fender American Stratocaster. It will cost around 800-900. It is the most popular guitar for a reason. It is awesome. It will hold its value.

    • Austin Rosewell says

      Hi Moe,
      as a fellow guitar player I would highly recommend the Epiphone es-339 i t is a wonderful guitar with a killer price.

    • Kyle says

      I am pretty sure there is a Gibson sg classic for around $700-$800. If that’s not the type of guitar you want, I would recommend a fender stratocaster

  2. Cory says

    @Moe If you are happy spending more, go ahead! I recommend trying a few and seeing which ones you really like before you look at the sticker. Some guitars will surprise you in either direction. Happy playing!

    • Michael says

      Yeah there is no double about it the Epiphone Special 11 is unreal value for money and even though I have over the years filled my Den with guitars some worth a lot of money the Epiphone Special 11 is my go to guitar. I just cannot fault, great tuners, pickups and basically the only guitar I have that stays in tune 90% plus of the time. It is also the lightest of my guitar collection weighing in at about 5.5lbs. For $299 Australian they are an absolute steal. If I could only have one guitar I would go to this Epiphone Les Paul Special 11 ever time.

  3. Kideedoo says

    IM buying my first electric guitar In a few weeks I’ve done quite monumental research and found out that the best guitar that satisfies price and quality is the Dave Mustaine Dean V. The only thing idk Is distortion and Overdrive pedals. So someone let me know a few advice about pedals . PEACE OUT

  4. Jimmy says

    Looking for a lifelong friend, something solid that will get better with age and can take a thrashing if needed. I plan on using drop tunings for heavy rock and will be dropping a set of alnico bare knuckle pickups into it and running it through a dual rectifier. Preferences but not important are, mahogany body, standard bridge, Les Paul style necks, most classic body shapes. Any model/brand suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I’m living in an isolated region so this will be a blind purchase. Really love my Schecter Diamond Series Tempest Classic but unfortunately it did not stand the test of time and will need a restoration on the neck.

  5. Anthony Edwards says

    I have a Fender Chinese made Telecaster from the Modern Player Series. The finish is spectacular, and while it sometimes feels like they just used a lot of gloss to cover it, it plays and sounds well. I have played it through many amps and it does the job of both a Telecaster and a Strat style. With a humbucking pickup, a lipstick and a strat pickup, this is a satisfying guitar and moddable for people looking for something they can work on without fear of screwing up and wasting a thousand dollars.

    It also looks great and the parts are all Fender quality. I got one that was set-up straight out of the box, and one where the truss was so loose that you could practically hear it rattling around. If you have setup experience, great, but if not, spend the extra time getting it setup by a pro.

  6. Fran says

    Mijn first guitar was a Epiphone by gibson sg, it was all right, then I got my gibson sg special(Around 550e), really good guitar, huge difference with the Epiphone. My next was, believe it or not another Epiphone, a Casino limited edition with bigsby, best price/quiality guitar ever(I paid 430e), beautiful guitar, and next week I’m getting a Fender Telecaster American vintage 58′(1755e), I’m very excited about it. I also own a Fender jazz bass classic 70s, it’s a mexican which plays like an american, very proud of this bass. First rate guitars are normally the best, you pay for the quality of the materials and the workmanship and experience, but there are exceptions with second range guitars, you can get very good ones, just good models or plainly good guitars, it’s nice to own both kind of guitars.

  7. landon says

    I play in a band and go to a school where we play guitar and drums and other things. I was looking at a grestch but i dont know if i should spend my money if my friends say that electromagnetic pickups are not as good
    So should I buy a grestch or no

  8. Joshua says

    It’s been years since I bought my Epiphone Standard. Glad to see its still referred as a great beginner guitar!

  9. Scott H. says

    So, I’m 50+, I’ve never played a guitar, and I’m trying to decide on an electric guitar. I’m less concerned with the brand name, more concerned with high quality and workmanship, and last, I like the tone of the guitars played by the late Pete Ham of Badfinger (especially Baby Blue), and Joe Walsh. I know Ham played a cherry red Gibson SG standard, but I’m seeing quite a few mixed reviews on the quality control and workmanship of the current SGs. I listen to a lot of jam band music (i.e. Widespread Panic) and enjoy the rhythm guitar best. So, where to start and stay under $2000 to get a guitar that will produce the type of sound I’m looking for?

    • David says

      I’m starting at guitar too at sixty years old, my opinion is that it’s not the guitar, but the time put into practicing, you can dup any type of sound with the features from amps, and guitar processors. You can even make an electric guitar sound like an acoustic. I purchased a line 6 150 watt amp, and a processor from line six, and I can dup any type of guitar sound. I built my own guitar

    • William says

      With that budget you can look about anywhere you choose. Try epiphone, maybe a boutique builder along the lines of your ideal, even a good kit that you rough in and take to a great tech/Luthier to trim finish….but about the Gibson…play em yourself, don’t get upset by a bunch of rumbling that’s largely bad noise. What your hearing is chatter largely perpetuated by their competition. They had a rough patch when they had ALL their imported wood jerked out from under them do to a screw-up of paperwork, wouldn’t at all surprise me if the government changed the rules and didn’t tell anybody(again). You can imagine what Gibson had to do to stay afloat, compromise was inevitable. I’m sure they more than anyone regret that, but you know everyone else in the industry was plenty happy to keep the scuttlebutt going, they ALL hate you when you’re on top. She. I was with strings and things of Memphis, Gibson came out of packing set up beautifully, usually perfectly in tune or nigh on to it. No other maker came close at all. By the way , I’m not a Gibson guy, the only one I’ve had is for sale, I prefer a more modern platform, that’s just my preference. But I still have to give props where they’re due…say, if your interested in an SG ’67 reissue at a good price, hit me up. I’ll give you the skinny on it, all right and wrong, and beat the brakes off any price from a shop!

