The 20 Best Electric Guitar Brands (2023)
The electric guitar is by far the most popular instrument in the world. It might be difficult to decide which are the best since there are so many brands with different qualities and styles.
These days, the number of electric guitar brands can be really confusing. It’s often a lot safer to stick to proven and reputable brands, especially when you are starting. Their products may cost a little bit more but on the other hand, you may count on the great quality in return.
Here are the 20 best electric guitar brands out there today as well as recommendations from each brand.
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.
Notable Fender guitar:
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.
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 high-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.
Notable Gibson guitar:
The Gibson Les Paul Special Tribute is a perfect pick for beginners who want a genuine Gibson guitar. It features a legendary shape and delivers that genuine feel. Equipped with a couple of humbuckers, it covers pretty much every music style, both vintage and modern.
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 hundred dollars.
Notable Ibanez guitar:
One of the products that offer great value for money is the RG450DXB. This model delivers everything you would expect from an RG ax, including a mahogany body for endless sustain, a super-fast neck with 24 jumbo frets, a typical HSH pickup configuration, and other common RG features.
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. 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.
Notable PRS guitar:
The PRS SE Standard 24 is a perfect example that a great-sounding and a great-looking guitar doesn’t have to cost a fortune. This solid-body guitar features a vibrato bridge, 2 humbucking pickups, and a maple neck, perfect for a well-rounded guitar by PRS.
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 a beginner’s standpoint, Yamaha is the best electric guitar brand, in my humble opinion.
Notable Yamaha guitar:
Speaking of the excellent value for money, the famous Pacifica series is the first thing that comes to mind. For this occasion, I’ve picked the PAC120H model. It offers excellent build quality and combines an Alder body with a Rosewood neck. Interestingly, it comes with an HH pickup configuration and a hardtail bridge, which makes it perfect for heavier tones.
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 brand.
Notable ESP guitar:
This ESP LTD Eclipse model 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.
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.
Notable Godin guitar:
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.
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 are still a couple of guitars that seem like a great choice for beginners.
Notable Charvel guitar:
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, a comfortable neck, and jumbo frets.
Squier is a sub-brand of Fender.
The company has the 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 on 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 on offer is really impressive and you won’t go wrong with any of them.
Notable Squier guitar:
The Squier Classic Vibe ’50s Stratocaster is a low-budget take on classic strat design that shaped the tone we know today. You may count on authentic features, such as a C-shape neck, vintage-style tremolo, narrow frets, old-school Alnico pickups, etc.
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.
Notable Epiphone guitar:
The pick is the Epiphone SG Standard. It comes in the iconic worn cherry finish and features all ingredients you’d want. Of course, we are talking about the mahogany body, rosewood fingerboard, legendary design, a couple of humbuckers, etc.
Gretsch is one of the oldest guitar brands alive today, which produced many iconic instruments used by most 60’s guitarists. Their hollow and semi-hollow body guitars were legendary back then and were the primary choice of stars like Elvis Presley, Eddie Cochran, as well as The Animals, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, later.
Gretsch guitars are well-known for their great twangy, country, rock n roll, rockabilly tones, along with beautiful designs and sound-hole aesthetics. The brand had many iconic models, from White Falcon to Duo Jet George Harrison.
Notable Gretsch guitar:
Gretsch G5410T reflects the Gretsch style perfectly with its hollow-body design with a laminated maple top, back, and sides along with rosewood fingerboard, Bigsby vibrato, and 2 humbucker pickups.
Founded in the 1930s in Manhattan by the great luthier John D’Angelico, D’Angelico Guitars are well-known for their archtop and hollow-body guitars, which were highly popular in the ’30s and ’40s. Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, and Chet Atkins are only some of the legendary guitarists who used D’Angelico guitars.
Nowadays, D’Angelico Guitars offers great quality solid-body, semi-hollow, and hollow-body guitars for every style and budget. The retro-style guitars are enhanced with modern touches, creating great vintage-inspired tones with today’s top guitar technology.
