The 10 Best Electric Guitar Brands – Our Round-Up

These days, the amount of electric guitar brands can be really confusing. In this article, we go through 10 of the best brands to consider when buying an electric guitar.

It’s often a lot safer to stick to proven and reputable brands, especially when you are starting out. Their products may cost a little bit more but on the other side, you may count on great quality in return.

We have also picked out a guitar model from each brand that would be great for beginners or those on a budget.

1. Fender

Founded in 1946, Fender is one of the household names in the guitar world.

This guitar company is responsible for several legendary guitar models but the first associations are Stratocaster and Telecaster. While the Telecaster is one of the first solid-body electric guitars ever, the Stratocaster is by far the most popular electric guitar around.

Besides legendary guitars, this company is also famous for some of the most iconic guitar amps, amps that shaped clean tones of electric guitars. These days, the company produces pretty much everything, including pedals, multi-effect processors, strings, pickups and all other kinds of parts and accessories.

The offer of electric guitars is huge and includes products that go in a pretty wide price range. While the most expensive models come from Fender Custom Shop and cost thousands of dollars, the most affordable models come from the company’s assembly in Mexico. These guitars are affordable but feature great overall quality. So, they seem like a perfect choice for beginners. 

Stratocaster models from the so-called “Player” series are particularly great for beginners, as they offer genuine Fender quality and design at a reasonable price. Fender Player Strat comes in various finishes, with three Alnico V pickups and delivers everything you would expect from a product with this logo on a headstock.

2. Gibson

Along with Fender, Gibson is the most legendary guitar maker in the world.

It is also one of the oldest companies in the business as Orville Gibson started making guitars way back in 1894. Through all these years, we have seen numerous iconic models. Of course, Les Paul is the first name that comes to mind, but this company has numerous legendary guitars in its portfolio, including models like SG, Explorer, Flying V, ES-335 and many more. 

All these models are hi-end guitars, manufactured in the USA, so the price of these products is usually very high. However, the company has recently established a new line of products, which are more affordable and more approachable for beginners.

The Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute is a perfect pick for beginners who want a genuine Gibson guitar. It features the legendary shape and delivers that genuine feel. Equipped with a couple of humbuckers, it covers pretty much every music style, both vintage and modern.

3. Ibanez

The Japanese manufacturer is known for excellent precision and build quality.

While it started with copies of legendary Les Paul and Strat guitars, it came up with original models soon after. The current portfolio includes a variety of different guitar types, including both solid and hollow-body guitars. Still, the company is best known for the iconic RG series of guitars, which were introduced in 1987 and have been massively popularized by Steve Vai and other guitar gods.

The current offer of electric guitars goes in an impressively wide price range, so most affordable models cost less than a few hundreds of dollars. One of the products that offer great value for money is the RG450DXB. This model delivers everything you would expect from an RG axe, including mahogany body for endless sustain, super-fast neck with 24 jumbo frets, typical HSH pickup configuration and other common RG features.

4. PRS

PRS is one of the renowned brands in the world of electric guitars and that’s for many reasons. Founded in 1985, this company became a major player in the business pretty quickly, thanks to the excellent quality of its instruments, but also thanks to innovative design solutions, which help PRS guitars to stand out from the crowd. Today’s offer includes all kinds of solid and hollow-body guitars, as well as electric guitars, but this brand is still best known for legendary Custom 24 models.

These guitars are pretty expensive (for a good reason), so the company has established a so-called Standard 24 line of guitars, which are more affordable but still stick to the original design. The PRS SE Standard 24 is a perfect example that a great sounding and great looking guitar doesn’t have to cost a fortune.

5. Yamaha

Whether we are talking about pianos, classical instruments or electric guitars, one thing is certain with Yamaha – exceptional quality. The Japanese manufacturer offers products in a wide price range, but the reason why it stands out from the crowd is that all Yamaha products get the same treatment from the manufacturer. Therefore, even the most affordable products are built with excellent precision and offer an unparalleled value for money. From the beginner’s standpoint, Yamaha is the best electric guitar brand, in our humble opinion.

Speaking of the excellent value for money, the famous Pacifica series is the first thing that comes to mind. For this occasion, we’ve picked the PAC120H model. If offers excellent build quality and combines Alder body with Rosewood neck. Interestingly, it comes in HH pickup configuration and a hardtail bridge, which makes it perfect for heavier tones.

6. ESP

When it comes to precision and build quality, no one can match Japanese manufacturers, so here is another company from the Far East on the list. Of course, we are talking about ESP guitars, a company that started as a builder of custom parts and eventually ended up as one of the biggest names in the business, especially when it comes to heavy distorted guitar sound and genres that come with it.

Beginners who like metal and other hi-gain genres should definitely consider this ESP LTD Eclipse model, which offers amazing quality for the price. With this guitar, you may count on a classic shape, mahogany body, hi-output pickups that are also splittable, and many other things that make this guitar such a great value.

7. Godin

The Canadian manufacturer is also one of those companies that offer impressive value for money.

However, the reason why this company stands out is an impressive range of acoustic and electric guitars, with all kinds of different designs. 

Given the exceptional quality, most electric guitars from this manufacturer are pretty expensive, but there are also a couple of options for beginners. The Godin Session HT is a perfect example. It is a quality guitar, which is at the same time relatively affordable and there is no doubt it would stay with you for a very long time.

8. Charvel

Famous for legendary super strats from the 80s, the California-based company went through a pretty dark period in the 90s. In 2002, it was acquired by Fender and these days, Charvel is once again a major player on the market. The range of models this company offers today is bigger than ever, while the list of artists who use these instruments is impressive. 

While most products are professional-grade and pretty expensive, there is still a couple of guitars that seem like a great choice for beginners. For example, the Charvel Joe Duplantier Signature San Dimas Style 2 is quite affordable for a signature guitar but offers pretty amazing overall quality. It is a Telecaster-style guitar, but designed in a modern manner, with two humbuckers, excellent tuners, comfortable neck and jumbo frets.

9. Squier

Squier is a sub-brand of Fender, a company that has exclusive right to build guitars that feature the same shape and design characteristics as the legendary guitar maker. The only difference is in the logo in the headstock. Of course, the quality is notably lower compared to Fender products, but it’s really hard to argue when you look at price tags.

The number of models in the offer is really impressive and you won’t go wrong with any of them. Still, we’ve picked the Squier Classic Vibe '50s Stratocaster, which is a low-budget take on classic strat design that shaped the tone we know today. You may count on authentic features, such as C-shape neck, vintage-style tremolo, narrow frets, old-school Alnico pickups etc.

10. Epiphone

While Squier is a budget brand of Fender, Epiphone does the same kind of job for Gibson.

The list of electric guitars in the offer matches Gibson’s offer almost entirely, so you can get a Les Paul for a pretty affordable price, as well as models like SG, Explorer etc. All of them feature more than decent quality and they are a perfect choice for beginners, who usually don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on Gibson products.

Our pick for beginners would be the Epiphone Faded G-400, which is the brand’s iteration of the famous SG model. It comes in the iconic worn cherry finish and features all ingredients the original SG has. Of course, we are talking about the mahogany body, rosewood fingerboard, legendary design, a couple of humbuckers, trapezoid inlays, Tune-O-Matic bridge etc.

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