    • Benoit Peeters says

      I’ve tried some guitars for beginner, being beginner myself! And let me tell you… around 500 USD and under 1000Usd they are plenty BUT. Avoid Epiphone. I got one and let me tell you, the material is weak. I’m mean the construction material. Some time after buying my Epiphone standard pro (lespaul) I tried a PRS SE245, it is a single cut too but… man, the playability and the quality of construction are absolutely not comparable. For the price I think it is the best single cut you could find! And to say the truth, now I started to play correctly. I’ll sell my first one and I’m going to buy a PRS McCarty 594. PRS is really high quality material. From bottom line to high end models!

    • Lee says

      The Squire deluxe strat is a killer deal I bought one for 299 cad on sale with the duncan designed pick ups dont waste your money spending two grand if your a begginer the squire deluxe is made in Indoniasha and read the reviews its as good as any mim strat.

      dont knock cheaper quality guitars i recently bought a Squire contempory strat and these are made in China but I can say its a sweet guitar with 2 humbuckers.

      u know when we jam at my place someone always grabs my older Ibanez Rg321 hard tail with EMGs its z 400 dollar cad guitar with upgraded pick ups and it sceams no begginer could complain about the rg321 u will never be able to out play that guitar starting at 50 and if u drop it u drop it and put a dent in it u wont cry lol plus if u are a beginner u have no idea what fretboard radius u will pefer a fender modern c with a 9.5 radius or a compound radias or a almost flat 15.75 ibanez or a fender modern c with a radius of 12

  10. DAVID WEBER says

    All I can say is quit wasting $ on new. A new guitar is like a new car it’s gonna lose 20% of its value once you take it out the first time. Unless you are buying a Gibson or fender custom shop etc Just go for what plays and sounds great. Perfect example is the Esp ltd ec401vf or 400. Used $300-400 has stock seymour duncan 59 neck jb bridge or the newer 401 has the dimarzio’s in it. Grovers tuners earvana nut mahogany body. Just an excellent setup for half the price of an epi les paul. Don’t get me wrong I have an Epi les paul traditional pro and it’s a nice guitar but for $750 nah. Since I picked up the 401 I hardly play my jag mustang or either of my epi l.p. or sg. Its just that nice of a guitar. If you are in the market for a les paul style or a new guitar in general take a look at the 400 series it’s a whole lot of guitar for the $

  11. Larry Ashurst says

    I have a Modern player Strat and people say that Chinese made guitars are bad. I recently played a Custom Shop Strat then went home and played my MPS. Hardly any difference in playability.

  12. Randall Selinger says

    How you can ignore Godin as a quality electric guitar manufacturer boggles the imagination…..I have four and they outperform any other guitar at even twice or three times the price, duh!

    • ACManiac says

      We stand corrected. There are a few Godin models that we have in mind for our next article update. Stay tuned! 🙂

  13. Brad says

    In the metal section there was no Chapman. I would definitely recommend the chapman ghost fret standard. it is under 1000 dollars and is amazing in sound, hardware and is an amazing looking guitar.

  14. Dan says

    I have a Pacifica 012 and I would consider it a good basic guitar. Nothing more. It’s a few years old. Maybe the newer models are better. I’ll either turn it into a project guitar or sell it cheap or give it away.

  15. Damon says

    Hi any advice would be appreciated, learning electric guitar and am torn between epiphone l.p. standard at about 450 pounds and Yamaha 612v11fm on offer at 350 pounds, ease of play is important as I am not getting any younger, thanks in advance.

    • Adrian says

      Hi Damon
      I’m probably too late for your purchase, but for any of you guys out there I would recommend that you try out an Epi or whatever, then go and check out the equivalent model by Trevor Wilkinsons “Vintage” brand. No contest!!

  16. Ian Hazeldine says

    I heard off of a great guitarist years ago when I asked him about fender and gibson he said they were expensive and not great and also said the Gordon Smith guitars played and sounded great and as they never advertised and were a small builder in the uk the cost was cheap for the quality of the guitar. A players guitar rather than a fancy looking guitar thats all show and less go. I think they are the price of a mim strat but great hardware not chinese.

  17. David Hutchinson says

    I am a fan of inexpensive guitars. Why but something so valuable you can’t take it out or afraid it will get damaged. Get an inexpensive guitar that is closest to the expensive ones you desire. Basically the construction and woods are the same just made inexpensively to sell to the masses. Watch who plays the secondary brands and get full cred. I have a squire cabronita, squire telecaster with upgraded coil tapped humbucker/single coil pickups, gretch electromatic single cutaway soildbody, and 2 Harley Benton les pau l type guitars with p90s and coil tapped tumblers for less than 175.00 each. Every guitar is a beauty and a joy to own.

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