Notable D’Angelico guitar:
D’Angelico Premier SS is one of the popular models of the brand, which features a semi-hollow body with a 5” wide, single-cutaway archtop as well as a stop-bar tailpiece and D’Angelico humbuckers. The guitar has a warm, full-bodied vintage tone with enough clarity and crispness.
Schecter is one of the famous guitar brands in the metal market, thanks to its excellent craftsmanship and high-end appointments. Schecter guitars often have great value-for-price ratios, as the features on Schecter guitars are commonly found on many higher-end instruments.
The brand offers excellent guitars for modern metal players, which often come with high-output pickups, fast necks, extended ranges, and ominous designs. However, Schecter also has different model lines, including Strat-style guitars, semi-hollow models as well as acoustic and bass guitars.
Notable Schecter guitar:
Schecter C-1 SLS FR-S Evil Twin is a feature-packed electric guitar ideal for playing metal. It features two active humbucking pickups, which enhance the sustain and deliver great metal tones along with a fast neck and Floyd Rose for a more comfortable and versatile playing experience.
Jackson is an extremely popular guitar brand that is well-known for its Super-strat style metal and hard rock guitars that shaped the metal era in the 1980s. Jackson guitars offer great sound and performance for heavier genres and are played by many great guitarists like Kirk Hammett, Jeff Loomis, and Adrian Smith.
Jackson has many different model lines that serve professional guitarists and beginners. There are high-end custom-shop and made-in-the-USA models along with more affordable models with downgraded features for beginners. All models feature great value for prices as Jackson provides some of the best metal guitars.
Notable Jackson guitar:
Jackson X Series Signature Adrian Smith SDX is a great Super-strat guitar with a high-output Jackson bridge humbucker and noiseless middle and neck single-coils on a basswood body along with a maple neck and compound-radius maple fingerboard. The guitar features an excellent value for the price with its great playability and sound for the price offered.
Founded by Leo Fender, G&L offers affordable and good-quality guitars based on Fender, on some classic Fender instruments since the 1970s. The models are similar to Fender guitars but with some innovative improvements to form and design.
G&L guitars are made at the same facility as Fender guitars in Fullerton, California. The ASAT and Legacy lines are pretty close to Fender designs. In contrast, some other model lines have unique designs that are not reminiscent of any other brand out there, which shine with their innovative hardware and electronics designs.
The most famous G&L guitar user is Jerry Cantrell, vocalist, and guitarist of Alice in Chains.
Notable G&L guitar:
G&L Tribute S-500 is one of the popular guitars of the brand, which is Leo Fender’s own design from the early 50s. The guitar has the iconic single-coil-loaded, double-cutaway design with ‘MFD’ (Magnetic Field Design) pickups and Dual-Fulcrum tremolo. The guitar is considered a solid and affordable alternative to classic Fender Stratocasters.
Another great brand that produces top-notch metal guitars is Dean from Chicago, U.S.A., founded in the 1970s. Dean is a well-known name for metal and hard rock genres, but the company also produces many string instruments, including solid-body electric guitars, bass guitars, acoustic guitars as well as resonators, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, amplifiers, and guitar accessories.
Dean is mainly preferred by metal guitarists such as Dimebag Darrell, Michael Schenker, Michael Angelo Batio, and Dave Mustaine.
The brand has many different models mainly focused on heavy tones, such as V, ML, Z, Splittail, Cadillac, Soltero, Icon, EVO, Deceiver, and Vendetta. There are budget models as well as high-end signature models in the brand’s offerings.
Notable Dean guitar:
Dean RZR DB CBK NC is the special creation of Dean for Dimebag Darrell as the guitar is based on the details and tones of the famous Pantera song Cemetery Gates. The guitar has an eye-catching body with a maple neck and a rosewood fretboard with a pearl razor inlay on the 12th fret, just like Darrell’s necklace. The dual humbuckers deliver a great tone similar to Pantera’s sound.
