Looking for the Best Electric Guitar for Beginners?
Finding one can be a daunting prospect if you are just starting out.
We have chosen and reviewed our personal Top 10 – they are in order of cheapest to most expensive. Prices range from about £130 up to £1500 to cover all budgets!
1: Rockjam Full Size Electric Guitar
The Rockjam electric guitar is the perfect instrument for every beginner who wishes to one day become a professional, or for those who find guitar playing simply a relaxing hobby.
It produces a great sound and allows for easy and enjoyable playability, The quality of this guitar is complimented by a Rosewood fretboard, the Maple neck with a bolt on construction.
The guitar also features two tone sound controls, 3 single coil pickups, 1 volume control, tremolo bar, a 5 way pick up selector switch and cut-away horns, which are designed to reach very high frets. The lovely finish is black and white high gloss, this compliments the very classic body shape of this electric guitar.
The bundle pack comes with everything a beginner may need, strap, a plectrum and high quality square nickel strings.
It is easy to tune and the sound it produces is quite good. It makes a great first guitar on a well built and comfortable to hold guitar. Great for beginners who wish to show their skills on stage.
A very low cost investment for total beginners, who would like to learn to play and perhaps eventually become a serious guitarist.
Pros – Great beginners’ electric guitar, comes with much needed accessories too!
Cons – Supplied accessories are nothing to write home about, but good for beginners.
2: Yamaha Pacifica Electric Guitar
This great guitar was initially developed in the 1990’s and became one of the company’s best-selling entry level guitars. This guitar sounds great, the price is good and they also look great.
The level of quality in production is excellent, it’s probably the main reason it’s so popular, they are consistently good no matter which one you pick up.
The Pacifica lends itself to more lead playing thanks to a slightly different fret radius. It has a rounding at the top edge of the fingerboard and a satin finish.
The neck is smooth and very comfortable and feels incredibly stable. Overall you can be confident that it is a well-constructed, well-sounding electric guitar, looking both modern and classy at the same time.
The guitar is modelled after the famous Stratocaster body although these are quite a few differences that are worth pointing out.
First, while the body is similar, if you look closely you will see that not only are the horns on the Pacifica but the contours are also not as pronounced. Instead of plugging the guitar in on the face on the Strat, with the Pacifica the plug is on the side.
The Pacific is fitted with two single-coils and one humbucking pickup; this can be configured to act as a single coil.
Describing the guitar in a few words, it is very versatile, bright and classy.
Due to the coil-split facility for the humbucker near the bridge, which you can change by pushing or pulling one of the knobs, you have the option of a brighter country sound or a deeper rock sound; both have a character that is both surprising and nice.
Pros – Very classy good looking guitar, at a good price
Cons – None really, however as a budget guitar, it will have limitations.
3: Rockburn LP2 Electric Guitar
Rockburn are a well-established company who make good quality budget guitars. This is a Les Paul look alike that comes in a number of colours.
The guitar body is made of Basswood and the bolt on neck is made from Maple with a Rosewood fretboard, It is also fitted with the standard tune-o-matic bridge which is what you would expect from a Les Paul style guitar. With two humbuckers, which can be accessed through a three way selector switch and tone/volume controls for each pick-up, this is standard Les Paul territory.
So if you like the classic Les Paul style guitar, then so far the Rockburn LP2 is pretty good.
The guitar plays well considering the price. The sound of the guitar plugged in is very nice, with a great warm clean tone and a re-assuring growl as the distortion is cranked up.
If you are looking for a basic standard Les Paul style guitar for your first instrument, at a very good price, then this guitar is a pretty good option. Therefore if you have a tight budget and want to give the guitar a go this guitar is a great place to start.
Pros: Great budget Les Paul style guitar with extra accessories too – save money by not having to buy extras!
Cons: None really, however as a budget guitar, it will have limitations.
4: Epiphone ENL1EBCH1 Les Paul Electric Guitar
The original idea for the Epiphone Les Paul guitar was to create a somewhat lower-priced Les Paul by dispensing with some cosmetics.
The result was an very clean, handsome electric guitar with all the Les Paul essentials. The studio has a thicker body that matches its namesake, a set Mahogany neck, Rosewood fingerboard and a Mahogany body with a curved top. The lock Tune-o-Matic bridge and Lock Tone stopbar tailpiece add more sustain and make string changing easier.
