Looking for a Beginners Electric Guitar?

In this article I'll give you a few good buying options you can't go wrong with.

These days choosing a beginners electric guitar can be more overwhelming as never before. Open up any online catalog and you'll see hundreds if not thousands of guitars to buy with different shapes, features, price range and a specification list that you might not really understand.

While you're a beginner what you really need is a simple and reliable instrument that won't take too much time to take care of so you can focus your attention on playing instead of on tweaking the bolts.

That's why having a guitar of a good quality is important when you're learning to play.

A poor instrument may often go out of tune, probably it will be the wrong setup causing problems with the intonation. String height (if the strings are too high it will be difficult for you to quickly run the fingers around the fingerboard, if they are too low you'll often get a buzzing annoying sound). The list of issues can go on and on... and these issues will be unnecessary hurdles on your way to learning, destroying your inspiration.

Sometimes a really bad guitar completely stops one from learning.

That's why I suggest you do not to settle for the cheapest guitar available that likely will be of a poor quality. A better buy is a budget instrument from a respected brand like Fender, Epiphone (of Gibson), Yamaha or Ibanez. Their inexpensive guitars cost at least twice the price of the cheapest ones on the market. As I said it's worth paying more.

Below I'm talking about a few solid body guitar models that I thoughtfully selected as ones of the best beginners electric guitars. These guitars have a good quality/price ratio and are fit to play in many styles, but mostly for rock, metal and pop music. The Fender and Squier Stratocaster guitars are also very good for blues.

If you're mainly going to play jazz, blues and light rock music also check out semi-hollow body electric guitar with Bigsby vintage tremolo 'Epiphone Wildkat' and Ibanez AS73T.

Squier Standard Stratocaster

There are two slightly different models of this guitar I recommend you to check out.

1. The conventional standard stratocaster.
This guitar is better for playing Classic Rock, Blues and Country music.

2. The HSS standard stratocaster.
This one is better for punchier metal like stuff, and also fits well to play Rock and Blues.

Overall the HSS strat is a more versatile guitar and I recommend you to go for it, unless you're primarily going to play Country music.

The only constructional difference between these two models is that the conventional strat has all three single coil pickups at the bridge, middle and neck.

conventional standard stratocaster

A H-S-S strat has one humbucker pickup at the bridge, and two single coil pickups in the middle and at the neck.

(The HSS letters stand for Humbucker, Single Coil, Single Coil pickup)

HSS standard stratocaster

The single coil bridge pickup on a conventional 'standard stratocaster' produces a more "twangy" tone that's used in country music.

The humbucker bridge pickup on the HSS model emits fatter, more powerful sound with a greater output that better accommodates alt-rock and metal music.

The single coil neck pickup on both strat models is perfect for getting that cool blusy tone,

as well as for playing smooth rock riffs and solos.

The middle pickup alone or mixed with the neck or bridge pickup will give you the extra tones in between.

Squier is a company owned by the famous Fender guitar manufacturer. Squier guitars are oriented towards the budget minded beginner players and provide very good quality for the price. Their guitars look exactly and sound similar to Fender guitars themselves.

If your budget isn't very strict and you can afford to spend a few extra hundreds, I recommend you go for the 'Fender HSS standard strat' itself. This could be not only your beginners guitar but a pro guitar too for years to come.

Yamaha Pacifica Series PAC012

Yamaha Pacifica has established a reputation as an excellent beginners electric guitar. I've been researching many reviews and feedbacks on this guitar and some people are even saying that it's built well enough to use as a pro guitar and can survive hard gigs.

It has the same pickup configuration as the Fender/Squier HSS strat but the neck pickup doesn't sound as blusy as on the stratocasters.

Ibanez Guitars

Ibanez company also well known with its line of very affordable and well built guitars with good playability. One of them is the GRX20Z beginners electric guitar. Despite being a pretty cheap price, the axe is very durable. It has two powerful humbucker pickups with a great output that is better suited for playing heavy music.

Another good electric guitar for beginners from Ibanez is the GRG170DX.

Comparing it to the 'Yamaha Pac012' or 'Fender Strat', the GRG170DX looks more fancy and aggressive and sounds more appropriate for heavy stuff as the GRX20Z model but different from the GRX20Z. It also has the medium single coil pickup between the humbuckers.

Once I owned a very similar Ibanez guitar and I actually found this middle pickup a bit disturbing when picking the strings because it leaves too little room between each pickup.

I didn't use the middle pickup anyway so I adjusted its height in a way that it was low into the body and far away from the strings.

Both these Ibanez models have 24 frets on the fingerboard, while the previous guitars I was talking about had 22. The two extra frets increase the pitch range of the instrument for one note and the highest note on them is 'E', while on Fender and Yamaha it was 'D'.


Les Paul Epiphone Standard

Epiphone is a subsidiary of Gibson and the 'Ephiphone standard' guitar looks almost exactly as the legendary 'Gibson standard' guitar and sounds very similar too. However Ephiphones are far more affordable than their Gibson big brothers.

I actually own an 'Epiphone Standard Plus' guitar myself and have to say that the quality of this instrument is unbeatable. It produces an amazingly beautiful soft tone out of the the neck pickup and a punchy, screaming sound at the bridge. Another feature of this guitar is that it has a very long sustain (I mean very, very long).

The long sustain means that when you pick a string and let it ring, it will ring for a long time and the signal will be slowly fading away.

The word 'Plus' in the name of the Epiphone model I own means that it has a more sophisticated finish than a regular "Epiphone Standard". The sound and guitar parts are absolutely the same between the 'Epiphone Standard' and 'Epiphone Standard Plus'.

This guitar is better suited to classic rock, ballad, blues and metal music that is played without whammy bar tricks. The Les Paul Std. guitars have a stoptail bridge instead of a tremolo system that all the previous guitars I guided you through have.

(In other words this guitar doesn't have a lever that is attached to the guitar bridge and the pitch changing mechanism).

Click here to learn more about the whammy bar and listen to guitar tricks performed using this.

Note that the Epiphone standard guitar is noticeably heavier and better suited to an adult player. It's weight is around 10.0 pounds (4.5 kg) while the weight of other guitars from this article is around 7-9 pounds (3.2-4.0 kg).


Many guys complain that beginners electric guitars with a synchronized tremolo system (such as strats, yamaha pacifica 012, and both ibanez models) often go out of tune when the tremolo is used.

The problem usually lays not in the tremolo mechanism but not knowing how to take care of the instrument. Here is a must read article on how to improve tuning stability -->

I chose these guitars over the ones with a locking tremolo system that better stay in tune because they are easier to tune, change strings, and make adjustments.

Return to Guide to Electric Guitar Accessories for Beginners

thumbnail from the beginner electric guitar page
photo by tjgron87