Danelectro has been around since 1947 and is well-known for great vintage-style guitars made from Masonite and plywood to keep costs low, volume and tone knobs designed together, and the choice of “lipstick” pickups, which had thin plastic tubes with the components inside.
The brand did not produce guitars after 1969 but was revived by new owners in 1998. Since then, the brand has been producing great retro-looking guitars with vintage features like double-cutaway shapes and iconic bottle headstocks. The guitars resemble instruments from the 50s and 60s, which are great for pop, surf rock, and bluesy tones.
Many great guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Mark Knopfler, used Danelectro guitars at some point in their careers.
Notable Danelectro guitar:
The Danelectro ’59M NOS+ electric guitar model reflects the Danelectro approach excellently with its chambered semi-hollow shorthorn body of plywood with a hardboard top. The vintage guitar design features dual lipstick single-coil pickups, a C-shaped maple neck, and a Pau Ferro fingerboard.
18. Ernie Ball Music Man
Founded in 1984, Ernie Ball Music Man is one of the most popular high-end and signature guitar producers today. Music Man guitars are well appreciated with their amazing details, innovative designs, high-quality parts as well as precise construction.
Music Man guitars shine with their finish, comfortable necks, and great electronics. The signature models such as John Petrucci, Steve Lukather, and Steve Morse signature guitars feature great details that give them unique looks and sound, while the innovative designs shape these guitars according to the needs of these legendary guitarists.
Besides the signature models, Music Man also offers great model lines with premium features and construction, but the guitars sit on the high-end of the spectrum.
Notable Ernie Ball Music Man guitar:
Music Man Axis is one of the most popular Music Man models, which is equipped with a basswood body, quilted maple top, and back, figured maple neck and fingerboard, two custom DiMarzio humbucker pickups, and Music Man Double-locking tremolo and a transparent gold top finish which looks quite amazing.
Owned by Fender, EVH is Eddie Van Halen’s guitar manufacturing company founded in 2007. The brand’s legacy is to continue to drive the legendary guitarist’s designs, such as the Wolfgang, which he used for many years.
EVH offers Eddie-designed electric guitars and amps like the renowned 5150 model. The main model lines resurrect some of Eddie’s famous guitars and amps from the ’70s and ’80s. So, it is fair to say that EVH focuses on hard rock, heavy metal genres, the Van Halen sound, to be more precise.
Notable EVH guitar:
EVH Striped Series Stratocaster is Eddie Van Halen’s own design that he used for many years. The Stratocaster-style modified guitar features a basswood body, 3 color patterns inspired by Van Halen’s own design, Quartersawn maple neck, Floyd Rose locking nut, and EVH Wolfgang Humbucking pickup that delivers the great harmonics and tones of Van Halen.
Another great name from the 80’s metal and hard rock scene is Kramer, with its great models such as Beretta. Many guitarists used Kramer guitars like Eddie Van Halen, George Lynch, and Richie Sambora to get the iconic hard rock tones.
Kramer was a well-known brand in the ’70s due to its innovative designs like aluminum-necked electric guitars and basses. In the 80s, the brand became more famous, especially with their modded S-style guitars, which had high-output pickups and double-locking Floyd Rose tremolos, making the instruments beasts for genres like glam metal and hard rock.
Notable Kramer guitar:
Kramer SM-1 is one of the most versatile guitars in the brand’s model lines. The instrument features an EMG 81TW and two EMG SA pickups ideal for shredding and rock-metal tones. Besides, the S-style guitar has a mahogany body and neck along with an ebony fingerboard and Floy Rose tremolo.
Electric guitars have been around for a long time, and the market is saturated with different makes and models. It can be hard to decide which guitar is right for you, especially if you’re a beginner. In this roundup, there are some of the best electric guitars on the market that are perfect for all styles of music.
From affordable guitars for beginners to high-end guitars for experienced players, there’s something for everyone. So, if you’re looking to buy a new electric guitar, be sure to check out some of the models listed above. You won’t be disappointed.