Features: Hot open coil classic humbuckers, dot fingerboard inlays a great looking guitar.
Overall the workmanship is very good, the value is outstanding and many consider the Epiphone a good choice when it comes to a Les Paul at an affordable price.
A great choice for beginners who love the Les Paul design and can’t afford the Gibson Les Paul. Don’t think you will be at all disappointed in this lovely guitar.
This is a very fine first guitar, especially if you are after a Les Paul design. Great sound, good feel and lots of fun to play, also very good electronics; this guitar may surprise you, wishing you had purchased one many years ago.
Pros: Excellent priced Les Paul guitar and fun to play.
5: Jackson Rhoads JS32 Electric Guitar
What makes this guitar stand out is the fact that the company managed to utilise cheaper Basswood body and thanks to top-level craftsmanship and good electronics configuration, it is a great guitar.
Bolt on Maple neck specially designed for fast playing, as well as a nice Rosewood fingerboard with 24 frets and very neat shark fin inlays.
The looks are obviously full-on metal style and the spikey arrow like design is a thing of legend among metal guitarists. It has a Jackson’s signature double locking tremolo bridge and the tuners are very strong. The black hardware works very well with a white pickguard, only further raising the aesthetic charm of this Jackson guitar.
It utilises a set of Jackson humbucker pickups with ceramic magnets combined with a three-way toggle switch, plus controls for tone and volume, working very well.
This guitar is more geared up towards heavy metal music sounds. This means that the sound is balanced, with more orientation towards crunch rather than chug. Delivering a smooth sonic vibe that really works for licks and lead line. At a price that’s killer stuff!
Great value for money for heavy metal fans and if you really like spicy hot lead licks and crunchy tones, this is a great option to consider.
Pros: Great value heavy metal guitar with excellent sound.
Cons: Some may be put off by its unique design and style!
6: Gretsch Streamliner Electric Guitar
This concept was to create a more affordable Gretsch guitar without losing their specific DNA.
The Streamliner model has a variety of features, the new Broad Tron humbuckers, controlled in classic Gretsch style by a three-way toggle selector switch on the side shoulder, a master volume on the treble side horn and then a trio of controls by the treble side f-hole for individual pickup volume and master tone.
Construction is a laminated Maple top, back and sides, frets are medium jumbo.
There are large block fingerboard inlays that nod back to the 1970’s; the headstock outline follows a classic shape with a gold logo and no series name. There is a hardtail bridge and tailpiece setup, the Adjusto-Matic screws into metal ferrules and the strings are anchored by a V shaped stud tailpiece designed specifically for these guitars.
This guitar can be found by many slightly neck heavy but the upper horn strap button placement means it sits quite conventionally.
The construction gives a different response and resonance to other releases from Gretsch and with these pickups, moves further from the classic Gretsch sound. It has a solid character; it’s a little more airy and less punchy with a softer and squashier tone.
This company double cutaway guitars appeared in the early 1960’s and adopted a clearly inspired but different outline to the Gibson ES-335. Notably their flatter less pronounced horns. They were also hollow, without a centre block, which did not appear until later.
Pros: Good construction with a fairly unique sound
Cons: Some may find the fingerboard a little large.
7: Fender Standard Stratocaster Electric Guitar
Of all the electric guitars available, many will tell you that this guitar is comfortably among the biggest sellers. Due to a combination of very solid build quality, great value for money and that all important Fender logo on the headstock, this ensures their enduring success with many guitarists.
Despite this, Fender is keen not to rest on its laurels and instead keeps the range bang up to date and usually ahead of the competition.
The design is the iconic Stratocaster; there are so many Stratocasters at so many price points these days. For the last few years this standard guitar has represented the bulk of the Mexican Ensenada factory’s output alongside the Classic Series Vintage reissues.
The neck feels very sleek, with a thin coat of satin polyester varnish sealing the very attractive one-piece white Maple.
The necks profile is Fenders C neck profile, giving it a real Fender character. Electronically there are no surprises and the expected configuration of the five-way pickup selector blade switch, master volume and individual tones for the neck and middle single-coils. The neck position in particular is a superb voice for smoky electric blues and when backed off, those cleaner tone moments.
This guitar really excels in a variety of musical genres and for those that can’t afford the more expensive USA version, this is an ideal guitar for those musicians who want a classic and iconic Stratocaster.
Pros: Great affordable classic Stratocaster. Very versatile and fun to play.
8: Epiphone Les Paul Standard Electric Guitar
For those that cannot afford the classic original Gibson Les Paul, here is a great alternative. This guitar brings a lot of that same performance and feeling at a much more reasonable price.
There are two iconic guitar body shapes out there and Les Paul is one of them. The Epiphone delivers the same aesthetic and much of the build quality of the guitar it was inspired by. The body is made of Mahogany with a treated Maple top. The neck is a standard Maple design with a great quality Rosewood fretboard.
This guitar sports similar Abalone inlays, as well as white binding on the neck. Overall, once you start playing it. You realise just how comfortable this guitar really is.
This guitar comes with a set of Alnico pups of great quality; these are controlled by the classic controls found on any worthy Les Paul.
You have two tone and two volume knobs to play with, along with a pickup selector switch. Everything looks and feels very solid and the knobs are pretty accurate.
All hardware comes in chrome and the type of performance you can expect is very good. The bridge is solid and holds bot the intonation and tuning very well. It handles distortion, overdrive and clean environments with a great deal of confidence.
If your budget is flexible enough, going for this guitar is probably the best possible way you can start off your guitar learning experience. A great buy and a very strong performer.
Pros: A great Les Paul and a very good buy at an affordable price. Available in a variety of colours.
9: Gretsch Electromatic Electric Guitar
This guitar looks like the long lost brother of a Gretsch Country Gentleman, once the company’s flagship model designed by the legendary Chet Atkins and made an icon by George Harrison with the Beatles.
Yes this very fancy looking guitar costs about the same as guitars from other companies however this one is special. It has pearloid fretboard inlays, large genuine f holes with binding, a gold plexi pickguard, with black Gretsch logo, gold pickup surrounds, a Walnut satin finish, multi-layer body binding and gold plated hardware that includes a genuine Bigsby B60 tailpiece, vintage style open gear tuners and a floating bridge with secured Rosewood base.
It delivers great that great Gretsch sound, the body is fully hollow and its sound post bracing provides rich midrange, while suppressing unwanted feedback at very loud volumes or high gain.
The body’s five-ply Maple construction also helps suppress feedback while delivering ample dynamic response and resonance.
The feel and playability of a great vintage Gretsch guitar is truly unique and this guitar delivers a playing experience that’s instantly familiar to the most devoted Gretsch fanatic.
The neck is rock solid but it has a slim and fast profile to help with fast runs and cleanly fingered complex chords. The pickups are wonderfully twangy through clean amp settings but when you crank up the gain, they maintain their tonal personality while delivering impressive clarity and definition.
If you haven’t already become a Gretsch addict, this guitar is an affordable one that will change your life.
Pros: A great guitar with lovely Gretsch sounds at an affordable price.
10: Gibson USA Les Paul Traditional Electric Guitar
Make no mistake; this is a true and great iconic guitar. Since its introduction in 1952 the Les Paul has achieved mythical status and the Gibson Les Paul carries on that legacy.
Maple topped Mahogany delivers a very balanced combination of warmth and brightness that’s enhanced beautifully by a set of vintage-inspired pickups.
On top of that historically hand wired circuitry infuses this guitar with an unmistakable sonic appeal. When you play or hit the stage, all eyes will be on you, thanks to this stunningly designed guitar. Vintage style keystone tuners and a meaty rounded neck profile with smooth Rosewood fingerboard complete this great package.
The Les Paul has been a mainstay in Gibson’s line-up due to its very bold appointments and understated solid colour finish.
When it comes to capturing that classic Gibson tone, nothing beats the sound of Burstbucker pickups.
You will simply love the tight low end, complex midrange and sweet highs you will get out of these pickups; it is everything you expect when you pick up a Gibson – and more! So if you really want the time tested tone of a classic Gibson, then the Les Paul Traditional is the guitar for you. Features:
Non weight relieved Mahogany body which is historically correct, AA grade Maple top, treated frets, neck like vintage instrument, one piece Rosewood fingerboard, handwired electronics etc.
A great guitar and a true icon that every guitarist should invest in; there will be no regrets when you have purchased one – a very happy guitarist.
Pros: Many people believe this is the best Les Paul you can buy; a true icon. Definitely the Best electric guitar (if within budget)
Cons: None. Large investment – but it is worth it.